Because you’re about to discover what in God’s name Google Venice is, why it’s not what you think it is, how it made local SEO important for every company out there today, and how it changed the way local SEO should be done…
Are you ready? You’d better buckle up, because it’s going to be a wild ride…
What the Hell is the Google Venice Update?
The Venice update was announced by Google back in February (2012) and it localized organic results for broad (generic) search queries. In case you just read that sentence and were thinking to yourself “What the fuck? What does that mean?”
Let’s say it in layman’s terms: if Google can pinpoint your location, then it’ll display search results of your city/region. So guess what? Local SEO just became a whole damn lot more important!
That’s because this Google update mixes national search results with local search results. And that means EVERY freaking company that uses SEO to get traffic should be doing local SEO or risk being outranked by companies that do.
What’s that? Don’t believe me when I say the consequences of this Google update are far-reaching? Then compare the two screenshots made by Niftymarketing for the SEOMoz blog* for some proof below:
Before Google Venice…
After the Venice update from Google…
This article was the source of both images
Now, this space right here is usually reserved on other blogs for telling you to use local SEO technique A, B, C, and bla bla bla, but I say: hell no! Why? Because…
The Venice Update From Google is NOT What You Think!
Maybe you’ve already seen these screenshots and maybe you already know what I’ve said about Venice so far, but you better not get bored and keep paying attention my friend… because this is where things get really, REALLY interesting.
You see, there’s something you should know:
Google Venice is NOT accurate
For example: I’m from Holland. No, not from Amsterdam silly. Our country actually does have other cities. I live an hour away from Amsterdam (near Rotterdam), but when I use the Dutch Google I can clearly see the following:
And I could give you many more examples of this inaccuracy.
BTW: no. No we don’t all smoke pot, visit the red light district, and wear wooden shoes here in Holland… but most of the Dutch do speak broken English and then claim they speak English “fery good” (that’s how most of the people here try to say “very well”)
Anyways, the whole freaking intention of this Google update (in my mind) is to serve people more relevant search results by showing stuff in their vicinity, but as it turns out it actually doesn’t. That sucks in my book. It sucks BIG TIME.
And let me tell you: I sure as hell won’t drive for an hour to get contact lenses, groceries or whatever when I can get the same stuff by driving for, like, a minute or two!
Therefore, creating content that is optimized for the specific location (city) your business is located in is, honestly, stupid. Please don’t let any article about Google Venice tell you otherwise, because you’ll be wasting your time on content that can’t be found by the people you want to reach with it… all because Google isn’t accurate.
So, how do you do local SEO and get the results you want even though Venice is inaccurate as hell? Here’s how…
A Workaround for the Inaccurate Update
Because of the Google Venice update, it’s much better to work within a certain radius around your business’s location(s) instead of only with 1 specific location.
Let’s say you’re in New York City, for example. Then I’d create localized content for New York, New Jersey, Bridgeport, Trenton, Long Island, etc. if I were you, because these are within a certain radius of NYC:
I’m not entirely sure how lazy (inaccurate) Google is, so let’s assume it automatically selects a location that’s within an hour’s driving distance of your business’s location like it did with me. Further testing will surely have to be done, though, to get accurate measurements about how inaccurate Google Venice actually is.
If you want to help me determine the extent of the inaccuracy by making a screenshot of your search results and comparing it to where you live, then please leave a comment on this article and we’ll figure something out.
Tip: open up Google, type in a random keyword, and then see which location it automatically selects on the left side of the screen. It’ll tell you how accurate/inaccurate Venice is in your country/location. I’ve got a feeling it’s much more accurate in the US than in any other country. That would be lame for the international SEO community!
Remember These Venice Search Engine Optimization Tips
1) Yes, local SEO became a whole lot more important and that means everyone doing SEO should focus more on building a local link profile than before. It does not mean, however, that you should SPAM Google with a gazillion exact match localized link texts or that you should settle for low quality websites just because they’re local… unless you want the Google Penguin update to kick your ass all over the SERPs.
2) The same warning goes for content: don’t try and pump out dozens and dozens of low quality garbage that poses as “articles” because of one Google update, only to be bitch slapped by another algorithm change that punishes sites with low quality content (the Panda update). Local SEO still means your content should be of a high quality, dude.
3) Some local SEO truths still apply:
- Your business does NOT actually have to be in a specific location in order for it to rank well. You can rank well in locations you’re not located IF you use localized landing pages.
- Putting the location + keyword in the title and meta description still counts
- Local landing pages are as much about the keyword as about the location, so don’t optimize it for a keyword alone but talk about the location as well. Is the location we’re talking about Chicago? Then share local news on the landing page, share interesting places to visit in the city, etc.
4) Don’t get distracted by the big, bad Google Venice changes and terms like local SEO too much, because local SEO ain’t nothing but the same game (SEO) with a different name. And that includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Broken link building still works… locally. So, find those broken pages, write content, and ask the link to the broken page to be replaced by a link to your stuff
- Link banking still works… locally. So, boost the local pages/sites linking to your localized landing pages by sharing them via social media, by doing social bookmarking, etc. so they become more valuable and, since they’re linking to you, your pages become more valuable as well
- Exchanging guest blogs as a linkbuilding strategy still works… locally.
5) Last but not least: local stands for more than “just” a freaking city, damn it! You can do local SEO for cities, parts of a city, regions, counties, states (or provinces if you’re not from the US), countries, and so on and so forth.
I hope you liked my take on the Google Venice update. Stay tuned to the Motriz Marketing blog for more insider secrets about SEO!
To More Traffic, More Conversions, And More Business,
- Dennis MiedemaCEO of Motriz MarketingDennis Miedema is the founder, owner, and CEO of Motriz Marketing. He's crazy passionate about SEO and copywriting, hell, about online marketing in general. And sometimes he's just crazy. Whenever he's not ranting about IM, Dennis loves to watch movies or The Dog Whisperer or to play games on his Xbox 360 like a total geek.