February 28th, 2012 / Local Search

Google Is Tweaking Local Search – Again

Google is constantly seeking to improve its search algorithms. They’ve noted in a blog post (yesterday) that they’ve made 40 algorithm changes in the month of February 2012 and that sets a new record. Two of the changes have to do with local search.

Here are those two changes, in the words of Google:

Change #1

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.

Change #2

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.

You would think that Change #1 would automatically lead to the effect of Change #2. I have no doubt that it did, but we must ask why Change #2 is necessary is Change #1 is so good. I think what Google is saying is that they’ve implemented a system that allows them to quickly find local documents that match local queries.

Change #1 has more to do with using traditional SEO to improve local search results. That’s a change that has been a long time coming.

So how do these two changes affect Scotland businesses? I’d say they have huge consequences for positioning your business in local search. For instance, if you are a local Scotland business, then you should do a fair amount of geotargeting in order to increase your exposure to local search terms. Don’t just rely on your Google Places listing, in other words.

I like these changes, but some of the other 40 changes this month could prove to be a big deal as well.

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