{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

MEC has contributed to a white paper which will be published by Linkdex that reveals ground-breaking findings about how the location a search is made from affects Google rankings. 

67% of the time, if you rank in the top 30 for a keyword in one location you will not rank for that keyword across all other locations.

Also, when location is not set, the average keyword ranking deviates by four whole positions.

What are geo-rankings?

This research clearly demonstrates what we’ve been seeing for several months now: that rankings change significantly based on the location where the search was made.

Essentially, if you’re checking your rankings in one location (e.g. London) you won’t have a full picture of your ranking visibility across the whole of the UK. Only by getting a view of your rankings in different areas of the UK will you have an understanding of your nationwide ranking.

Why are geo-rankings important?

Understanding how rankings fluctuate based on geographic location is imperative, particularly when organic rankings are used as a KPI of the SEO campaign.

How should your SEO strategy change as a result of geo-rankings?

Our reaction to geo-ranking changes has varied, dependent on the client and vertical involved.

We have seen, as confirmed by Lindex’s research, that some sectors are more acutely affected than others (with local tradesmen being highly affected, while the finance vertical is relatively unchanged).

However, one of the interesting take-outs from the research is that, of the 2,000 non-brand keyword rankings across 10 locations, no keyword ranking remained stable.

As a result, it is clear that some consideration of local variation must be taken into consideration when carrying out an SEO campaign across any sector.

How geo-rankings are impacting SEO:

1. Location specific optimisation strategies

Location-specific optimisation strategies are becoming increasingly more important. Location specific optimisation methods include on-site recommendations, link-building and local social/event activation.

2. Geo-ranking reporting

Use a system where a client’s rankings will be reported across key locations, providing average rankings based on this aggregated data. These average rankings will be weighted by geographic location determined by either the client’s presence by region or the population in that particular area.

3. Moving away from rankings as a core KPI

Rankings shouldn't be used as a primary performance indicator, as traffic and conversions have proven to be a much more effective, and representative, measure of success.

The introduction of geo-rankings makes any reliance on rankings even more misleading than before (especially considering existing factors, such as personalisation, social recommendations etc.). 

While rankings alone should not be a primary measure of success of an SEO campaign, it remains very important for us, and clients, to be aware of on-going geo-rankings to be able to identify opportunities for local optimisation.

If you’re not ranking well in one geographical location, how can you improve your ranking in that location?

We have found the following approaches to be highly effective:

  • Adding a specific locally-targeted page (or pages, where appropriate).  

    These pages should include relevant information about the store or service being provided in that particular area, along with contact details and any relevant addresses.  This holds true for any location where the client has a physical presence.

  • Ensuring the page has internal link equity. 

    The page/pages then need to be given internal link equity, ideally from links within both site-navigation and body content, allowing  Google to understand that the page is fully integrated within the whole site architecture. 

  • Garnering links from external sources that point to the page.  

    In order for this to be effective, some reference to the location should to be conveyed through these links. This would include gaining worthy links in regional sources (e.g. local blogs, newspapers or directories) or developing links with appropriate local keywords as part of the anchor text.

How will geo-rankings affect your SEO campaigns?

I hope this post has been helpful in terms of sharing some of the insights into what geo-rankings are, the extent of their impact and how your SEO strategy should incorporate location specific optimisation.

How important is visibility on rankings by geographic location to your SEO campaigns, and how will you be adopting your strategies as a result?

David Towers

Published 25 July, 2012 by David Towers

David Towers is Director Search and Digital Projects, EMEA at MEC and a contributor to Econsultancy.

6 more posts from this author

Comments (17)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

cory j.

Is geo-ranking the same as local seo? I think that for small businesses who cater to a small target audience, they should consider first local seo before they decide to target larger market. I think that its also best that they invest in a SEO company who specializes in local SEO so that their investment will really pay off.

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Nick Wilsdon

Hi Cory,

Geo-rankings are search engine ranking positions that take into consideration the geo-location of the user carrying out the query. The idea being that a user searching from Manchester receives different Google results than a user searching the same term from Brighton.

Yes, though this data is one more building block in our knowledge of local SEO, and helps us build a more accurate picture to inform/action our work for clients.

Thanks for the article David, surely though the introduction of geo-ranking would make reliance on rankings *less* misleading, not more, as we would have a more accurate data to work from? I do agree though that rankings alone, without sales or conversion is too limited.

about 4 years ago

David Towers

David Towers, ‎Digital Partner & Head of Search, EMEA at GroupM

@Cory - Thanks for your comment. As Nick mentioned, geo-rankings relate to the fact that search queries vary based upon the location that queries are made from. Sorry if I didn't make that clear within the post.

@Nick - You're right that geo-rankings will make rankings less misleading, so more accurate... That said, it is going to be quite challenging to clearly show rankings by various locations. For example, should this be by post-code, town, city or county? Showing that data clearly within reports is going to be a challenge if you're monitoring 100's of keywords and 10's of different locations!

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Nick Wilsdon

@David Absolutely, it's an interesting first step though. Integrating that data on clients with 100s of keywords is going to be a challenge. My goal would be for us to link this regional SE visibility to user traffic or conversions (by IP) or physical store foot-fall.

