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Latest Venice Update: Locals Win, Global Amazon, Live and Apple lose

Google’s Panda Update now seems to be a monthly refresh of the Google Index, changing the search landscape constantly. It means that every month sites can either get more or less visibility.

For an SEO this can be frustrating. One month they are the winners, next month the losers. You can hardly make any predictions anymore, except for that your site needs to be ‘Panda proof’ all the time: you need the unique content and you need the value in the site.

Next to the Panda update there is the Venice update, which is focussed on improving local results in the SERPS. Sometimes things happen which you wouldn’t predict but are actually quite obvious. What was thought to be the last Panda Update showed some suprising stats in the UK for example. Searchmetrics calculated who ‘won’ and ‘lost’ in visibility. The biggest winners (Twitter, YouTube and the BBC) were not surprising. The biggest losers were: Amazon.com, Live.com and Apple.com. There is a logical explanation for that however: its the Venice Update.

The biggest winners according to Searchmetrics were:

# Domain Previous Week 02/23/2012 Percentage
1 twitter.com 1064809 1155066 8.48%
2 youtube.com 811917 860550 5.99%
3 bbc.co.uk 3335612 3381336 1.37%
4 wikipedia.org 14527163 14571189 0.30%
5 google.com 1041299 1076923 3.42%
6 telegraph.co.uk 1056644 1082670 2.46%
7 guardian.co.uk 1814174 1840185 1.43%
8 microsoft.com 375044 399372 6.49%
9 mega.co.uk 659 24021 3545.07%
10 imdb.com 2383852 2400227 0.69%

The biggest losers:

# Domain   Previous Week  02/23/2012 Percentage
1 amazon.com 223615 104630 -53.21%
2 live.com 276977 249401 -9.96%
3 apple.com 1148680 1125049 -2.06%
4 kibagames.com 37587 14928 -60.28%
5 games1.com 21661 2128 -90.18%
6 lastminute.com 212177 193331 -8.88%
7 vouchercodes.co.uk 192891 176583 -8.45%
8 yahoo.com 1774440 1758442 -0.90%
9 msn.com 495877 480295 -3.14%
10 facebook.com 1666606 1652318 -0.86%

Wait, Amazon? Apple? Live?

The first response to the ‘loser’ list without a doubt is the fact that three major brands are listed as losers. It won’t surprise people that ‘kibagames’ is there, but Amazon losing over 50% visibility, that is big! And why are Apple and Live there?

It is weird because the big brands don’t really have the profile of ‘offering low quality content’. What is going on here?

First of all we should look at the numbers in the right perspective: yes, Amazon lost a lot, but Live and Apple see a lot less fall. The drop is less significant there. But there is more to keep in mind.

It’s Venice!

At the ElevaleLocal blog Yousaf Sekander feels he has the answer, and I think that he seems to have gotten on to something here. He explains that the drop is for Amazon.com, where Amazon.co.uk is actually seeing an increase in search visibility. It seems as if the local sites for the brands are getting more visibility over the global .com sites. The same for example goes for E-Bay.

Here is what Yousaf shows us:

Images by Yousaf at Elevatelocal

I think Yousaf is on to something here. The local results seem to have had an update, which actually is more closely related to the Venice Update than to Panda. So we might be seeing the effect of a refreshment of Venice, not Panda.

Is this a big deal?

The fact that Google keeps refreshing Panda is not necessarily a ‘big’ thing. Websites that get hit simply haven’t done their SEO right, you by now should have had enough time to prepare for this. What is interesting is that again Google gives a push to local.

Combine this Venice update and all the Panda stuff with SSL going global, SPYW going global soon and Google+ for Businesses and another step towards local social results and Places being combined with Google+ for Businesses is taken.



Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.