A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at the launch of Linkdex’s new georanking tool. A number of other people from other agencies such as MEC, Razorfish and Mediacom (my London counterpart) were also there , and it was a good opportunity to discuss the impact of geo-rankings within the SEO community.
Prior to the launch, Linkdex had done a significant amount of research for the launch comprising around 2000 keywords and phrases across 8 locations. For those not aware of what much of this concerns, the launch by Google of Venice which geo-targeted results based on user location factors was the major factor behind Linkdex launching this tool – and its something I have felt has had a significant factor across a number of terms across Retail and FMCG. The net result of this has been the greater breakout of Local Places (Local+) results and a much greater bias of results where local factor or intent can be determined.
Significantly there were two standout results that came out of the study, namely:
- 67% of the time if you rank in the top 30 for a keyword in one location, you will NOT rank for that keyword across other locations
- When the location is not set the average keyword ranking deviates by 4 positions compared to the location specific ranking
That is a significant area of flux then for any industry which would happen to fall within these parameters, and as such a factor that advertisers can not ignore. Increasingly I see SEO becoming very much more like traditional marketing and factors such as localisation and brand recall becoming more and more ingrained in good SEO. Factors such as social and its increasing role are also driving organic search marketeers to think of demographic targeting and target markets. It is thus crucial for search marketeers to start thinking Local particularly if their vertical happens to fall into one of the key variance sectors namely:
Thats a fair chunk of sectors this affects and if you happen to work within any of the above industries theres a good chance that you may find a significant degree of variance in many of your results, impacting not just on potential visibility but more importantly on the potential traction of your keyword visitors wise. Further to that if one thinks of a locally biased product this could significantly impact the volume of traffic a keyword may generate and thus have a wider commercial impact – something which may significantly the proposed SEO strategy an organisation may use. Take for example (a bad one) a butcher in Scotland which may produce black puddings for the Lancashire market (a big consumer of said puddings). The nature of Venice is likely that it would localise the butcher to a Scottish result – which would have a significant impact on its potential to appear for its target Lancashire market. The requirement for some degree of local optimisation here is obvious .
This is particular important when one considers just how variable these results are. Keywords which included Local Map based results were the highest variance keywords, however there was a significant proportion of keywords that fell well outside of this remit – and included no breakout of local results but still were highly localised in nature. Understanding your search environment is thus another factor for the savvy local marketeer to add to their armoury.
Being part of a media agency, I for one am quite excited about many of the changes much of this local search framework provides. Increased integration with the wider marketing landscape would appear to be a natural extension which can only be good for SEO as a whole. The fact is, as I have said before, local is big, its here and its not going to go away.