Local Search Keyword Ranking Results: One Experience

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There has already been a lot of conversation in the SEO industry about how various keyword rankings have increased or lowered on Google for local results, so I won’t rehash that too much here.

However, I did want to share my experience with one of my locally based business websites and one of my “national” business website and their respective rankings for local keywords.

Local Business Website: Higher Local Rankings

Before the change to Google’s algorithm about six weeks ago, my Utah wedding photography business, OneTakePhotography.com, was on the second (and third) SERPs for many local keywords, such as “family photographer Orem.” I wasn’t really focusing on these local keywords, as I was more interested in going for Utah-based keywords.

Likewise, the One Take Photography Google Places listing was on the fourth page and beyond for all of the local keywords I was tracking (i.e., keywords related wedding photography, bridals, engagements, family portraits, etc.).

However, shortly after the algorithm change, One Take’s listing in Google places jumped to the first page for many local keywords. Here are a few examples below.



Another interesting, semi-related item that I discovered is that the keyword ranking for “Utah family photography” jumped from the third SERP to the first SERP (#9). Also, the home page used to be the one ranking organically, but now it is the ‘family photography tag’ URL (the page that yields results from the website blog for family photo sessions).


National Business Website: Lower Local Rankings

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I own an editing and ghostwriter service at Wordszilla.com. I only target national, broad-search keywords for this website as a whole, but I did (for fun) semi-optimize some elements on the contact page with city and state, since I do base the business in Utah.


Again, I know any Utah-based writing/editing keywords don’t have search volume nor did I expect any traffic, but that contact page did rank #2 on Google for those Utah and Orem keywords.

However, after the local search algorithm change, do you know where that page ranks now? Yup, you’re right: it doesn’t. Fell out of the top 10 SERPs.

A Few Highlights and Conclusions

From my not-too-in-depth-yet-semi-interesting analysis, it seems that my findings are pretty much in line with what other SEOs have experienced or supposed about local search:

  • Having a business (wedding photographer) in the actual location (Salt Lake City) will help to boost your website ranking/Google Places listing for a local keyword (e.g., Salt Lake City wedding photographer), instead of having a business just near a targeted city (i.e., having a business address in Orem and trying to rank for keywords in Salt Lake City will be more difficult).
  • If you have both a website and Google Places listing with matching contact information, it will help their respective rankings in Google. Likewise, at least for my Wordszilla website, it seems that there is some correlation between not trying to have a webpage rank for a local keyword and not having a Google Places listing (i.e., your webpage might drop in rankings).

I’m sure there are others that have noticed changes in their rankings, traffic, and other analytics. What have you found? Please share your experiences in the comments section.


Luis Bonilla

@Kevin: I was going to say, I rank #2 for that term. =) And I haven’t done anything SEO-wise for that term either (just thought I’d mix up my anchor text a little bit). Thanks for the read and comment.