Over the last number of months we have watched as Google changes the way it returns Local Search results.
We see more Google Places (map) listings when we search for local businesses and we see more integrated search results with images, videos, shopping and news results.
Added to the "traditional organic listings" we are used to seeing we have something called Universal Order. It creates for a great user experience (most of the time) but can make it hard for websites to monitor their visibility for targeted keyword phrases because there are a variety of ways they can be getting ranking results.
Although Analytics SEO doesn’t have a specific tool to monitor your Google Places for tracked keywords as it does for your “organic” (website) results it does have other ways to mine relevant information to monitor your local search engine optimization efforts.
This short blog post will look at Universal Order within Analytics SEO and show you how to:
- Find out which of your monitored phrases trigger Places results and if they do who of your competitors are visible for those terms.
- See your rankings for Places, Video, Images and other types of searches.
- Know if Directory sites such as Yelp are outranking you for your selected keyword phrases.
1. Universal Order Discovers Who is Enjoying Local Listings
Before you worry about whether your Google Places listing is being displayed for a particular search term you can check to see if any other local listings are displayed. Not all search terms generate the exact same format of results. Some may just have organic listings while others have organic, local and image listings. Google determines the format of results based on the search term what type of results it thinks users will find most helpful.
Within Analytics SEO go to the Monitored Keywords section and click on Keyword Research at the bottom. The Universal Order shows you at a quick glance the composition of results for your monitored terms on the first page of results.
For search terms that display Places listings click on hyperlinked text in the Universal Order column to see who is showing up on the first page of results. Are you listed there? Which of your competitors are listed there?
Tip: If you notice your rankings for some search phrases drop after being fairly stable check to see if Google is displaying your local listing instead.
2. Universal Search Uncovers Phrases Triggering Places, Images and Videos in the SERPs
The Universal Search tool in Analytics SEO is designed to help you identify search terms that may not be on your radar but are generating exposure in the SERPs. This tool can also be used to identify non-traditional organic rankings you are receiving from Google for Places, Images and Video plus Shopping, News and Real Time results. You can use this tool to:
- Find new search terms you already have exposure for so you can further optimize and increase traffic.
- Monitor if your Places listings and onsite images and videos are visible in the SERPs.
- See if your website qualifies for Google’s shopping, news and real time results.
3. Are Directory Sites Being Favored for your Monitored Phrases?
In doing any type of local search it is probable you will come across directory listings from Yelp, Yellow Pages, 411 and so on. But are rankings for your monitored search terms being pushed down because of these listings?
The Marketplace Potential tool takes a collective look at all of your monitored keyword phrases and determines the amount of traffic you get based on your current rankings for all the terms at a baseline of 1.0. It then determines the level of traffic other sites are getting based on their rankings for the same set of keywords. Sites with more visibility (ranked higher than you) will have scores greater than 1 (ex. a site with 1.5 gets 1.5 times more traffic).
Look to see if Yelp, Yellow Pages and other sites like these are listed above you. If you do see a number of directory sites make sure you claim your free listing on their site to increase your exposure in the SERPs. Knowing whether you monitored keyword phrases are returning results with Review and Directory sites or results for your competitors will affect your optimization and competitive strategy.
Is this local search a newer concept to you? Read more about Local Search:
By: Carissa Krause