As the top search engine in the world, Google aims to provide users with the most relevant results for each query. According to Google, one out of five queries made on the search engine has a location component to it. This is why it’s important for businesses to invest in local SEO. Making the information on your website locally relevant will help get the traffic and conversions you’ve always hoped for.

Recently, Google announced an update which affects the way Google Search and Map services are labelled. According to a product manager at Google, Evelyn Kao, the changes are intended to make the search results more local and relevant to users. In the past, Google has created country code top level domain names (ccTLD). Examples of ccTLDs include for Kenya and for Canada.

For users to get local search results, they sometimes had to automatically type in their relevant ccTLD in their browse. For instance, if you wanted to receive results that focus on the Canadian market, you had to type and then search using this as the domain.

Search Results Tailored Based On Location

Google made some changes on how they optimize local search results to provide users with the most relevant information. Today, the choice of country is not indicated by your domain. Instead, Google search engines will serve you results corresponding to your location automatically. When a user makes a query on Google, their location determines the results they will receive on Google Search and Maps.

What Does This Mean?

This means that if you travel to Australia, your search results will automatically switch to the country service for Australia. When you return to Canada, you will seamlessly return back to the Canadian country service. This significant change applies to desktop Search as well as all services on the mobile web, Maps and Google on iOS. No need to type a relevant ccTLD in your browser in order to get local results.

Google Local Search Settings
The Ability To Change Country Settings

If you notice that you are not able to get results for your country service when browsing, you can get to the settings and change the country settings. When you go to Google’s homepage, you can check the country service you’re currently on at the bottom of the page below the search bar. Go to search settings on Google home page, select country settings and choose your preferred location. It’s that easy.

What Does It Mean To Online Marketers?

Although Google clearly stated that the update will only have an impact on how Google search and Maps work, it’s important now more than ever for SEO professionals to boost their local search engine optimization efforts. Create an online marketing strategy that it geared towards making your web pages rank for local searches. Make a personal effort to ensure your website provides relevant results for your local audience. Doing this will ensure your web pages rank high on Google Search and Maps after the update.

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