SEO Tips - How to tell your Local Rank vs your Real Rank

Real Estate Technology with Norcal Web Designs

Google's algorithm is forever trying to find the optimum mix of good local results and quality keyword specific search results. Often times the local results for any given search query will dramatically change from market to market. If you're not aware of this, try performing a search for a keyword on Google. Google will take into account your GPS position and skew the results to provide you the best local information first. Now try performing the same search in a different metro.

Google Searches are Hyper Local, But Changing Metros Isn't Easy

Um, "how do I change my metro for a Google search?" you may be asking. Google took away the ability to easily change the locale of a search quite some time ago. The process to do it now is not as easy as it once was and is now a convoluted journey involving multiple steps.


Local search results verus national search results can be confusing. How can you tell where you really rank?


BrightLocal makes it easy to perform local searches

Not to fear, there are still services you can utilize like BrightLocal which allow you to perform a local search and change the location to see what the results look like in another market.


Let's search for Commercial Real Estate Brokers as a test

In Sacramento, searching Google for "commercial real estate brokers" returns one set of search results. Loopnet comes up #1 in a search for that keyword in my market.


Searching for Commercial Real Estate Brokers in Sacramento produces one set of search results


However, search results as we know vary from market to market, so if I actually want to see who holds the top spot for "Commercial Real Estate Brokers" in New York, NY - I'm going to see a different set of results entirely. I change the location of my search query on BrightLocal and not suprisingly, see something totally different than in my local market.

Bright Local allows you to change the location of your search query to see what keyword position looks like in a different market

Commercial Real Estate Brokers in New York returns a completely different search result on BrightLocal


Odds are, if you've tried this little test, the results you saw on Google in your own local market, to what you saw in a different market are vastly dissimilar. More often than not, Agents and Brokers assume that their #1 rank in their local market is also a #1 rank elsewhere, this couldn't be further from the truth.

See what you look like in other markets using: BrightLocal - Local Rank Search Tool. This tool is the real deal, it's free and gives you tremendous insights as to your local rank in other markets and helps you keep your SEO guy honest.


In order for you to get an accurate assessment of where your website currently ranks for the keywords and search phrases most valuable to your business in a variety of different markets, you need a sophisticated SEO analysis tool like Ahrefs. This analysis tool provides me with a wealth of information such as Domain Rank, Domain Authority, Reputation Score, Backlink Authority, and most valuable Keyword Positioning in a variety of different markets.


I run a digital agency called Here is a keyword search for the term "pool marketing" that I'm tracking in Ahrefs all over the country for just that one term. You can set different locations to see how your search query performs all over the country.

Keyword tracking in Ahrefs


It's easy to get deluded by local ranks and if your web guy is only providing you with one set of stats, it's real easy to assume that your website is performing better than it really is. 


Why do I rank #1 in one market and #37 in another?

When looking at search traffic and your rank it's important not to look at it through rose colored glasses and take an objective and analytical approach to seeing where the shortcomings lie in other markets. Hey we all have them. I built a website for finding Pool Contractors near me that ranks #1 for the keyword Pool Contractor in some markets and on page 2 or 3 in others. It's a struggle we are all going through as we get our content to rank in search - these types of audits are healthy and encourage you to evaluate what is working and what isn't.


How to build local rank authority for the keywords you already rank for:


  1. Local citations and directory listings with a local address - if you don't have one - consider a virtual office.
  2. Basically you want to increase the number of backlinks you have from regional authority from sites like Google, Mapquest, Yellowpages, Yelp.
  3. Create content that has a stronger emphasis on regionality and internally backlink to it within your cornerstone content.

Ok, so that last one involves some forward thinking strategy. Say I have a website that ranks well locally for commercial real estate in Sacramento, but doesn't rank well in New York. The first thing I would do is create a few content pieces that have to do with commercial real estate in new york, and go back to my cornerstone content article that ranked well and add a few links to the articles that I wrote. I would also build backlinks on lower authority websites (DA 20-30) to the articles I wrote as well as the cornerstone article (DA 50-60).


