New Google Venice Update overhauls local search

Late last month Google released information regarding a whole host of new updates and tweaks it will be making in the coming months on its official Inside Search blog, and one of the many changes to be made is the Google Venice Update, which claims to provide “Improved local results.”

Google says:

“We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”(Inside Search – 27th February 2012)

This cryptic description essentially means that Google has made some big changes to its local search, in that broad search queries now bring back super-localised organic results.

This means that Google can now show different search results to you based on your location, so if your location is set as London on Google and you were to search a specific location-based topic, such as ‘dentist’, you would get different results to that of someone located in Manchester.

This change is designed to bring yet more specialised results to the user, but what does it mean for site owners?

Local companies are suddenly seeing themselves listed on page one for generic search terms, which means they’ll be gaining additional traffic and coverage, meaning potentially seeing an increase in revenue. Larger, nationwide companies may have seen a slight drop in traffic because of the update, but it isn’t the end of the road quite yet.

The Venice update is all about creating more relevancy for users, and Google is going off the premise that people want to find dentists in their area, not dentists in another country.

While this will certainly be useful for some users, it also provides an opportunity for larger companies to cash in on the update.

Nationwide companies will need to edit title tags and meta descriptions to register for local areas, as well as creating local landing pages. It’s now more important than ever to focus on location-based content and localised keywords, and for everything to be one hundred per cent unique.

According to SEOmoz:

“Unique Localized Page Content: This is the true issue with localization. Most sites have cookie cutter content that might rank for locations, but it also might lead to a nice Panda slap for duplicate content. I would not build content and just replace the location information. If you are still doing this you are playing on dangerous grounds. Scaling localized page content is not easy, not very fun, and definitely not sexy. So, the companies that can make it easy, fun, and sexy are going to be the clear Venice winners.” (SEOmoz, 12th March 2012)

Other tactics for building on the Venice update include taking up authoritative link building by way of guest blogging on local blogs and creating location-based microsites linking back to your main site with location anchor text.

Right now, the full effects of Google’s Venice update are yet to be revealed…

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