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Geolocation Changes Google Keyword Rankings 69% of Time [Report]

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In 69 percent of cases where a company’s website ranks in the top 30 on Google for one location, it doesn't rank for that keyword across all other locations, according to a new report from Linkdex. Their study also included an examination of ranking variations across 10 different geolocations, in that case finding that ranking deviated by average of 11 positions.

Geo-Variance Research Explores Search Results Across 10 U.S. Cities & Towns

Linkdex tested 2,000 keywords across a mix of 10 major U.S. cities and smaller towns and found that at higher levels of variance, the majority of the results in Google’s top 10 changed completely, depending on the searcher’s location.

keyword-ranking-variability-by-sector

One particularly interesting section of the report demonstrates how select verticals including restaurants, furniture, used cars, flights, and credit cards behave.

Linkdex notes, “When we began our research, and when we selected the verticals to look at in greater detail, we expected to find a different level of variance across different verticals. We did encounter this, as shown above, but not all of the results were as anticipated – some selected verticals are less affected by geo-variability than expected, and some more.”

Ranking Variances May Not Be in Verticals or Niches You Expect

For a deeper, look, they broke down the ranking reports of each market, looking at the 15 websites per vertical with the best visibility on the first page of results (position 1 through 10). This approach favored sites with multiple locations, therefore decreasing variance.

However, they did notice that high variability sites, like listing site Menupages.com, may struggle to rank across geo-locations.

“Menupages recorded 14 top 3 positions in NYC, and none at all in San Francisco,” Linkdex found. “In positions 4 through 10, there are eight keywords ranking in New York City, but none in Chicago.”

Marketers still need to monitor geo-variance across all sectors, they caution, even though some verticals show less variance than others. There are niches within each sector that buck the trend.

We spoke with Linkdex VP of Product/Marketing Matt Roberts, who believes the research raises more questions than answers, for marketers. They’re important questions, though.

The local question is a troublesome one for many and understanding how visibility changes allows marketers to spot opportunities. Typically, he said, even when people could find the information, it’s been incredibly difficult to collect and manage it at any scale.

While the best data is always going to be your own, Linkdex offers a big picture view of the problem, thanks to their capability to capture these insights across different geos. To that end, they said, “We believe geo-ranking insights will give people the understanding of what markets and groups of keywords are affected by variations in geo-ranking. They will then be able to develop geo-optimization strategies that maximize the opportunity to grow traffic and revenues.”

Download the full report from Linkdex here.


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