Want more SEO tips and tricks on how to improve your websites search rank? Follow my blog on Sacramento Web Designers or on

Comments (24)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I think I’ve gotten this down to a science. It can be very confusing though. Thanks for the reinforcement. :)

Sep 02, 2020 08:48 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Joe Trusty 
Joined us in April 2020 - and - already featured! 
All the best - Lynn

Sep 02, 2020 09:16 PM
Chris Ivy
Ivy Vine Investments - Memphis, TN
Sell Your House Fast For Cash In Memphis Tennessee


I like this article alot!

Sep 02, 2020 10:26 PM
Joe Trusty

Thanks Chris Ivy , glad you enjoyed it.

Sep 05, 2020 08:13 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Joe Trusty , Congratulations on the feature and you obviously put a lot of time and effort into this blog post that helps us all. How SEO works is not a hobby, it is survival today to not just be on the Internet but found all over the Internet. Look forward to your next installment!

Sep 03, 2020 03:15 AM
Joe Trusty

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573  - SEO is something I like to write about, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Sep 05, 2020 08:56 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Joe Trusty ,

Congratulations on the featured post. Definitely worth the read.....will be watching for future posts and just followed your post so I make sure to see when you post future articles..well done!

Sep 03, 2020 10:17 AM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Lake Sinclair Specialist

if you are not using an incognito window your search history is still taken into account on your results.

Sep 03, 2020 01:14 PM
Joe Trusty

Correct Don Baker , what's weird is even in incognito sometimes it seems to hold on to the cookies and cached settings. 

Sep 05, 2020 08:58 PM
Steve Keighery
Home Buyer Louisiana - New Orleans, LA

I knew the results were different but didn't know how to check. Thanks for sharing. Keep the content coming. 

Sep 03, 2020 02:57 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Wow - that's one fact I never knew. I assumed that home buyers in New York saw exactly what I see in my market. 

It does get complicated . . .

Sep 03, 2020 03:54 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great stuff, this was news to me but it makes a lot of sense. I think I have to read this again. Thanks for the tip on BrightLocal and Ahrefs!



Sep 03, 2020 08:09 PM
Joe Trusty

Glad you enjoyed it Jeff Dowler, CRS 

Sep 05, 2020 08:58 PM
Gregory Manns
HomeSmart Elite Group - Palm Springs / La Quinta, CA - Indio, CA
Palm Springs Area Realtor with HomeSmart Elite

Thank you Joe for this valuable information, much appreciated. -Greg

Sep 03, 2020 09:10 PM
Joe Trusty

Glad you enjoyed it Gregory Manns 

Sep 05, 2020 08:59 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Welcome to Active Rain, hope you will benefit from the interaction on this platform... we gave up on Google rankings ten years ago when the Z bought the platform:)Endre

Sep 03, 2020 10:17 PM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525


Great post and a well deserved feature. 
Have bookmarked for ready future reference.  Thanks for the very substantive content.

Sep 04, 2020 12:33 AM
Joe Trusty

Kris Collis, Associate Broker , you're welcome - glad you got some good take aways.

Sep 05, 2020 08:59 PM
Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Phone Direct 240-506-2434 | 301-681-0550 office - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Joe, thanks for sharing this info about SEO. We're all trying to get our names to come up high in the search. 

Sep 04, 2020 05:59 AM
Joe Trusty

Barbara Michaluk , you're welcome. Achieving good SEO can be elusive and is both parts alchemy AND science I've come to find. 

Sep 05, 2020 09:03 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Joe Trusty - thanks for sharing this info. 

Sep 04, 2020 11:24 AM
Ellie Horrell

Thanks for the informative information!
You have helped me a lot with my grademiners review , about how to develop in SEO.
In addition, I wrote down a couple of ideas for my future job

Sep 06, 2020 02:23 PM
Ellie Horrell

Thanks for the informative information!
You have helped me a lot with my , about how to develop in SEO.
In addition, I wrote down a couple of ideas for my future job

Sep 06, 2020 02:25 PM
Richard Baker

Of course, local rank differs from the main, and you should always pay attention to that rank that is more important for your website. For my local online shop my local rank is very important, that's why I always choose the keywords which are proper for my region here This tool helps me understand which keywords will be better for my website in the region my shop covers. And it is also convenient that you can check keywords by 5 search engines.

Jun 29, 2021 03:15 AM