Do you have the difference between Google Local/Google My Business listings and Google Localization straight in your mind? That difference is barely mentioned in Loren Baker’s How To Compete In Localized Google Results on Search Engine Journal. But the difference between the two reminds me of how easy it is to miss something important. Listings are where your business is located — localization is where the searcher is located.
As Loren Baker points out:
With the introduction of SERP personalization, Google results now factor in zip codes, device types, and geographic locations for search queries, resulting in different results for users in different locations. There is no longer one standard results page.
His article discusses the knowledge graph, tracking dynamic ranking and competition, techniques for building links and social signals to your local pages, and localization. Once you are done here, it’s a good way to get detailed information on a complicated topic. We are just going to look at one aspect of it.
Analysis Is Only As Helpful As The Data You Get
Why do we need to pay attention to what your Google Rank Tracking (or any other tracking tool) looks at? Because if you are trying to analyze your numbers based on the standard default ‘Google USA’, then you aren’t getting all the information you need to do it accurately. In fact, you’ll only see what the user sees if they have selected ‘USA’ for their search. Since most users are going to see results based on their specific location, their search pages look far different.
If you are looking at the wrong numbers, you are going to get the wrong answer. It is very important to have a clear understanding of the data being analyzed by your tracking & analytics tools so you can track the right stuff.
SEO is always changing and there is no way to be an expert in all of it. That’s why we need experts like Loren Baker and Search Engine Journal (along with everyone else in the online community) to give us their wisdom.