I have been tracking the WebmasterWorld thread on the July Google changes and a lot of people are now discussing how Google is treating location specific queries differently.
By that I mean, the consensus in the thread is that there was a ranking adjustment for location specific queries. For example, searchers for real estate or travel specific searches that are highly dependent on location specific search criteria.
The feeling is that Google is now weighing links from localized sites higher than random links. Tedster, the WebmasterWorld administrator, explains this well in post number 3956975:
One market where I "think" I'm seeing this "semantic theme" backlink phenomenon is the travel SERPs - those with [very specific location] in the query phrase. Sites with backlinks predominantly from other [very specific location] pages are now doing better than those that have more of a scattershot collection of backlinks. This is a change from just a few weeks ago, when backlink quantity seemed to rule all on its own.
One thing I'm becoming quite convinced of (and this has been a growing impression) is it's time to stop trying to control anchor text in backlinks. Instead, just attract backlinks from good, on-theme, pages and let the anchor text be naturally randomized as the webmaster chooses - external anchor text should naturally include a high occurrence of [domain name] or [business name].
Of course, many SEOs have been aiming for links like this for a while and Google continuously tries to make links mean more, in terms of determining relevancy.
Have you noticed this?
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.