We all have that one client…
You get an email or a phone call from a frantic client and they want to know why when they searched for their business yesterday that they showed up in the maps and now today they don’t.
“I was on top in that maps section and now I’m not there? What’s going on? I even had my wife do the same search for me on the other side of town and she doesn’t see a map come up.”
Day to day fluctuations in local search results is uncommon. Do you know how I know this? I don’t.. because I don’t search for the same look at it every day. If you search for the same thing every day, and one day it’s there and the next day it’s not, you’re going to drive yourself friggin crazy. (More on this later and what you should be doing.)
If you are just starting out in Local SEO.. congratulations! But make sure you explain to your clients that search results are not static. There are many factors why your #1 locally ranked client does not see his business in the 3 pack.
Here are some factors that may cause a business not to show up in the local section or maps.
Location – Google customizes searches based on location. So if you search for a business outside of the area, it’s highly likely that location is a factor. You’re going to have to have different tools to do Google searches as if you were in another zip code or city.
Google Account – Being logged into a Google Account will get you all kinds of different results. If you are logged into a Google Account and have a Google+ profile, it’s highly likely they are seeing search results that are so personal that it even creeps me out. Also remember that Android device users are always logged into their devices.
Device – Smartphone, Tablet or PC? – Business owners that sit at their desktop all day and look for themselves are really not performing g a natural local search. Consumers use mobile devices. Mobile search is completely different from searching from a laptop or PC. It’s a new world for search marketers. Mobile devices have changed search habits. People speak to search and text to search. The search query is probably going to be as short as possible. “Nearest repair place” “Italian bistro west palm” “flood cleanup.” Whether you type, text or speak a search query into a phone you are going to get a local result. One does not need to say city in the search unless they want a restaurant outside of the area they are searching in. Going to be out of town? Well, then you’ll probably search something like “Italian Bistros in Seattle.”
If you want a great source on this, check out the 2017 Local Ranking Factor Survey from Moz.
So basically if you are a business owner or a local SEO scientist you should know by now that local search results are based on the location of the search, the location of the device, and search query used on the device while it was in a specific location.