The Inside Search Blog published around 40 something changes to Google’s algorithms in February. Most of these were small little tweaks but there were a couple noteworthy updates. The one I want to talk about today is Launch codename “Venice” which covers improvements to ranking for local search results. There were two entries in the post that pertained to local search that caught my attention:
- “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.”
Basically what they’re saying is that local results will be ranked higher for broad search terms.
This is going to have a big impact on ranking for a lot of different businesses, so you need to make sure you are taking full advantage of this. Micro sites and landing pages are huge when it comes to the Venice update. You can rank locally without actually having an address or store in that location by targeting Location + Keywords properly. On the national scale this is going to be especially important, as your homepage starts to get pushed off of page one by local results. Re-focusing your efforts on localized pages or micro sites will keep you ranking well.
While you’re building your localized pages keep in mind that using cookie cutter content and just changing the location terms is not going to cut it. Duplicate content will often be met with very harsh punishment by Google. Unfortunately getting unique content for dozens or even hundreds of localized pages can be difficult. Getting reviews or testimonials from different people in each of the markets you’re targeting will get you started, especially because you don’t actually have to write them. Focusing on local search results has been common practice for a while for the thorough SEOs but now it will become a necessity to stay afloat for anyone.
Need help adjusting your SEO tactics for the new Google updates? Daunted by the prospect of having to build dozens of landing pages and micro sites? Wikimotive can help, contact Wikimotive for a free, no-strings-attached evaluation.
So have you seen sites like cars.com, autotrader.com and other aggregate sites fall in rankings in favor of dealer microsites and officail websites? Do you think this makes those sites less “important”?
Yes that is the idea, you should start to see local results rank higher than sites like cars.com or autotrader. It doesn’t necessarily make these sites less important (I assume you’re talking here about local dealers putting their product on these sites) but apparently Google thinks that consumers will value the local results more than than the large national ones.