Posts Tagged seo

6 Super Simple Ways to Check Your Google Ranking in a Different City

SEO has become extremely localized, so you’ll only see neighbourhood results for businesses like:

  • dentists
  • dry cleaners
  • restaurants

This makes sense because no one is looking for a restaurant in another city they live in, unless they own a chain of restaurants. Business owners are continually in need of a “localized elsewhere” result, so here’s a few solutions.

FYI – we use professional keyword ranking tools for our purposes, but if you’re looking for a quick answer to where you rank, here’s 5 easy ways to check.


1) Google Ad Preview Tool

You’ll need a Google Ads account for this one. The benefits of this are that you’ll see ads local to that area and a mobile view. Considering there’s more mobile than desktop google queries it’s always important to remember to test your ad on a phone.

google local results for pizza

I googled “pizza near me” from Vancouver.


2) I Search From

This is a simple tool that allows you to utilize the Adwords Preview Tool on desktop.

i searched from


3) Change the URL

A painfully simple way is to change the words in this url:

Just change the search phrase and location. Here’s a few more examples:


4) BrightLocal

Another straightforward tool to quickly check your rankings. The tool spits out a url that is more accurate than the above method by altering the UULE parameter – the long string of seemingly random characters in the Google result pages.



5) Use a VPN

VPN services such as NordVPN and IP Vanish both have Canadian cities. Unfortunately, they each only have Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

vpn for google search


6) Override Chrome’s Longitude and Latitude

This is my favourite one. You can tell Chrome that you want results from another part of the world. The steps do to this one are:

  1. Open Chrome’s Console (Mac: Command + Option + I)
  2. Open up Sensors by finding the three little dots
  3. In a new tab, find the longitude and latitude by right clicking on a location on a Google Maps location and selecting “What’s Here”
  4. Head back to the original tab and put the longitude and latitude into the Custom Location under Sensors

google chrome sensors

chrome long lat override

Did you find this list useful? Hit us up on Twitter and share with us if you’d try one of these methods or if you have your own go-to method for checking localized search results.

SEO / SEM Freelancers in Vancouver? How About Canada?

Calling all experienced search marketing freelancers! We’re looking for folks that can work on contracts and can demonstrate a lot of great past results.

About Us

We’re a digital marketing business in Gastown, Vancouver, Canada. We’ve got about 15 years in the search marketing business and need to talk to folks that are as excited about the field as we are.

We need someone that:

  • Is a native English speaker
  • Lives in Canada
  • Does sharp PPC Management
  • Can plan and execute SEO campaigns
  • Report on ROI
  • Dig through Analytics
  • Run with some modern link building techniques

Email us at [email protected] to get in touch. Talk to you soon!

⚡ Google’s New AMP Pages ⚡

google amp

Google has announced their modified html called AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – will be visible to users in results pages. The AMP pages are indicated by a little lightning bolt⚡. It’s an attempt at creating faster mobile load times and is not to be confused with ExactTarget’s AMPscript language.

The rundown:

1) It’s extremely similar to html with a few small changes

2) You define the document by using the lightning emoji ⚡ which is pretty great.

3) You can set what content gets loaded first. This is super helpful for the user, because currently many sites do not define whether ads or share buttons get loaded before content.

4) It sets the size of items on the page so there’s no resizing while reading content. This makes things quicker and prevents content from jumping around.

5) It doesn’t affect SEO rankings – but maybe it does? From Search Engine Land:

I spoke with Google’s VP of Engineering David Besbris yesterday. He told me that AMP pages will not receive a ranking boost, though Google has suggested in the past load time and page speed are (or will become) mobile ranking factors.

6) There will be two pages – one desktop and one mobile.

7) AMP pages are 4x faster and use around 10x less data than non-AMP.

This is a huge development for publishers with a lot of content and ads. Many larger publishers have already adopted it – eBay, Reddit, etc. Google, of course, sells and distributes a lot of display advertising for these large publishers, so it makes sense they want a more harmonious experience.

