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Why Geo-Rankings are an SEO KPI Game Changer #SESCHI

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Do you want to learn how geo-rankings affect SEO, particularly when organic rankings are used as a key performance indicator of your SEO campaign? Then you’ll want to go to SES Chicago 2012.

One of the sessions on Day 2 of the conference (Wednesday, November 14, at 3:15 p.m.) is Geo-rankings: An SEO KPI Game Changer. It will examine new research published by Linkdex, which finds that rankings change significantly based on the locations where the searches are made.

The research found that 69 percent of the time, if you rank in the top 30 for a keyword in one location, you won't rank for that keyword across all other locations. So, if you’re checking your rankings in one location (e.g., Chicago), then you won’t have a full picture of your ranking visibility across the whole of the U.S.

The Linkdex geo-ranking research also contained some other key findings:

  • No search term – out of 2,000 divided across 20 sectors and sampled in 10 locations – had a consistent rank in the SERPs.
  • All sectors saw meaningful geo-variance across locations.
  • Most affected sectors were tradesmen, restaurants and cafés, and professional services.
  • Least, but still affected, sectors were flights, credit cards, printer ink, and hotels.
  • As would be expected, geographical variability was highest when Google+ Local pages are present in the results.
  • When Google+ Local pages were not present, variability was still significant across head terms, long tail terms, and brand terms alike. So, Geo-variability is not just about Google+.
  • The average position change between two San Francisco ZIP codes used for sampling was 3.1 positions.

keyword-ranking-variability-by-sector

These results clarify the extent of the localization challenge for search marketers. They also highlight the value of very specific geo-ranking data, which is available from Linkdex.

Matthew Bailey, Founder & President of SiteLogic Marketing, will be one of the speakers at the session. Here is a taste of what you can expect to take away from the session.

Greg Jarboe: How important is having data on whether keywords are affected by geo-ranking variability?

Matt Bailey: Important? Everyone has known for years that rankings vary by geo-location, but no one was able to produce anything acceptable to report or take action on this knowledge.

GJ: How do you think geo-ranking insights will affect your business?

MB: This changes the game. This provides the hard evidence that regional-based companies need to effectively target their audience. It also provides companies the means to know if they are getting the most from their SEO agency.

GJ: When presented with data on which locations are performing and underperforming, how would you go about improving the performance of a business with a physical address in multiple locations that is underperforming in a few key towns and cities?

MB: This provides data where none existed. Now we can associate ranking to a specific location, and by associating demographic data, sales data, recency, frequency and value, we can find the most valuable locations and leverage them to become even more valuable. That’s my first action – to find the high revenue locations and make them more valuable – then we will look at the poorly performing locations, match the rankings up with what we know and find the “why.” Once we know the “why” the entire game changes because we can develop a specific plan of action.

GJ: Please give your "top tip" for geo-optimization.

MB: Better context. Keep adding data points. The more the better. By associating rankings with already known economic, demographic and behavioral factors, you will know even more about your market and how to reach them effectively. This tracking technology blows away the ancient practice of ranking reports. Too many clients have been “snowed” by their agencies by seeing rankings that were generated from a local IP address, which always presented them favorably. Now, to see rankings from across town, across the state, the country, and around the world will change forever the business of rankings. With the emphasis on local search marketing, Linkdex has shown themselves (once again) to be ahead of the game.

For more details, you can read Miranda Miller’s article, “Geolocation Changes Google Keyword Rankings 69% of Time [Report]”.

Or, if you want a “second opinion,” you can tune into a brand new Webmaster Radio show (which, by the way, launches today) SEW Weekly next week, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. ET. Miller and Thom Craver are hosting the show and they will be interviewing Matt Roberts, VP of Product at Linkdex, who will also be speaking at the geo-rankings session. I will also be participating in SEW’s new show because I’m moderating the geo-rankings session at SES Chicago 2012.

They won't be diving as deeply into geo-rankings during the 12-minute segment as the one-hour session at SES Chicago will. But, the show will give you an intro-level look at the Linkdex research and why geo-rankings matter.

I should disclose that SES is a client of my firm. And even though I don’t need to disclose this, I’m looking forward to taunting Bailey when the Michigan Wolverines football team beats the Ohio State Buckeyes in “The Game” on Nov. 24, 2012.


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