Google “Venice” Update Gives More Exposure to Local Business

In: Google |
27/03/12 |

One of the changes announced in February’s Panda 3.3 update began to show its effects last week. The latest in Google algorithm updates listed around 40 changes to how the search engine calculates quality and determines rankings. However, one point that failed to make a big impression in the SEO community was the improvements to local search results.

In the list of updates, Google state;

Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.

Improved local results. 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.

Last week I was doing the usual Google searches to keep an eye on our client’s rankings, when I decided to see if changing the automatic location setting would make any difference to certain queries, and it did. I saw our client’s website jump from the second page to the first after changing the location from Manchester to Kent – this was for a fairly competitive, short search query. Also, for a number of queries that contained “Kent” or “in Kent”, rankings increased after setting the location to Kent.

This is great news for smaller, local business. They are now able to compete in more competitive markets that were once crowded by national and global organisations. Locally targeted search is looking more important than ever with this update effecting first page results across a large number of search queries.

For more information on the Venice update see these articles:
Google Inside Search Blog
David Naylor Blog
SEOmoz Blog