Google’s Venice update in February of year this brought with it over forty changes to its search and indexing parameters.
Of all the changes, one of the most exciting for commercial websites operating within specified regions, and practising SEO, is Google’s new localised search results. This means that results to queries now have a large percentage dedicated to businesses and services that operate within the users region.
This seems to apply for both organic and sponsored search results.
The New Results
Entering, for example, a broad search term like ‘Cars’ will now not only return the usual top ranked results like Wikipedia and popular online car magazines but also numerous local trading and repair websites.
This makes sense when you consider that anyone using a search engine to find a product or service would primarily consider local businesses for the transaction. Particularly if delivery isn’t an option or is inopportune.
Also, this service doesn’t require that users have a Google account, or that they even submit their location to Google. The search engine automatically detects your location based on your IP address.
Three Type of Keywords
* Long tail: search terms that are incredibly specific and personalised such as- carrying on with the example of cars- using the query: ‘buy 1996 Toyota Conquest 180 Rsi’ when searching.
* Medium tail: are a little more general like, ‘buy Toyota’.
* Short tail: very broad and generic keywords such as ‘car’.
Opportunities For Local Businesses
In the past, generic keywords have been dominated by more popular websites, with smaller ones having to simply optimise around the those terms. They would generally have had to make use of primarily short and mid tail search terms to get traffic.
Building your content around these keywords is not only very challenging but also quite unrewarding, as it only optimises your site for a seldom used search term.
Now well optimised websites for businesses can get meaningful traffic for top level search terms that would have ignored them in the past. This is a significant change for local websites with valuable content that applies to more general topics. Domains will also benefit from completely new markets as people who habitually only use these broad terms will now have an exposure to these type sites that they’ve never had before.
In addition, more popular multinational sites that have stood high in the rankings in the past now need to consider key phrase strategies localised for each region they operate in, to keep their spots in the rankings.