Google Venice update showing locally targeted organic results

  • 0
  • February 29, 2012

Google is rolling out the Venice update this week and has buried the information in a long list of 40 algorithm changes. In reality Venice is a really major change to how they show results and one that probably took a huge amount of work.

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.

Basically if you search for “plumbers” the organic results will now show you organic results related to your location rather than just general results for that keyword. This has never been the case before on Google (outside of the Google Local & Places results).

This means that every site offering a geographical service needs to have a geographical SEO strategy. If you don’t then sites with a more relevant geographical page will rank higher than you for generic keywords.

The screenshot below was taken from a search for “plumbers” in Google Chrome incognito. Normally only a search for “plumbers in leeds” would bring up results like this.

Plumbers search results

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Steve

    Would you suggest they’ll support dedicated local pages at a similar level to dedicated sites? Just wondering if this will end up supporting national providers over local SMEs.

  • Darren Moloney

    This update is likely going to have a huge impact with clients expectations of ranking phrases – the downside is that I live just outside Swindon and G thinks I am in Southampton, hardly accurate.

  • Chris Gedge

    Agree with Darren. Sites that once ranked on the 1st page, nationally for broad terms, for example “wedding photographers” may now lose rankings and traffic depending on what location the person is searching from. If they want to get this national traffic back they now have to spend money on Adwords. Although it does make sense from a user perspective, it is a clever move by Google to increase their Adwords revenues.

  • Pure SEO

    These changes have impacted a lot of local searches in NZ too..

  • Rich

    I’m in the same situation as Darren in that Google thinks I’m over 100 miles away from where I actually am. If they are going to push this so hard then they need to make sure the searcher is where they think they are or it just leads to the most useless searching experience ever.

  • Liam @ Zaddle

    Hi Patrick

    Do you think this is likely to effect every search for a business service or only the one’s that Google has data that says people refine their searches to local results. E.g. if I was looking for a tradesman that makes sense but if I am looking to buy supplements why would I want to see someone local?

  • Mitch

    Surely someone has told google how bad geolocation is in the UK? my google search results are currently pinpointing me to 200 miles away….

  • MLS

    This is a huge change. It’s great for local businesses, but it could be bad global ones.

  • Jon

    Massive change and surprised there’s not been more coverage of it elsewhere. Laim @ Zaddle makes a valid point in that not all queries have a local intent. Search for [seo] for example. The top 4 are the same as they have been, but #5, #6 and #7 are local (in my location anyway). For something like SEO, do you really want someone local to you? Handy for meetings I suppose…

    It’s interesting to note that it’s not just search terms Google had previously thought to be ‘local’ that have been shaken up. [SEO] has never had Google Places results listed to my knowledge.

    I’m not sure it’s just the “Venice” update from that list of 40 either. There’s this one: “Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”

  • Anton Koekemoer

    Excellent post. I like some of the comment made on this article…. Brings up a couple of interesting questions. Thanks for the great read.

  • india education

    Good one, hope to get some realistic advantage after overcoming burdens of page layout changes and panda changes. It is worthwhile for websites how to target their webpages with multiple keywords while using under the description tags.

  • SEO Company in India

    Now it’s great opportunities for local place owners to do some search engine optimization for there website to rank higher in there location. Not only this but it is also good for local users who will get the most relevant (near by locations) results with in one click…

  • matthew hunt


    re: “Basically if you search for “plumbers” the organic results will now show you organic results related to your location rather than just general results for that keyword”

    I pretty sure they been doing that for a while now. or at least they have in Canada and US when I look. I think Venice might mean something else.

    • David Sottimano

      Not at this level. I’m in the UK but I manage projects back home in Canada and the US as well.

  • Clive Hawkins

    This localisation of common ‘local searches’ has been happening for some time but the quality of results depends on the accuracy of Google’s location targeting. It’s probably pretty good in the US but less so in the UK and Australia, so we’ll need to see how good the results are and what impact these will have on the searcher.

  • Gold Coast Security

    Holy smoke, which is this only the first time I have heard of this update? I check numerous SEO blogs daily and this is the first time I came across this update. Well thanks for the heads up! Got a bunch of local websites my self of which the owners will be happy to see this.

  • Surfers Paradise Accommodation

    Good strong article. Personally I love this update, for my business I rely (a lot) on local search results. Very happy to see that this update has improved the online web presence of the business :)

  • Long tail seo specialists

    This update kind of started last year when Google started showing more local results, I think the general point is of course local results will be better for the searchers when searching for a plumber of builder but in reality its no use for higher level generic terms, it seems to have crossed over into this a little and is frustrating several of our clients.

  • SEO Universiteit

    Great article. I wonder if local SEO will improve with Google maps. Because i know there is a website located in one city but trying to promote the company as the best in three big citiest here in Holland. I assume that local SEO will benefit if you are located in city A, according to Google Maps. Will Google be make it harder for someone to rank in city B if they are located in city A? Does anyone know that?

  • Droid Guy

    Nowadays Google always in depth with localisation of search results, even though its various between logged in and normal web users. probably give thumbs up :)

  • Book Lander

    No matters unless Google pushed us to the localized results only,,, mean having the redirects… although could be worry about the socialized results.

  • skin clinic gold coast

    Strange, as mentioned by others before me. I as well read several SEO blogs and this is the first time I heard anything at all about the Venice update. Quite strange no one else covers it. My website is about to be finished and it will target just the local areas, so hopefully this update will make it easier for my website to rank ;p

  • Pingback: Google Venice Update Information | SEO Moz Blog Post | Local SEO()

  • Ajay Jhunjhunwala

    I don’t support this algorithm change. The local company or service provider for specific business will be benefited. But web design and Development Company paid the price. Most of internet or web design development jobs are outsourced. So if any Indian company want to rank well in U.S or U.K it has become more difficult. Indian IT Companies will suffer a lot in SERP.

  • Pat Testing

    Google seems to be going too far down this local search route, it always seems to think I am searching from around 30 miles away and hence doesnt give me what I am looking for.Oh well goodbye Google hello Bing.

  • Prabhakaran

    Seems like Google hardly working on the search localization to serve the search results to close to the users…

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