This month, Google launched some major changes to it’s search algorithm. As a result we felt it prudent to help you (our client or loyal blog reader) understand how these changes might affect the search rankings of your website or business.
Google has been tweaking it’s search algorithms for years to both improve search results for it’s users as well as to outsmart people trying to game their system. Venice, however, is its biggest change to date. A few weeks ago Google published the 40 significant changes they made listed here… However, reading through this is about as fascinating as reading the dictionary, so we’ll just highlight the main point that we feel will likely affect your search rankings the most.
Among these changes is their launch codenamed “Venice” which places a greater emphasis on local search results then ever. Prior to Venice, if you wanted a local search result you’d need to append an appropriate local term to your keyword (the city, state, etc.). Now, however, Google has been changed to automatically includes 3-4 local search results in every keyword search that you make. The stated purpose of this, is to help provide what Google hopes will be more relevant search results for all of its users.
Prior to Venice, typing “best restaurants” into Google would give you the highest rated “best restaurant” sites across the U.S. Now, however, typing in “best restaurants” will give you a mixture of national sites, as well as some related specifically to your area (for me, “Hawaii’s Best Restaurants” came up as the #1 organic search result.)
So what does this all mean? A local website no longer needs to have the best ranking in the nation to be on the first page of the search results, they simply need to have the best ranking for their particular locale. On the flip side, national brands need to re-evaluate their sites content and page structure to ensure they are not left out of the party.
If you are one of our SEO clients, do not fear! We have already developed a location-specific plan for these changes and have begun to apply them to your keywords. If you’re not currently a client but are still very concerned, feel free to read some more about the change here, or you contact us for help.