Local Search Results – The Venice Update

The Venice update was a small part of Google’s largest ever algorithm update, which took place in February 2012 and included a total of 40 algorithmic changes to their search engines Google, Youtube and more

What is the Venice update?

The Venice update was a small part of Google's largest ever algorithm update, which took place in February 2012 and included a total of 40 algorithmic changes to their search engines Google, Youtube and more.

Although Venice was not generally flagged as the most important aspect of this update, it is amongst the most visible and has changed the dynamics of search results in many industries.

What Google says

Google are very reluctant to give out information on algorithm updates, however here is what they had to say in regards to Venice:

  • "Improvements to rankings for local search results. These improvements improve the triggering of local universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal."
  • "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."

What does this mean?

In layman's terms this means if a person is located in Glasgow and searches for a particular head term such as "digital marketing", the search results will be populated with digital marketing agencies that are located in Glasgow, which can be seen here:

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How does Google know the location?

Google knows a users location through their IP address and therefore automatically picks up a users location. Your location can be seen on the left hand navigation in Google search results.

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Can I change my location?

Yes, If location is changed to Manchester (this can be done on the left hand navigation in Google search results).

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You can see search results are now populated with digital marketing agencies based in Manchester....

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To sum up

As you can see in the two examples above, four results in the top 10 are reserved for local businesses. This gives small to medium size businesses the opportunity to appear with national and global players for a share of local search markets that would have previously been out of reach to them.


What to do

One technique that is being mooted in SEO industry circles is to create locally optimised pages to further increase chances of showing up in the first page of Google search results.

Of course the results could vary from industry to industry - so Equator will be monitoring the situation closely to advise clients on the best way forward should their specific industry be affected by the Venice update.

Have you noticed the move towards location based search results?