Drastic difference between rankings for location specific query vs non location spec.


nerboda

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Jun 16, 2015
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7
I have a moving company client that ranks in the 3-pack for many of it's priority terms like movers, moving company, moving companies etc (with location set to their city), but if you add the city to the end of the query it's a drastically different story. They completely fall off, for many of the terms, completely out of the top 20 maps listings.

Now, the search volume for the terms with and without the city are pretty comparable, and I would think the users intent would be similar, as most people realize that Google's gonna show localized results for those types of searches whether or not you include the location in the query.

So my questions are:
  • First, any thoughts on why Google would show drastically different results? Is this just a bug in their algorithm that I haven't figured out how to work around, or do you think they have a legitimate reason for it?
  • Second, and this is a multi faceted question, have you experienced this yourself? What did you do about it? Did it work?
Thanks in advance for any info or help! I'm excited to hear what you all say.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
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Sep 12, 2012
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1,562
I've had the opposite. I would rank for the city but not without it. It's been awhile since that though, so I'm not sure that issue still exists.

Can you PM the website and I'll take a look at it for you? Or drop it on here if you're not shy and then many consultants would be able to weigh in.
 

CodyBaird

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Jan 4, 2013
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@nerboda,

"Moving company" is a local query. "Moving company austin" is a hybrid/blended/organic local query. The algo treats each a little differently.

Pure local terms rely heavily on:
1. Distance of business from centroid/city center or distance of business from searchers cell phone.

2. The consistency and quantity of business name, address and phone (NAP) profile across data aggregators, search engines, directories.

The organic local queries and results are influenced by tradional SEO practices:

1. Back link profile and authority

2. Onsite or on page SEO.

Bottom line: you need more links to your site to rank better in the organic results and for local queries with geo modifiers.

PS. There are other factors that influence both query types. I'm just sharing the pareto principles or factors for each. The 20% that gives you 80% of the results.
Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

nerboda

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Jun 16, 2015
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7
@codybaird

Thanks! That's very helpful. Here's something else strange though. For each of the blended queries, my client ranks within the top 5 pure organic results. Do you have some resources where I can learn more about the different ranking factors for pure local vs blended?
 

nerboda

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Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Messages
7
@codybaird

I should have worded my last question differently. I'm very familiar with all of moz's resources on ranking factors, but as far as remember none of them say anything about this specific scenario.

Can you point me to any resources that back your claim that Google looks more heavily at traditional organic ranking factors when the city is included in the query?
 

CodyBaird

Forum Member
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Jan 4, 2013
Messages
350
@nerboda if you pay for a subscription to localu.org you will have access to a localu advanced 2014 training by Mike Blumenthal that covers the evolution of local to blended local. There may be other resources but I don't have the time to track them down. Factors don't work in a vacuum so it will be next to impossible to prove/disprove.

In 2012, I would often force a blended result for geo local queries from being purely local by building link profiles for clients that were far from the centroid. This is how I know.

Proof of it, well...good luck on that.

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