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Is rank tracking by zip code an effective way to measure Local SEO success?

By September 18, 2019Wednesday Workshop


If you’re measuring the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns via rank tracking by zip code, you’re not alone; but doing this will not help you see accurate results. In this week’s video, we break down why this is the case, and what a good measure of success looks like.


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. 

Many of us are guilty of this, and maybe you are, too: have you ever checked how your website ranks organically in a particular zip code?

This may seem like a good way to evaluate the success of your local SEO efforts; but it doesn’t really provide an accurate depiction of your search visibility. 

Today, we are going to dig into why you should not check your search rankings by zip code.

In the past, when local factors were not included in Google’s algorithm, it was perfectly acceptable to track SEO success based on how your website ranked in search for particular keyword queries.

While this can still be a useful way to estimate search visibility, it’s only part of the puzzle. 

Now, search engines include proximity as a local ranking factor; especially in places like Google My Business and Google Maps. 

The trouble with this, however, is that Google and other search engines do not consider zip codes when determining local results.

If you’re a faithful follower of our videos, it probably isn’t news to you that proximity and distance are used as a ranking factor. 

In fact, Google only mentions three things that determine local ranking: Relevance, Distance and Prominence. Zip codes are never even considered!

So, why is this the case?

First of all, proximity makes it very difficult to estimate search rankings by zip code. 

This is because you can perform a search from two different points in the same zip code and get very different sets of results; especially in industries (like automotive) in which there are often several competitors in the same area.

Long story short, when serving up results, search engines do not care about what zip code you’re searching from. They only care about how far away you are from a local business.

So, how do you truly estimate the effectiveness of your SEO efforts?

We recommend the use of tools that scan many proximity points, instead of just one. 

This type of reporting can be much more accurate in regard to your search visibility, and will help you accurately identify which keywords need to be tweaked in your on-page optimizations. 

We like tools like, Local Falcon and Places Scout.  

That’s all the time we have left for today’s workshop. As always, if you have questions or comments, leave ‘em down below, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next week with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Kelcey Drapp

Kelcey Drapp is an SEO Manager working at DealerOn since 2015, and in the digital space for nearly a decade. Kelcey enjoys digging deep into SEO research to discover the 'why,' and helping clients realize their potential for success online. In addition to her work in local SEO, Kelcey also likes to volunteer her digital marketing skills for non-profits in need. When Kelcey is not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, son, & three dogs.

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