The new multinational search results update from Google’s Venice update has many SEO practitioners excited. Essentially this will be a great balancer for business websites around the world trying to achieve higher organic traffic through results rankings.
There were many changes with the update, over forty, but these have gone largely unnoticed. But the implications of localised search results that are connected to broader search terms could reorganise the way regional websites put together their SEO strategy.
To see the full list of changes, click here.
The Old Policy
Search terms are split into three different types:
* Short tail: generic search terms that cover a very general topic. Example: ‘books’
* Medium tail: A little more specifc, perhaps including a service relating to the topic or a qualifier. Example: ‘buy books’ or ‘fiction books’
* Long tail: very specific search terms. Example: ‘buy fantasy books Johannesburg’
With the old parameters, the results for most short and medium tails keywords were populated by popular and well established websites that had an almost autocratic control over those terms. Regional sites had to rely on traffic from short-tail terms aimed more directly towards their market.
Implications of The Change
Google will now assume that users want a certain percentage of their results to be specific to their country or even region. Particularly if the search term relates to a commercial offering or special services. The region of the IP address is automatically identified by Google and doesn’t require any changing of the settings by the user.
Given how much effort they put into their SEO, many large websites have been critical of the change. But as with almost all Google algorithm changes, it aims to benefit web users over webmasters. A person living in South Africa reviewing fashion probably isn’t looking for a trade site that operates in India for instance, not just due to trend differences but they may also be averse to international product deliveries (or product deliveries at all).
What This Means For Your SEO Strategy
* Smaller sites can now easily gain meaningful rankings by optimising and building content around these broader keywords.
* The same search patterns are now returning completely new results. Websites will be exposed to an entirely new market of users that have never seen their site before.
* Page descriptions and Pay-per-click promotions will need to focus on their product offering and content consistency, now that differentiation through operating regions is no longer necessary.
* Multinational websites will need to formulate local regional SEO strategies for every area they operate in, in order to be considered a local listing.