Generally, a Google algorithm change causes a mighty uproar, for better or for worse, in the marketing and SEO community. The latest update to the Almighty Algorithm, however, is one that has gone relatively under-discussed, despite its large implications.
The basics of Google Venice
The Google Venice update, which rolled out this week, is technically one of the smaller updates that Google has put in place. These small updates happen fairly regularly and do not usually make a huge impact on search results. The Google Venice update is one that triggers local results when broad search terms are entered into the search. For example, terms such as “autos” or “carpets” will trigger a localization result. This not only provides local Places data, it also changes the first search engine results page. According to the Google search page, this update relies on older ranking factors to determine these placements; this means that if you have previously ranked your website for “bicycles Spokane,” then a search for “bicycles” localized to Spokane will likely show your page as a top-10 result.
Crafting your response to Venice
The Google Venice update is one that can be relatively easily responded to, because it is based almost entirely on previous ranking factors. This means pages or businesses that are listed with a Google Places entry, plenty of high-quality inbound links, specific location-based meta information and quality content will rank much more easily. If you are not a location-specific business, Venice will be slightly more difficult to respond to. Current algorithms and ranking factors do not consider the fact that these changes require heavily localized pages for businesses that do not necessarily need that localization. Keep in mind, however, that Venice will only localize one-third to one-half of the SERP, so a well-optimized site still has a chance of appearing on the first page.
Venice with Search Plus Your World
One of the other reasons Venice has not made as big an impact as it could have is that Search Plus Your World recently rolled out. SPYW is an algorithm update that very heavily weights social signals and personal connections in search results. This means that these factors are as important as localization factors. In short, these two algorithm changes, together, mean that a site that focuses on a single marketing or SEO strategy is doomed to lose traffic. Instead, a widely varied marketing strategy that includes plenty of useful content, social sharing, local options and well-built links will have a better chance of ranking well in search results.