Gord Hotchkiss and Venice Agree: Content is the Way Forward


We have been advocating to our clients for a long time that it’s not enough to simply optimize only towards SEO goals, or only towards Local Listings goals, but that each digital effort needs to address the user experience and each step along the customer’s path to purchase. That message is resonating across our industry more loudly than ever before with a number of Google’s recent algorithm changes.

For example, Google’s Inside Search blog described the recent Venice update as:

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.

This change provides a more fluid integration of localized content into the search results, taking Universal search local. It also makes the organic search results more customized than ever before based on the location of the searcher.

Building on this industry shift,  a recent post by Gord Hotchkiss, a well-respected veteran to the our industry, summarizes the current state of search results as something that is in flux but has clearly developed into an amalgamated content experience as opposed to the previous format which was a segmented directory or results. Here’s my favorite part of Gord’s musing:

“What this does, in terms of user experience, is make the transition from search page to destination more critical than ever. As long as search was a reference index, the user expected to bounce back and forth between potential destinations, deciding which was the best match. But as search gets better at unearthing useful destinations, our “post-click” expectations will rise accordingly.  Whatever lies on the other side of that search click better be good. The changes in Google’s algorithm are the first step (of several yet to come) to ensure that it is.” Read more.

Really there is nothing new here that hasn’t been well known in the industry since 2010 and even prior to that. Content is King, and it matters above all else in marketing, particularly in SEO. What all of the hoopla is about with these recent algorithm changes is that this time Google is serious. Bear with me here on this analogy but, if Google was your Mom telling you that you had better do something or else… then now would be the time where she says, “That’s it, I’m going to count to three and if you don’t come over here by the time I reach three you are in trouble”. So,take your content strategies seriously and listen to your mother before she reaches the dreaded number three and whatever the heck it is that comes with reaching that number!


2 thoughts on “Gord Hotchkiss and Venice Agree: Content is the Way Forward

  1. Hi Marshall, thanks for the topically relevant common interest. You hit on a lot of the current strategies for optimizing your local strategies. One thing that should be mentioned in a strategy checklist such as yours would be the relevance of Google+ in on-site elements, and ongoing content and engagement strategies. Good stuff though.

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