The Google Venice Update and Why Local Search Matters

All businesses have a local element. Even if they operate worldwide, for the people who use the products or services of that business, they are still – in a sense – ‘local’. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a lot more about local search and why this matters for businesses online. However, many businesses – small and large – still aren’t taking proper advantage of this opportunity, so let’s take a look at why local search matters.

Local search is rising
It is thought that around 20% of searches on Google are for local-related search terms. For example, if someone were to search for ‘web design company’, that would be a general term. By contrast ‘web design company London’ is a specific local term – and the statistics suggest that terms such as this are becoming more popular.

Mobile search is rising
Another reason that local matters is due to increased internet mobile usage. website design agency london Last year, the sales of smartphones overtook the sales of PCs. This was always predicted to happen but the fact it happened two years earlier than expected is significant, especially as many mobile users who use the internet on their phones do so for local search purposes. Compared with 20% of searches more generally having a local element, when it comes to searches on mobiles, 40% of them have a local element.

This could be to look up maps to find out where they are or get directions to a local destination or business. There are also local search features available from sites such as Facebook and FourSquare that allow people to ‘check in’ when they arrive. These features potentially have opportunities for businesses looking to increase their conversion rates, such as through offering promotions to customers who utilise their local search options.

Help people find your business
It practically goes without saying that if you have a business, you will want people to be able to find it. Embracing local search can be a good way of utilising SEO to boost your online presence. For example, adding local keywords to your content makes them more specific to your business – so with any luck, the search results your business appears in will be more relevant to the web users looking at them.

Plus, with recent algorithm changes from search giant Google, it makes more sense than ever before to make sure your online presence has a focus on local search.

The Google Venice update
This emphasis on local search is partly due to something called the Google Venice update, which is an important algorithm change released in February 2012 that flew in somewhat under the radar at first.

The Venice update is focused on improving local search, so that results are more likely to be relevant to users, such as by including results from their home city. With Google now placing an emphasis on providing local search results, businesses that have so far ignored this really need to get on board. This is something that an SEO agency will be able to help you with.

But how do you go about making sure your website is optimised for local search? Well, as mentioned above, having a focus on local keywords can be beneficial. You can also utilise meta descriptions and titles to include local keywords in more places than just your main website content.

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