Home Blog Rio SEO Introduces More Accurate Rank Reporting for Google Local Search

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Measuring brand performance at the local level is not only critical to your understanding of ROI but also in improving the interactions that drive customers to your doorstep in every location. Rio SEO’s Local Reporting provides a universal dashboard in which brands can track engagement, measure citation accuracy, evaluate performance against competitors, and more. 

Now, we’re making it easier for brand marketers to see precise local rankings within specific areas around each location.

New: Rio SEO Local Reporting now more precise, closely mirrors your local market with rank reporting

Our new Google Local rank reporting capabilities are designed to more accurately answer the very important question brands have about their local presence:

How are we performing for keywords relevant to our business in the immediate area surrounding our business location?

Now, brands can see Google Local rankings inside the Rio SEO Local Reporting dashboard by proximity in two radii, as determined by the brand.

These rankings are aggregated into top performers (#1 rankings), Top 3, Top 10 and Top 50 so you can see local rankings performance at a glance across the entire brand. You can also click down into individual locations to better gauge performance in specific markets.

This new feature enables you to more accurately measure local rankings in the way your customers use search to find nearby answers to their needs. You could set the first radius at 2 miles, for example, and the second at 5 miles. This tells brand marketers how that location is performing in local search within a specific proximity of the store—are they in the top 10 listings? Are they appearing multiple times?

Understanding your local performance within two specific ranges better informs both your organic and paid search strategies. 

For example, if you can see that a location is ranking well on your desired keywords within 2 miles of the business but not 5 miles, you might update your Local Page for that location to include landmarks from within that 5-mile radius, to better demonstrate that location’s local relevance to Google. You might find opportunities to reallocate paid search budget from locations performing well at the outermost radius to those that aren’t ranking well, even in the area immediately surrounding the business.

Local rankings on Google have long challenged enterprise brands.

Marketers have used different methods for tracking local search rankings over the years. One early method was searching for the keywords (either branded or unbranded) and appending the ZIP code to the query—for example, “organic vegetables 92091.” In the Map Pack, you would see the top local search results in that zip code for that keyword.

How do brand marketers measure local search rankings?

But as we know, customers don’t shop by zip code. Google also searches from the center of the zip code, which may not be physically near the business. So while this rank reporting method gave marketers a reasonable idea of how a given location ranked within the postal system’s breakdown of location, it didn’t necessarily align with that location’s local market.

You could use a proxy server to set your location by zip code or city and search that way. Developers have used UULE, base-64 encoding in the browser path which tells the browser to begin the search using the location and keyword data in the URL. Or, you could change your browser settings in Chrome via the “Sensors” tool to make it appear as though you were at a certain set of GPS coordinates and search from there. 

These methods can work for SMBs. However, there is the issue of scale for enterprise brands. You run the risk of being IP-blocked by Google for automating the process of repeating these searches as it is seen as “unnatural” search behavior. And you certainly can’t afford to have a resource constantly tricking Google into thinking they’re located somewhere else as they search multiple keyword phrases across your hundreds or thousands of locations.

Brands, franchises, and the agencies who serve them need a scalable solution to monitor and report on Google local search rankings in the same way customers are searching for any given location: near the business itself.

How does Google determine local ranking?

According to Google, “Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence… how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.”

Example of rank reporting, Google determines local ranking by considering a business location's relevance, distance, and prominence.

Most mobile devices track user location fairly accurately now using GPS coordinates. Google wants to be able to show searchers the highest quality, most useful results and when it comes to local businesses, this means locations they can access quickly and easily. “Nearby” often means within a block or two, especially in urban areas. 

With this update, Rio SEO Local Reporting is more aligned with how Google Local works. 

Google wants to provide searchers the nearest, most relevant results—we help you understand if that’s you and if not, how to get there.

All clients now have the ability to set one reporting radius. In July, we will expand this feature to the second radius and at that time, you will have the ability to drill down into specific location results.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with your Account Director to learn more about how we’re improving visibility into local performance for enterprise brands like yours. Not a customer? Take advantage of a free Local Audit or contact Rio SEO to see how we can help.