In February, Google published a list of 40 changes it was making to its search algorithm, but a few of those changes flew way below the radar. One in particular, Google Venice, is going to dramatically change the search results users see in Google. In this week’s podcast, TM Social Media Manager Michael L. Hoffman and I discuss what Google Venice means and how it applies to you. We also delve a bit into why your latest pin on Pinterest could be illegal.

We’ve already discussed in-depth how much Google has changed things up in the last year, but Venice is another addition to the search giant’s algorithm that you should pay close attention to. According to Google’s blog, Inside Search, Venice is defined as follows:

  • 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.

What this means is that Google is now taking universal search results, say “used cars,” and applying them locally to your searches. So if I was looking for a used car and searched for that specific phrase, my SERPs would be populated with some local results based on my location in Metro Detroit. And while this may seem helpful for the average user, it makes our jobs as SEOs a little more challenging. This is just one reason why at TM we’re referring to 2012 as the “Year of Localization.”

The emphasis on localization has forced many people into changing how they do their SEO. Now, not only do SEOs have to focus keywords, meta descriptions and title tags more locally, but content as well. If you sell used cars in the Metro Detroit area, your site should be populated with local keyword phrases. If not, because of Venice, you could be missing out on potential customers.

SEO is a constantly evolving industry and Google never seems to let us get our footing back. It’s a game of cat and mouse where top rankings are the mouse and SEOs are the cat. But by localizing your site’s content, you are more likely to be able to secure those higher rankings. And because Google has also changed how it evaluates links, it’s important that you are working toward getting not just authoritative links, but also local links, too.

And speaking of links, one of the most popular sites for driving links back to your website is Pinterest. Unfortunately, the photo-sharing site has come under fire in recent weeks due to its awkwardly written terms of service. The TOS states that users are the owner of every image they pin to their boards, which means the only way to pin something legally is to pin your own photos and pictures. It will be interesting to see how Pinterest moves past this controversy.

To learn more about Google Venice and search localization or Pinterest’s terms of service, listen to the podcast below!

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