Venice Changed Everything
February 27, might not seem like a particularly historic date. However, on this day in 2012, something monumental happened in the world of Digital Marketing. This was when Google rollƒed out the Venice Update for its search engine algorithm.
Many of the changes made with this update were a direct response to the growing importance of handheld devices, a trend that has only continued to this day: a time when nearly half of all people online are using smartphones
These devices have put the internet at the fingertips of billions. Resulting in a new synergy between smartphone GPS and high-speed internet connections. Through Venice, Google sought to integrate this development into the workings of its search engine.
This was a game-changer for Digital Marketing, resulting in the emergence of new strategies for SEO and a renewed emphasis on the importance of local directories. The extent of this change was so dramatic that it would lead Google to recreate their own directory in the form of Google My Business. Here's what you need to know about local SEO and local Directories.
The Venice Update changed the way Google displays results, affording a greater priority to results for inquiries that it saw as being connected to the user's location. This resulted in a much greater emphasis on the importance of the local area. If you go on Google and type in 'Pizza places near me', your search engine results page (SERP) will show a host of restaurants in your vicinity.
The SERP will be a mixture of small, medium, and large-sized businesses. The exact SERP you see is a consequence of this update. This greater focus on the local area shifted the balance of power between SMEs and big corporations.
After Venice, when answering search inquiries Google gave more of an edge to physical businesses with an online presence linking them credibly and closely to their area. As a result, it became possible for local businesses with strong local: backlinks, content, and reviews, to rank well. The increase in the use of these tactics, to boost businesses in the local area, lead to the popularisation of the phrase local SEO to describe them.
local SEO has become a very powerful weapon for SMEs. With the help of local SEO and local ads features like those found in rankingCoach, it has become possible for local businesses to stake a claim to front page listings: previously a territory dominated by big-budget multinationals.
A Treasure Map For Local Businesses
This greater focus on location has also changed our daily lives and search habits. These days, anyone taking a road trip or even a taxi will probably not be finding their way with a paper map. Satellite navigation has been around for over two decades now.
The use of GPS as a navigation tool in smartphones was a big influence on the Venice Update and the prime cause of one of its most influential legacies: the rise of digital maps as a vital reference point for consumers. When you go to any business for the first time, chances are, before you head out, you have a quick look online to make sure the place is open. You may even use your phone to guide you step by step to its door with Google Maps or Waze.
You are not the only one: today, Google Maps has roughly 1 billion monthly users. During the Christmas holiday season, 78% of shoppers searched online before they visited a store. Considering this information, it's understandable why being seen on Google Maps has become so important. Not being listed or having the wrong information listed can be very costly for your business.
To help businesses manage this vital information, Google created Google My Business. This is a key reason why all local SMEs need to have a Google My Businesses account it will help ensure that their company's details are listed correctly on all of Google's platforms. rankingCoach can show you how to set this up effectively.
Beyond Venice: The New Era of Local Directories
Smartphones have become a guide in other ways; when you see that new Italian restaurant in town before you book a table, you might check out its reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor. Google also has reviews built into its results, but many people use local directories as a trusted source of advice for where to eat, what to see, or even where to get the best Shiatsu.
This development has brought many advantages to enterprising SMEs. A business with well-coordinated listings on local directories can find a whole new customer base. No doubt you have used review sites like Tripadvisor to find a great little food place during a city break, ones that you, otherwise, never would have known about.
Or perhaps the inverse, your previously little known local hotspot has suddenly been overtaken by flat-white-drinking tourists from review sites. Either way, these businesses have benefitted from Venice. On the other hand, Venice has caused some big problems for businesses with their eye off the ball. SMEs with poor customer service, who are not paying attention to what people are saying about them online, can very quickly find negative reviews stacking up against them. These days, poor attention to local directories will not only fail to attract new customers, but it will also scare them away.
What This Means For Your Business
In the post-Venice era, all SMEs need to make sure they have effective local SEO and local directory strategies. SMEs have never had a better chance to expand their customer base and get their name out there, to achieve exposure previously only available to companies with big TV ad budgets.
On the other hand, this is a double-edged sword. Unhappy customers can wreak a whole new level of havoc with negative reviews and online trolling. To take full advantage of this post-Venice world, businesses need to make sure that their information is always up to date on the multitude of local directories for their industry, as well as on all of the online maps and navigation tools.
It is vitally important that SMEs, especially in the retail and service industry, manage their online profile and respond quickly to customer feedback.SMEs need to have a strong local SEO strategy to build their business into the digital fabric of their local community.
This sounds like a lot to do, and it is, but rankingCoach can help with it all in one digital marketing solution that covers all of these areas.