Search Results Need Local Content After Venice Update
Google’s recent Venice update didn’t make big waves in the SEO press, but it might have a bombshell effect on search results. With this update, Google will apply location data to organic search results, not just place results.
Google’s recent Venice update didn’t make big waves in the SEO press, but it might have a bombshell effect on search results. With this update, Google will apply location data to organic search results, not just place results. SEOMoz has a great explanation of what changes within organic search and summarizes the change with the statement “So, the companies that can make it [local content] easy, fun, and sexy are going to be the clear Venice winners.”
If you weren’t in the local content game before, Google has put you in it with the Venice update. Google automatically tracks user location on most of their products, and most users leave this tracking on during their searches. This means the majority of search results will become localized, even without a user entering in a specific location-based long tail keyword. Previously, you could rank for a generic keyword with generic content. Now, you have to compete against local SEO efforts in the search results, even for generic terms.
Note that you don’t have to have an office in a certain location to outrank local and national competitors. SEOMoz gives the example of FindLaw, a directory of lawyers that has no physical presence in Las Vegas. SEOMoz shows the results of a search on “Divorce Lawyers” (not “Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers” – just the generic term “Divorce Lawyers”) done by someone in Las Vegas. Because FindLaw created a web page optimized for the keyword “Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers,” FindLaw ranks higher than actual divorce lawyers located in Las Vegas!
Agencies that already specialize in local SEO have a head start, but there’s a chance to catch up by creating solid, local content. Here’s how.
- Find your visitors. Review any IP information you have to see where most of your visitors are coming from.
- Map it out. List all important locations for your business, including your headquarters, branches, customer centers, and other locations. Add in surrounding towns to broaden your target reach. Include your visitor information as well. If you’re working for a client, personalize the process for your clients’ locations and customer profiles.
- Avoid Panda penalties. Duplicate content with swapped out city names could bring on Panda penalties and risk tanking your site in the search results. Instead, look for unique, pertinent content for each location and incorporate your keywords into the text.
- Create clear, effective instructions. As we said, each item needs to be unique to the city or town you’re focusing on. Create standard instructions that will allow the writer to showcase the city’s personality and highlights.
Sample instructions for a tire site:
Keywords: tires, las vegas, henderson
Please write an article about driving in Nevada. Focus on what is unique and what to watch out for when driving in this area. Mention any pertinent statistics and local weather conditions.
Please write an article about driving in Nevada. Focus on what is unique and what to watch out for when driving in this area. Mention any pertinent statistics and local weather conditions. You must be from this area to accept this article. Include your favorite places to drive and why they are your favorites.
Both sets of instructions ask for detailed information on the area. The content itself will be pertinent to the location and the subject. The first instructions will result in neutral articles, and the second will add local, personal flavor, if that’s a better fit for the overall tone of your website.
- Develop local landing pages and structure with local keyword header tags and exact match domains. Besides local content, you’ll want a landing page to give the visitor a pertinent transition from the search result to your page.
- Build microsites for multiple geographic areas. These microsites will be the perfect spot to post your articles and landing pages, and the close or exact match of the domain name will help increase traffic.
- Write location based reviews. A writing service can help get reviews from local, actual users or customers. This is especially helpful when you’re not geographically close to your client. A recent study by Bizible showed that just 5 Google Reviews significantly help your Google Place ranking.
- Update Content Routinely. Google constantly indexes, and your competitors are gearing up. Adding additional, current content increases your authority and helps you stay a step ahead of others.
Now you know what you have to do to capitalize on the Venice update. If you’ve struggled in the past to beat out your competitors on generic terms, here is a chance to beat them on those same terms, but on a city by city basis. Given that Google can determine the location of most searchers, winning the cities could result in a lot more traffic than winning those few searchers who turn off Google’s location tracking. With the amount of local content to write, you’ll need a large team of writers. Writing services like Textbroker have the manpower to create local content quickly, and our flat rates keep the costs low. In fact, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Venice update wouldn’t be possible in a cost-effective, scalable way without a service like Textbroker. Defend your place in the search results with fast, easy local content from a custom content creation service like Textbroker.