The Removal of Google’s Search Location Filter
Google has recently removed its search location filter (this is December 2015). One the uses for this filter was the ability to change the location of your city. This way you could choose to search from Toronto or from Edmonton and so on, and have the results tailored for that area. The main reason for the removal is that it was getting low use.
What this Means for You
For the average user, they will not notice anything. So you will not notice anything different at all. If you are in Toronto and searching for a restaurant, just typing in restaurant will bring back a list of restaurants in your area.
For my local area in Corner Brook Newfoundland, the initial results for the keyword restaurants are from Google’s local results, and you can click on the more places link to see more results. From there, the organic Search engine results have more sites, not the most helpful seeing one listing for PEI. But this in itself is one of the fallbacks of one keyword search.
What are the current options for location based searches?
For your current location, you can opt to share your location with Google so they can get a more precise idea of where you are. This can help with custom tailoring the results to better suit you. See here for how you can get more info on how to Change your location on Google. Just to give you a heads up, you can’t change your location as you could before via Google.
With the ability to change your city now obsolete, simply adding the city name to that keyword will help you get that result. But most likely this is what you were doing already, and Google also knows this. So if I’m going to be traveling to St. John’s Newfoundland, using the search term restaurants st john’s, I can get a list of potential places I would like to dine at. But really, I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to tell you how to search.
The main users of the Google search location filters are most likely people reporting on keywords for certain city locations and people manually checking for search engine results in other city locations. But even then, those organic ranking reports are not as reliable these days as search results can change from person to person.
Getting your Ranking Data
More and more, people may need to rely on Google Search Console Search Analytics data for their sites ranking. They state average ranking data for that particular keyword as ranking data from one person and also from location to location change.
If you are using a software provide for your rankings, chances are they may have something in place to help accommodate for these changes, to help you with getting some idea of how you may be ranking in a particular area.
So really, for the average user, they will not notice anything different. If you’ve been Googling for some time, changes are you have realize that single keyword searches are not always helpful. Long tail or keyword phrases tend to help narrow down those searches much better as Google has a better idea of what you are looking for.
So, no change for average user, big change for SEO’s reporting on keywords for different locations. Happy Searching!