Following Google’s announcement to launch universal search in 2007, there has been a rapid and continual evolution to improve user experience via personalization. While these improvements create a more engaging search experience for users, the task of monitoring keyword rankings has become increasingly complex.
SEO strategists looking for ways to get a better handle on true keyword position should consider reporting on location-based rankings. Google utilizes browser information to return the most personalized results possible. Reporting on keyword rankings based on state or metro areas will give business owners heightened visibility into where to devote SEO resources to provide the greatest return. Here are the best ways location-focused keyword reporting can add value to any SEO campaign.
Identify the Location of Potential Customers
The first step in tackling local keyword rankings is to determine the most popular states or metropolitan areas, of current and prospective customers. Some businesses are lucky enough to already have their target markets clearly identified by region, while others will need to do a bit of research. Regardless of how well you think you know your audience, I recommend that everyone use a keyword research tool to locate hotspots where people are performing searches using your most valued keywords. You never know when you may discover a previously untapped market. For example, the figure to the right is a regional interest map for the search term “plastic surgeons” in Google over the past twelve months – I used Google Insights for Search to gather data. Surprised California isn’t topping the charts?
Boost Local Keyword Rankings with Targeted Site Content
Once you identify geographic locations to target, decide how you want to create content around these places. Generally speaking, it is easier to improve in local search rankings than focusing on a “global” campaign. Depending on availability of resources, you can do everything from creating a single targeted webpage to developing a whole microsite. For national brands who invest in microsites, not only is it a great SEO tactic, but it’s also a great way to build brand loyalty by offering a customized branding experience.
Approaching SEO in this method will improve ROI by focusing efforts on targeted, but less competitive areas of search. Personalization makes it nearly impossible to know where you rank in SERPs for every web user, but you can improve your odds of ranking well by playing in the local search market.
Expand Beyond SEO Campaigns
Share your newfound geographical insights on potential customer markets with your fellow co-workers to help improve marketing campaigns outside of SEO. Those involved in SEM may use this information to create a campaign targeting a specific geographic location or geo-related search. A sales executive may utilize these insights to decide where to hire new team members and focus acquisition efforts.
In conclusion, don’t be flustered by constantly changing search algorithms. A little local keyword research can go a long way in making sure you discover how to get the most out of your SEO efforts.