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Google Makes Some Local Search Adjustments

Local sites, subdomains, predictions and public data

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Google Makes Some Local Search Adjustments
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On Friday, Google put out is monthly list of algorithm changes, for the month of April. We’ve taken a closer look at various entries on that list – there were over 50. Here’s our coverage so far:

Google Algorithm Changes For April: Big List Released
Google Increases Base Index Size By 15 Percent
Google Makes More Freshness Tweaks To Algorithm
Bi02sw41: Did Google Just Make Keywords Matter Less?
Google Should Now Be Much Better At Handling Misspellings
Google Tweaks Algorithm To Surface More Authoritative Results
Google Launches Several Improvements To Sitelinks

The list, along with the Penguin update and two Panda refreshes in April, is a lot for webmasters to take in. If local search is an areas of focus for you, you should find the following entries to the list among the most interesting:

  • More local sites from organizations. [project codename "ImpOrgMap2"] This change makes it more likely you’ll find an organization website from your country (e.g. mexico.cnn.com for Mexico rather than cnn.com).
  • Improvements to local navigational searches. [launch codename "onebar-l"] For searches that include location terms, e.g. [dunston mint seattle] or [Vaso Azzurro Restaurant 94043], we are more likely to rank the local navigational homepages in the top position, even in cases where the navigational page does not mention the location.
  • More comprehensive predictions for local queries. [project codename "Autocomplete"] This change improves the comprehensiveness of autocomplete predictions by expanding coverage for long-tail U.S. local search queries such as addresses or small businesses.
  • Improvements to triggering of public data search feature. [launch codename "Plunge_Local", project codename "DIVE"] This launch improves triggering for the public data search feature, broadening the range of queries that will return helpful population and unemployment data.

The first on the above list is interesting. Subdomains for various locales may be better idea than ever now. However, the implementation and delivery of content will no doubt be incredibly important. Here’s a bit about duplicate content and internationalizing.

We actually referenced the second one on the list in a different article about how Google treats keywords. It appears that key phrases may carry less weight, at least for some searches. The local examples Google gives here indicate that this is particularly the case when you’re talking local.

With regards to the third item, it will be interesting to see just how local predictions behave. It’s certainly something local businesses will want to pay attention to and analyze as it pertains to them.

I’m not sure the fourth one will have many implications for most businesses, but it’s interesting from the use perspective, as Google looks to provide more data directly in search results.

For some more insight into local search, check out this study from a couple months back, which attempted to identify local ranking factors.

Google Makes Some Local Search Adjustments
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