In 2011 worked on a site for a Cambridge Ontario photographer. When I checked her site’s rankings, I was pleased to find her in the top ten, but was not pleased to see what was ranked above her. While searching on Google.ca, the sites above her were from Cambridge England and US. As a Canadian this has always been a pet peeve. In February of 2012 Google worked to improve this in their project code named “Venice”. Now as a result searching locally has been greatly improved. Google can use searchers IP addresses to provide more relevant localization.
What does improved localization mean for Google search and rankings?
This update increases the importance of target local search terms. The localization effect means that even when people don’t use a city term they will be more likely to find businesses near them. So if you want to target a local market is essential to appear to be in that local market. Now it more difficult for businesses to rank beyond their local markets. Though this ends up helping local businesses because national companies will have a harder time ranking over local businesses. Google now prefers to show sites that match the location of the searcher. This will be good for Google’s bottom line too because national companies usually have larger budgets and will be forced to pay for ranking when targeting localized terms. So ultimately I see this as big win for the little guy.
See my next article on: 5 things you can do to improve your local search marketing