Discover how your local business search presence compares to the local competition.
4 main factors that will affect your results:
Did you know that your rankings can vary on every single street corner? If you search for the same location while out walking you can actually see how the local results are changing. This is what is known as impact proximity and it can noticeably effect local search results.
Most rank tracking platforms works by setting a location using a special parameter called a UULE (Universally Unique Location Emulator) - which it passes to Google to say, ignore my device location settings, my GPS location settings and set the location to be this precise spot. So you can’t replicate the same location setting as the software.
Did you know that rankings vary hour by hour? So, it’s very hard for you to assess the accuracy of the rank tracker by checking manually at, let’s say, 3 p.m., when the rank tracker ran at 2 a.m.
3. IP Address & Browser History
Another factor is just your IP address, because the rank tracking software is going to be searching from their server’s IP and your IP is going to show different results because of location, and any browser history that’s run on both of those IPs. Browser history will also impact the results.
4. IP Physical Browser or Device used
Finally, there’s even variation between different browsers. If you run the exact search for a term in Google Chrome, then run it in Firefox, you’re going to see that the results are actually different – albeit usually. slightly.
Knowing that there’s so many different signals that Google is incorporating and how they change results, makes it pretty clear that it’s very hard to validate the accuracy of a local rank tracker. It doesn’t mean that the rank tracker is not accurate, the rank tracking software is accurate at that specific moment, with those specific location settings, you just can’t exactly mirror to validate.
So knowing that this variation exists, and knowing that rankings fluctuate so much, it should give you some confidence that you don’t really need to panic when you see a big ranking drop. Ideally what you really want to be doing is analysing your rankings as trends and frequently over time. Some people only track rankings monthly – but by doing so you are missing out on trends – and if you hit a blip when that report comes in, you might start to unnecessarily think it’s your website or SEO that needs changing (and cost you often unnecessarily) .
So why track rankings if you can’t validate the accuracy of the software?
Well the software IS accurate. However, you cannot mimic the exact results (just try to consider what number crunching and processing that software does!)
It does help you identify trends over time and what’s most important is that you can identify problems and improve on your opportunities - particualry against your competitors … as what gets measured gets improved.
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