Many website owners have seen a huge drop in website traffic for their main keywords. This was due to the Venice update back in February 2012 where Google distinguishes the users IP address on their search query and delivers results of local websites. This update has angered many website owners as they have worked hard, for many years, to rank their website for competitive national searches. Due to the Venice update their websites are pushed way back onto page 2 or 3 to make way for local websites who spend very little, or no, time optimizing their sites.
So What Does This Tell Us?
There are 1000’s of articles on the web saying that SEO is dead. This Venice update is one of many reasons these articles were written. Here is an example of the Venice Update in effect:
Not so long ago if a user searched for a keyword, in this example we will use ‘SEO’, Google would display search results from websites who put the effort in to rank high for that keyword. Today, as you can see from the above screenshot, websites that are local to the searchers locations display first.
What’s The Reason For This Update?
Google released the Venice Update to give users the best set of results possible. Obviously displaying websites that are within a few miles of the searcher is perfect for the user. They would want to deal with a company local to them rather then on the other side of the country. From a users perspective this update is ideal.
From a website owners perspective, this is a terrible update! The Venice update cost a high volume of companies 100,000+ visitors every month. This resulted in a huge loss of revenue and many companies would of gone out of business. 73% of businesses today solely rely on revenue from their website so this update was a huge blow to many companies.
Does This Mean SEO Is Dead?
To sum this question up, no! SEO is not dead, it has simply evolved. When anything grows bigger and bigger over time it evolves, this is what’s happened with SEO due to Google evolving and expanding for user demand.
The term SEO, or search engine optimization, used to cover a small amount of methods for achieving website traffic. Just to quickly go over them; Link Building, Onsite SEO and Social Media. Today there are too many methods to fall under the SEO branch. How I see ‘SEO’ today is only one factor; Onsite SEO, if you break down what search engine optimization actually means, its only ensuring your web pages are fully optimized to Google’s latest standards. `Everything now falls under Internet Marketing such as; Onsite SEO (or SEO), Social Media, Link Building, Blogging, Paid Advertising, Brand Awareness and a few other methods.
But simply, SEO is not dead, it has had a change of name.
How To Combat The Venice Update?
Website owners still want to gain traffic from their old keywords they were receiving high volumes of traffic from, but how? You have 2 options today to get your traffic back from these websites.
Paid Advertising: Due to the Venice update, local websites will always perform higher on Google. Google AdWords is one of the options you have to get the traffic back from your keywords.
Long Tail Keywords: Research alternative long tail keywords and perform searches on Google to see if local searches are dominating these keywords. If not, start optimizing your website for these keywords. This way you will start gaining valuable search engine traffic back to your site.
By Kev Massey. I am the Sales Director of SixtyMarketing and love getting into the nitty gritty search data to improve website owners traffic. Please follow us on Facebook to view more helpful onsite SEO tips.