Traditional SEO Now More Important to Local Search

Filed in Google, Local Search by Matt McGee on February 27, 2012 7 Comments

google-logoGoogle says it’s relying more on regular search rankings — ergo, on traditional SEO — to influence its local search results. This is from Google’s latest monthly roundup of search changes and covers what’s been happening during February:

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.

It’s important to note that Google uses the word “triggering” above — regular search rankings/results play a bigger role in determining when Local Universal results will show up. It doesn’t specifically say that there’s a ranking impact, but traditional SEO already became much more important to Google’s local rankings since the Google Places Search rollout in October 2010. Places Search has gone through a lot of evolution since then, but on-page SEO remains a key piece of the local search puzzle.

In its announcement today, Google also says it has “a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably.” That means Google can better “detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”

I wrote more about all of Google’s announcements over on Search Engine Land.

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  1. Nyagoslav says:

    Matt, I believe the “Venice” update is related to the reduced Google Places results we saw in the organic search results a few weeks ago. The other local-search-related update seems to be related to the “increased radius” results we started seeing (as reported also a few weeks ago by Mike Blumenthal).

  2. Nyagoslav says:

    Sorry, I was tempted to speculate a bit :)

  3. Wade says:

    Well for the last few years I have been advising people to forget about what they think google wants and just focus on writing good original content that people want to read and the SERP’s will come. I still believe it is the only way forward. Sure H1′s H2′s, meta, page titles, etc. are all necessary but I find to many people get focused on short cuts and end up paying a price in the end for it.

  4. Stans says:

    The recent appearance of sitelinks in local search results only confirms the influence of internal/external links on Google Places, IMHO.

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