Local Search Now More Important Than Ever on Google

Google Local Search Results
If you’ve done any searching on Google recently (and who hasn’t) you’ve likely noticed that Google search results have changed. In addition to placing greater emphasis on personalized results than ever before, the search engine is also focusing on local results more than ever.

This is all part of Google’s strategy to deliver better and more specific search results.

But how will it impact your website? How can you improve your local search ranking?

In late February, the official Google Search blog announced 40 search changes including “improvements to ranking for local search results.” This project was codenamed “Venice.” According to the Google Search blog, the project aimed to improve “the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.”

What does that mean? SEO Moz set to find out. They came to the conclusions that 20102 is “the year of the local.”

It is clear that finally 2012 can be declared the year of local. With Google Places localized results + Google Organic Localized results every company needs a localized plan weather you have a single location, multiple location…or no locations at all because the national SERPS just got a lot more crowded.

So how do you differentiate yourself and stand out from the pack? High quality localized website content.

Most sites have cookie cutter content that might rank for locations, but it also might lead to a nice Panda slap for duplicate content. I would not build content and just replace the location information. If you are still doing this you are playing on dangerous grounds. Scaling localized page content is not easy, not very fun, and definitely not sexy. So, the companies that can make it easy, fun, and sexy are going to be the clear Venice winners.

Having hundreds of nearly identical pages that change the city name on each page isn’t going to improve your search ranking. Creating unique, interesting and location-specific content is. Website content has always been a powerful way to rank highly on search engines. Now, with every change that Google makes, it becomes even more important.