The only problem is that it is kind of taking a step backwards in order to move forwards. Responsive sites eliminated the need for a mobile version and a desktop version of the site which looks like what is happening again. Anybody in dev will have to take a close look to see whether the benefits will outweigh the need to manage two sites again. Then again, AMP pages are way faster and use way less data so it looks like it might happen no matter what.

Here’s Google Developer’s video Intro to AMP.

Bing: The Laserdisc of Search Engines

bing seo dancing

(Bravo to the person that animated Chandler Bing on the Bing logo)

It’s the search engine that nobody talks about unless it’s brought up as a joke. It’s the Laserdisc of search engines. I try to bring up Bing professionally and the conversation quickly derails into questions about my sanity–even though it’s up to 20% of the market share in the US!

Here’s what I’ve found Bing to be completely helpful with.

  1. Older demographics.
    Younger, tech-savvy people have an easy time switching browsers and arranging preferences. Older folk seem to stick with the defaults on their PC.
  2. Bing Webmaster Tools.
    Why not have more data to comb over?
  3. Interaction Rates.
    Our Bing Ad campaigns have higher interaction rates than Google Adwords ones. Why is that? It might just be a more focused audience with less to click on.
  4. It’s Cheaper.
    Google Adwords is an extremely competitive marketplace for many industries. Many people can slide into a Bing campaign and benefit from low cost per clicks.
  5. Ad Demographic Targeting in Search
    This isn’t available in Adwords. Bing will allow (when available) bid increases for certain groups.



Google’s new ad layouts: was the panic legit?

It’s been a few weeks since Google switched up the ad layout on its search results pages. If you missed the news, here’s a recap: the ads that used to be on the right-hand side of the search results are now on the top and bottom of the search pages, bordering the search results like  bread in a sandwich.

By cutting out the right side ads, Google has created room for knowledge graphs and product listings, as seen here in this screenshot of a sample search.

SEO results - running shoes

Keep in mind these changes only affect desktop browsing. In mobile view, the ads look the same as they did before.

Why did Google switch it up? Some people are claiming Google wanted to make its layout consistent for all screen sizes. And some people are saying the big G just wanted to pull in more profits: by reducing the amount of ads available, the competition for ads will be fiercer, and, so the theory goes, the top spot could end up costing more.

Whenever Google makes a change, the internet is full of commentary, and this is no exception. We’ve seen mild predictions that it won’t matter very much in the end and dramatic predictions that it’s the end of small businesses forever.

If you’re in the latter camp, take heart. Be buoyed by these facts:

  • These changes only affect desktop views. As we all (or should by now) know, more and more people are using mobile, and desktop searches are steadily taking up less and less of the total search numbers.
  • We broke the news before, but take some time and let this soak in: the new desktop ad layouts, with ads before and after the organic listings, are pretty much the equivalent of what mobile users have been seeing for a long time.
  • It doesn’t have to mean your cost per clicks (CPCs) go through the roof. Just like marketing pro Nitin Kumar said in this article on the Business 2 Community site, your CPC will go down if you have stellar copy, keywords and landing pages.

So, grasshoppers, just like when the Henny Pennys  of the web wrung their hands over Mobilegeddon and we took the “wait and see” approach, we are going to sit tight and wait for more data. Just like we had a much gentler interpretation of Mobilegeddon, we’re expecting to stay rather Zen about these changes too. In the meantime, take a deep breath and keep focused on the basics.

SEO: How to Rank Keywords in 2016

seo keyword rankings


The question used to be:

“What’s our rank?”

Now, the question should be:

“What’s our click through rate?”

Organic keyword tracking is not the beacon it used to be. Rankings are now scattered across an ever expanding amount of places. These days, it doesn’t matter if you’re third or fifth, but it does matter how many people are clicking on your links. Here’s a quick guide to ranking your keywords.


 How to Track Your Google Traffic

1) Get Google Search Console Data

It’s the most relevant keyword data available, and is somehow often overlooked. Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) tells you what your keyword click through rate is. It indicates how much traffic is being lost, which is the first metric you should be looking at. Ranking first is great, but how often are those people clicking on your link? Are paid, local and knowledge graph getting 80% of the clicks? Keyword rankings is a competitive game, so the first measurement should be against what others are getting.

