Why Local Search Rank Trackers Fail
Columnist Andrew Shotland finds most local ranking solutions to be lacking for a number of reasons. Is there any way to solve this problem?
Hey, rank trackers! You know I love you guys, but let’s face it — your local rank tracking is a fail. This Twitter thread says it all.
I’ve got nothing against any of you, but I am hoping this rant will spur some of you on to solve this problem. Hey, maybe you already have, and I just don’t know about it. Hit me up, and I’ll get SEL to cross this whole thing out and put a nice juicy link to your site at the top with anchor text = “best local rank tracking software.” (Editor’s note: This is not going to happen.)
For local search marketers — and if you have been following the evolution of mobile search, you know we are all on our way to becoming local search marketers — rank tracking can be helpful to both understanding the SERP landscape and communicating with clients. (I know, no one wants to report rankings to clients, but they all still seem to want them.)
The Problem(s) With Location-Based Tracking
Google likes to return local pack/maps results based on the user’s physical location; however, there is often a lot of wiggle room. Google always thinks I am one city over, for example.
On top of that, local organic results are not always driven by precise location targeting on GOOG’s end. So before we even start tracking, the data is a bit fuzzy. Par for the course in Local.
Now consider that these tools are generally designed to track rankings in markets where a business is physically located. This presents a huge problem for service area businesses that may be attracting customers from dozens of cities. How about a business where customers will travel greater distances (like to get a great deal on the exact car they want)?