You probably know about Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, but what about the Venice update? A few months ago, Google rolled out Venice, which focused largely on local search. Although it’s a bit under the radar, the Venice update is extremely important for local business owners because search queries no longer depend on the searcher for location specific words – it uses the searcher’s IP address to deliver location-based results. There’s no better time to focus on local SEO than now!

What exactly is the Venice update?

Released in February, the Venice update changed how Google users search. Google wants to provide you with the most relevant results to your queries, so they added location to the mix. The two statements they released about Venice were that it made “improvements to ranking for local search results” and that it “improved local results” overall. You may have noticed your “current” location displayed in the left column of your Google search screen. This location, based off of your IP address, is used to determine search results. For instance, you can simply search for “hair salon” and Google will show you sites for salons in your area on the first page (as illustrated below). You can also change it manually if you wish, allowing you to look up businesses in other areas. Convenient, right?

venice search results

First page of Google search “hair salon” from a computer in Charlottesville, VA.

What does the Venice update mean for my business?

If you’re a local business owner, the Venice update is surely going to affect you. Targeted at local search specifically, the update forces a push for local SEO. This means that you have the opportunity to be found more easily by potential customers in your geographical location– so make sure to optimize your website for location-based content.

How do I optimize my website for Venice?

local seo mapSo it is obvious that you need to focus on local SEO even more due to the Venice update — but what exactly does this entail? You should set up various pages devoted to each location you serve. This ensures searchability. Each of these pages should be unique and keyword rich, and you should use local keyword rich content, local title tags, and local meta descriptions. If you do not have a Google places page, claim one. If you already have one, make sure it is set up correctly, it is clear and concise, it is verified, and it is well optimized for search. You should also add your business to local search directories such as Yahoo, Yelp, and Mapquest, for maximum reach. Here is a list of the top 10 best local search directories you should be on.

If you do all of this, the most important thing to consider is consistency. Make sure your company’s name, address, and contact information is exactly the same on every page– this way Google will clearly know where you are located.