This February, Google rolled out the Venice update without much fanfare. The update has immense implications on local search results.
At the Google Blog, here is what they had to say about the Venice update:
“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.”
Google is now going to try and get you better local results based on your location, regardless of whether you include the location in your search or not. If you want to search for dentists, and if your location is set to Boston, you will find Boston dentists the organic results and if you set your location to Utah, you will find Utah dentists.
Here is what you get when you search for “dentists” and your location is set to Boston.
Here is a snapshot of search results for the same phrase – dentists, but your location is set to Utah.
Earlier, you would have had to search for “Boston dentists” or “Utah dentists” to get the same results. It is to be noted that for Venice update comes into play for search phrases that are location dependent.
The dentist in Boston gets to rank on the first page for the keyword “dentist” and not “Boston dentist.” That’s brilliant.
To make the most of the Venice update, local businesses will need to target local keywords in their content, ensure consistent listing information across all directories and optimizing the link profile by including location info in the anchor text.