2) Include Paid

Dr. Pete Meyers tweeted a search result (we’ve posted it below) that has 4 Adwords ads rather than the traditional 3. This dominates the page real estate. Paid and organic are arguably the same medium, and they all come from the same place: Search. Considering that Adwords is dominating the same search results as organic, shouldn’t it be included in rankings? Why separate the two if it doesn’t matter to the user?

google paid results with 4


3) Of Course, Track Keywords

Knowing their historical position explains a lot, but isn’t the beginning and end of organic. A few good keyword trackers we’ve seen lately are Accuranker and STAT.

Watch Your Keyword Locations

Rankings in New York are different than rankings in Vancouver. It’s common to first panic at a low average position in Google Search Console until you localize the filter. If you have a restaurant and rank for the term “restaurant,” people from all over the world may be influencing your overall position.

Google also does a great job of localizing searches. You may rank highly in Edmonton, Alberta but low in Hong Kong. Make sure you know your rank in the city you’re targeting. Authority Labs has postal code level targeting.

Mobile vs. Desktop

We’re seeing slight differences in rankings between mobile and desktop. They’re not the giant discrepancies that people were afraid of when Google announced the Mobile Update in April, 2015, but there are some inconsistencies between the two. This is a key factor to consider because if you’re #1 on desktop and #5 on mobile, you’d have to consider yourself as #3.

Does Going Mobile-Friendly Increase SEO Rankings?


Maybe? Possibly?

Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin just detailed how “going mobile-friendly” has impacted The site was a bit late to the mobile-friendly party, having just made the switch earlier this year in response to user feedback and Mobilegeddon. The Moz site receives upwards of 600,000 sessions per day, so any shifts would be quite noticeable.

The results? It didn’t do anything.

Rand says the most important part of switching to a mobile-friendly experience is the empathy it shows for Moz’s users. That in itself may be enough of a reason to go mobile, but as far as SEO goes, after monitoring the traffic for 4 months, going mobile-friendly doesn’t seem to have had an impact on Moz’s rankings.

However! Before you start comparing your stats to Moz, keep these points in mind:

  1. Moz has major authority in the industry, and
  2. There aren’t rankings stats in here. Maybe the reason they didn’t seen an increase in traffic is because they stayed at #1 for a lot of positions. A smaller business’s traffic may have moved around considerably.

So will going mobile-friendly increase your SEO rankings? You might have to wait and see for yourself.

Mobilegeddon: The Rollout


Image credit

Mobilegeddon: it was supposed to shatter SEO and leave ranking-less all non-mobile-friendly websites. But, so far, Mobilegeddon doesn’t seem to have lived up to the hype. Although the update is still rolling out and hasn’t yet hit every Google data centre, we haven’t seen many changes for our clients. Here’s our two-point summary of the update:


1) It wasn’t a big deal…

2) …but it did hit some bigger sites.

There are a lot of reports of small changes, but Searchmetrics has found some larger ones.





Mobilegeddon: Early Days

google mobilegeddon

It’s very early days into Google’s mobile update. There have been some rumblings online about ranking drops, but not many. The important things to note:

• The full roll-out will take a few weeks, so ranking drops will appear over time
• There isn’t enough data yet to make many meaningful decisions
• Desktop rankings will not be affected
• The update is applied to pages, not entire sites
• Google has a mobile-friendly test:

The bottom line is that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, this update should be one more encouragement to get one, but should you panic? At this point, we don’t have enough data to know.


Google Highlights Mobile Friendly Sites

Mobile results tag

Mobile SEO is taking a leap forward. Google is introducing a “Mobile-friendly” tag when users google from their handheld devices.

This is key because click through rates in organic rankings are a key indicator to Google that it is an important website, and one they should rank higher. We are assuming that their spiders will return values back to the server that indicate mobile focused items such as:

• text size
• use of Flash
• page width
• a mobile specific theme or url

If you haven’t invested in a mobile theme or responsive site, now might be the time to consider it.

Older Posts »