Home Forums Local SEO Tools Accuracy of BrightLocal's ranking reports

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Chris Ratchford Chris Ratchford 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #14124
    Chris Ratchford
    Chris Ratchford
    Participant

    For the past 6 years I’ve been using BrightLocal for SEO Check Ups (I call them local SEO snapshots, which I use for prospective clients) and the Ranking Reports.

    I just ran a RR for an ortho client in Louisville KY and according to my client, she claims the rankings are wrong. I asked her to open her browser in incognito to verify. For example, according to BL, her site ranks #2 in the 3 pack for “Orthodontist Louisville KY”; but she says those results are way off.

    I know not to get too focused on ranking reports, as the best a better way to track is to use call tracking… but I’d like to be able to explain to clients why there’s such a large discrepancy.

    #14125

    Darren Shaw
    Participant

    Hi Chris,

    It’s not BrightLocal. It’s not the client. It’s not you. It’s Google. Ranking reports are always “wrong”.

    Here’s an excerpt from a post I recently published:

    what a rank tracking system reports, and what a person searching on their own computer sees, will be different, EVERY time. This is because rankings in Google (and Bing) are in constant flux and they vary depending on a number of factors:

    1. Location
    2. Time
    3. Device
    4. Browser
    5. Search history

    If a person was searching at that exact location, at that exact moment in time, and with the exact same device/browser, and the exact same IP-based search history, then sure, they should see the exact same results. But, those variables are never the same. Just the time factor is enough to make ranking reports “inaccurate” because the rank tracker probably crawled the search results at 3am and you’re now looking at them at 1pm, or even days or weeks later. What a rank tracking system reports is always going to be slightly different from what a person sitting in the city sees when they search for the term.

    Check out the post for more info.

    Hope this helps.

    Darren

    #14126

    Mary Bowling
    Keymaster

    I love Darren’s answer!

    Here’s another one from Rand: https://moz.com/blog/ranking-fluctuations

    #14127

    Mary Bowling
    Keymaster

    You may also get some insight from the business’ Google Search Console. It has some kind of average ranking it shows, although I don’t know how its determined.

    #14128

    Joel Headley
    Moderator

    Search console is tough to discuss with clients, because it doesn’t give a sense of competition. So, we had one individual that was #1 for [chiropractor chicago], but had ~20 impressions for a time period that included tens of thousands of searches. But they anchor to the “I’m #1 for my term” so quickly, it’s hard to roll back from that.

    #14129

    Darren Shaw
    Participant

    Average rank and competitor tracking is coming to the Whitespark Local Rank Tracker within two weeks. Woo!

    #14130

    Joy Hawkins
    Moderator

    What are you using as the location that the ranking report is searching from? If you’re using the city, that’s probably the issue. Always scan from the zip code and it tends to be more accurate.

    Also – an incognito session can still have history on it.

    I would ask her to search “where am I located” on Google and send you the result so you can set your tracker to the location she is in. We used to deal with State Farm agents all the time back at Imprezzio and Google always had them as being in Bloomington, IL regardless of where they were physically located because their IP address was there when they connected to the State Farm intranet.

    #14131
    Chris Ratchford
    Chris Ratchford
    Participant

    Awesome responses- thanks!

    I should have mentioned in my original post that the reason for concern was the discrepancy of rankings. BL has the client ranking #2, but when she searches, it’s not even in the top 20 results.

    @Joy- I use the zip code (40241) when I setup the RR in BrightLocal, which I confirmed is the location at the bottom of the SERP.

    #14132

    Joy Hawkins
    Moderator

    Was the report ran today? I believe there was an algorithm update in the last week that impacted the local results.

    If she is not seeing herself at all it’s most likely she’s filtered.

    Did you ask her what her location is when she searches that on Google? Her IP address could be causing Google to have her located somewhere other than where she really is.

    #14133
    Chris Ratchford
    Chris Ratchford
    Participant

    Yes- I ran the report today.

    If she is not seeing herself at all it’s most likely she’s filtered.

    Are you referring to her Google listing being filtered? I’m not sure I understand why she’d get filtered, unless she had a dup listing… but I checked via Pleper and by searching on Google Maps (search nearby) and haven’t found any dup listings.

    #14134

    Joy Hawkins
    Moderator

    Businesses get filtered because of nearby locations that are in the same industry. In the Expert’s Guide to Local SEO, go to page 2 of the Table of Contents to section 3.b called “The Local Filter” and there are several pages that talk about how it works and what you should do if your business is filtered. If you have questions about it, just let me know 🙂

    #14140
    Chris Ratchford
    Chris Ratchford
    Participant

    Well I’ll be damned… the results are CORRECT. I had my client check from her home and she’s ranked #2 in local/maps for our primary keywords.

    http://www.local-marketing-reports.com/ranking-reports/0c28ffa8cff4c7fefdaabbdee5444b68624c669c/691057/view#/

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