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ian

How much commercial benefit do you think that a national retailer with multiple store locations, targeting generic keywords could gain from this type of seo strategy. It seems to me that yes whilst interesting research it's horses for courses and geo targeting could make a difference to the local sparky but not so much to the larger retailer.

In the same breath do you think geo targeting could be a competitive advantage for the local business with google heavily promoting the fact that 1 in 3 google searches has "local intent".

about 4 years ago

David Towers

David Towers, ‎Digital Partner & Head of Search, EMEA at GroupM

@Ian - Hi Ian, hope you're well! I think it's very important for a national retailer with multiple store locations targeting generics to be aware of these geo-ranking shifts. The reason is that while you might be ranking on your core generics in a few regions, you could be missing out on ranking across all regions and you wouldn't necessarily know if you weren't doing some geo-ranking checks... It could actually be that by having static local store pages for the 250+ (rather than just flagship stores) with information on there like services, a quote from the store manager, address, opening hours etc, that you can bolster your local relevancy for the terms your targeting. In addition we can't dismiss the traffic that longer tail local modified searches can bring in, even to a large retailer (when scaled up across multiple locations).

Otherwise, I do think that the fact that Google is moving towards more local relevancy from where searches are conducted from does have the potential to be a good thing for small niche retailers with good websites. Take the example of a wedding dress shop: a small wedding dress shop in St Andrews has the potential to compete with Debenhams in the online space if they have a reasonable site based on all the local relevancy that their website could convey.

Hope this is helpful!

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Vicky Smith, Consultant - Online, Responsible & Volunteer Tourism at Freelance

Hi David,

This might be a really daft question where I've completely missed the obvious solution but how does one go about seeing the different geo rankings from one specific location? Say for example I'm an online travel business. Holidays are sold departing from various regional airports so ensuring geo-targeted seo round those would be a good idea, but the office is based in London. For those without the benefit of an agency to do the ranking check, how can I tell Google I'm not in London, I'm actually in Birmingham, to see the rankings there?

Vicky

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richard Joyce, Project manager at WiseTiger

Can anyone provide any insight into how companies can check their rankings from different locations? Is the only way to run searches from devices that are physically in those locations?

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Shelley Slater, Web Manager at BCL

@Vicky & Richard - A quick way to give a general idea on local results is to change your location in Google (on the left hand side of the SERP results) to the desired location. I do this on a browser that I only use for searches, with no cache and cookie dumping on close.

about 4 years ago

Patrizia Pilosi

Patrizia Pilosi, Senior Project manager at Travelfusion

What about if the campaign content is exactly the same but it is targeted to two different countries? And lets call that campaign an entire website, arent we creating (content) duplication it we geotarget one to UK (.co.uk) and the other to US (.com)? How do we geotarget this case without affecting SEO or the risk to have pages not being indexed because of that?

about 4 years ago

David Towers

David Towers, ‎Digital Partner & Head of Search, EMEA at GroupM

@Vicky @Richard As Shelly mentions, you can see the results from a specific location (postcode, town, city etc.) by specifying that location in Google on the left hand side in the search result. If you want to check across multiple locations and have a blended average across the locations you specify, you'd need to use a tool and currently, there aren’t any tools that allow you to get organic rankings across multiple locations. However, Linkdex will be making a geo-ranking feature available to all Linkdex users from 7th August (more info is available about it on their website).

@Patrizia I think your question is more around how to serve the same content across different geographical countries. To do that effectively you'd want to be using the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" tags and setting geographical targeting up in Webmaster tools. More info here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=189077 and http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=182192 Hope that helps!

about 4 years ago

Patrizia Pilosi

Patrizia Pilosi, Senior Project manager at Travelfusion

Thank you David, yes those are helpful.

about 4 years ago

David Towers

David Towers, ‎Digital Partner & Head of Search, EMEA at GroupM

You're welcome Patrizia! Glad to help!

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Søkemotoroptialisering

Great research. What would be best? Just local spesific city pages with original content(or local spesific city domains? And can the "city/area domains have duplicate content? Any findings/research/experiences on this?

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

hitechx

"A quick way to give a general idea on local results is to change your location in Google (on the left hand side of the SERP results) to the desired location. I do this on a browser that I only use for searches, with no cache and cookie dumping on close."
i don't like it!!!
people should see more
http://www.hitechx.com/2012/07/11/new-chrome-os-review/

about 4 years ago

David Towers

David Towers, ‎Digital Partner & Head of Search, EMEA at GroupM

@Søkemotoroptialisering It depends what your business is, what your current visibility is and what you're trying to achieve. If you're a big brand (which most of MEC's clients are), I'd suggest initial going doing the route of creating store specific pages. Once that's done, it's potentially worthwhile creating cluster/regional pages showing visibility across a region also. I don't have any specific research on this, however at the Linkdex White Paper launch I was at yesterday, they said they'd be releasing further insights into this in the coming months! So watch this space!

@hitechx You're suggesting that incognito search on Chrome still uses cookies?

about 4 years ago

David Towers

David Towers, ‎Digital Partner & Head of Search, EMEA at GroupM

Great news, the white paper published by Linkdex on geo-rankings can now be downloaded for free on their website: http://www.linkdex.com/about/features/geo-rankings/ This is a definite must read for all search marketers.

about 4 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.