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What is the best method for tracking local SEO?

We provide multiple options for tracking local search ranging from geo-location keywords and target URLs, to custom search engine settings, allowing you to choose the method(s) that best match your local SEO and rank reporting goals.
local rank tracking

Geo Location Keywords

Geo-location keywords can be added for each location to your campaign, for example:
  • digital marketing agency st. louis
  • digital marketing agency springfield
  • digital marketing agency kansas city 
In this example, you could select Google USA, and add a custom location of Missouri (details in the Custom Location Settings section).

If the campaign tracks rank for multiple states you could select a Google USA search engine and add the city (e.g., ice cream nashville) or in a case where a city name might apply to multiple states, then you could add city, st in the keyword (e.g., ice cream charleston, sc).
Campaign Settings > Keywords

geo location keywords

If specific landing pages have been optimized for location-based keywords, you have the option to add Target URLs to the keywords.

Target URLs per Keyword

add target URLs

Enabling Targeted URLs column (Report Options > Domains) in the Rank Dashboard report provides an indicator of landing page match to the target URL.

Rank Dashboard with Target URL indicator

Rank Dashboard with Target URL feature

Google Local Search Engines

Google Local Search

The system allows for 1 instance each of Google Desktop, Google Local Finder, Google Maps, and Google Mobile per campaign (up to the package capacity limit of search engines per campaign), and they can be customized for a specific location.  However, because there are business cases where it would be beneficial to track multiple instances of the same search engine with different location settings in the same campaign we offer this option for customization.

In this example we will focus on Google in the USA, however, this feature is available for Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and a few more countries (if you need a different country, contact us to request that it be added). To track multiple instances of the same USA Google Local search engine (e.g., Desktop, Mobile, Local Finder or Maps) in one campaign:
  • Select "United States (Local)" in the Country list.
  • Select the search engine you want to add, e.g., Google Loc 1*, and repeat for the next instance of the same search engine by selecting Loc 2 and Loc 3, customizing each for the desired locations (Custom Location & Options > Custom Location Settings).  
  • Repeat for each Country & Search Engine combination that you would like to add, up to the limit per campaign for the package the campaign is associated with.

Google local search USA

Naming Local Search Engines

When selecting a Google Local search engine, you have the option to customize the location and the label that displays in reports for that search engine.  Click the Custom Location & Options button. Note that the search engine name in this example is displaying next to the flag as Google Loc 1.  In the Custom Search Engine Name field, you can enter the name that you want to be displayed for that search engine in reports.

In this example, we have entered "Google Orlando" to identify the location of the Google Loc 1 search engine, and after clicking the Save button, the new label displays next to the Google logo and country flag.

name local search engine

Custom Search Engines Report

In this example, there are 3 Google USA Local search engines - for Orlando, Tallahassee, and Tampa, Florida - displayed side-by-side in a Rank Summary Search Engines report in Competitive View.

custom search engine names in search engine report

The above example was created using the Google USA Desktop search engine. 
  • Google Mobile can be set with custom location and for business results.
  • Google Maps can be set with custom location and provides map results from the Google Maps search engine with places listings. 
  • Google Local Finder is a feature of Google search and can be set with custom location and business results. It provides data from Google My Business listing results, along with maps. 
    This FAQ explains the differences between Google Local Finder and Maps.

  • Custom Location Settings

    Rank Tracking & Report Options

    custom location setting

    Click the Custom Location & Options button and complete these fields:
    • Custom Search Engine Name (optional): this displays in reports
    • Custom Location Settings: the search engine country has already been selected, you can target the location further by entering a state, city or postal code in any of these formats:
      • California: this narrows a USA search to the state of California
      • Miami, FL: this narrows a USA search to the city of Miami, Florida
      • 90210, USA: this narrows a USA search to a postal code within a city (in the US, it is necessary to add a comma after the postal code and include USA)
      • London: this targets a UK search to the city of London
      • WC1N: this targets a UK search to a specific postal code

    Click the Save button
    when you have finished customizing the search engine.

    Business Results Settings

    Default Setting
    The default search engine setting for Business Results is that they are excluded from rank tracking.
    • Option 1:  Select Exclude from organic rank count if you don't want this campaign to report local pack or hotel pack in the Rank reports

      default business results setting

    • Option 2:  Select Exclude from organic rank count AND enter the Google My Business page name in the Business Name field if you want the business name tracked and reported in the Reports & Tools > Organic Search >Rank Tracking > Rank Insights - Local screen

      exclude rank but include business tracking

    • Option 3:  Enter the Google My Business page name in the Business Name field, and select the Include in organic rank count option if you want the local pack or hotel pack position considered as part of organic rank in the Rank reports

      Google My Business Title
      • Select the Include if Ranked option if you don't want the local pack or hotel pack included in the organic rank count when your business isn't found in the pack

    If you choose Option 2 or 3 to enable Google My Business listing results reporting, then follow these instructions to enable tracking. 

    Business Results Match
    • Select Exclude from organic rank count or Include in organic rank count based on whether or not you want local or hotel pack positions counted in organic rank (as described in the section above)
      • If Include in organic rank count is selected, and you only want the local pack or hotel pack positions considered in organic rank only when the Business Name is matched in the pack, check the Include if Ranked option.
    • In the Business Name field enter the Google My Business listing Title
      The Business Name must be the exact title that displays in the Google listing for the business location.
      Refer to the sections below for wild card options to accommodate Google business listings for multiple locations or business names.
    Google My Business Title

    Business with Multiple Location Listings
    If the tracked domain has multiple Google business listings containing the same Business Name with location or service included in the title, use the (contains) option.
    • For example, by entering (Capital Grille), the Ranger bot will return Local Results for "The Capital Grille", "Capital Grille Wall Street", "The Capital Grille of New Orleans", etc.
    Multiple business location pages

    Company with Multiple Business Name Listings
    If the Google Business Titles don't contain a common brand name, you can enter multiple business names in parentheses with a pipe between them.
    • For example, the Hilton Hotel in San Diego has a sports grill, lounge, and restaurant, so to track the Google Business page for each of the related properties, you could enter this in the Business Name field:
      (Hilton San Diego Bayfront)|(Fox Sports Grill)|(Odysea Lounge)|(Vela)
    Multiple business name listings

    Business Page URL (optional)
    If the Google business listing has been optimized for a URL that is different than the campaign's primary URL, you may enter that URL in this field and we will use it as the landing page in your reports.
    • For example, if the website link on the Google My Business listing for a restaurant directs users to the reservations page, a menu, or a gallery of mouth-watering photos, you can enter that URL in this field. 
    • If the field is left empty, then the campaign domain URL will display in reports if the keyword ranks in Local Finder for the business name.
    report landing page URL

    In the above example, the search engine has been customized:
    • For search in Boston, Massachusetts
    • To include local pack and hotel pack results if the Google My Business listing title is "The Capital Grille"
    • To include the rank count along with organic results rank if the Google Business listing name is in the search results
    • To list a specific landing page URL in the rank reports when the Google My Business name is found in Boston based search results

    Click the Save button
    when you have finished customizing the search engine.

    Learn more about Local Pack Results or Hotel Pack Results.

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