Earlier this week, Google did away with the location search filter which allowed you to manually change location to get better search results. Barry Schwartz wrote an article about this, in which he was notified by a Google spokesperson that this feature was intentionally removed last week because “it was getting very little usage, so we’re focusing on other features.”
I noticed a couple weeks ago this feature disappeared on my browser (and I actually started writing about it), but I wrote it off as an isolated bug because my colleagues we not experiencing the same issue; and following a browser restart, the search location feature reappeared. When I noticed it again yesterday, I had the sudden realization that Google must have been rolling it out, and unfortunately my suspicions were confirmed.
Still Get Location Data Workaround
I am primarily a local SEO, so one of my goals is to get you ranked for important services in important service areas. With the new “update”, I was left completely in the dark on actual local ranking and had a moment of panic. But, then it dawned on me – Google Ad Preview.
Since AdWords needs to have this data available for local targeted ads (a feature that people need to give Google money), we can rest assured that this feature will not likely be gone anytime soon. Just input the desired search term, and change location through the highlighted area on the left… the local results are back! While this method isn’t as easy as it once was, but still having access to this data is very comforting.
Why This is Important to Local SEO
Google claims that:
But I know firsthand that this doesn’t work. I have clients that are found for ‘service’ in a city and not found for ‘service city’. Being found for the main service in the city is generally more powerful as well (i.e being found for ‘Dentist’ in Chicago, or ranking for ‘Dentist Chicago’).