A local SERP tracking strategy is an SEO essential, and the Metropolitan search pattern is here to help you get hyper-local.
In our recently released guide, Strategies for local SERP tracking, you’ll find seven patterns of local search that factor in device, location services, geo-modification, and intent.
These search patterns then translate directly into tracking patterns — because tracking the same factors used in a search helps you target the searcher’s specific needs. Here, we’ll give you the lowdown on the Metropolitan search pattern and what it has to offer.
The defining feature of this search pattern is a geo-modified query that contains hyper-local terms like neighbourhoods, boroughs, intersections, and addresses.
We’ll explore how searchers perform the Metropolitan pattern, who should track it, how you can take full advantage of it, and the final piece of the local search puzzle you need in order to be successful.
The search scenario
The Metropolitan searcher is looking for convenience and is ready to convert.
We can say this with a high degree of certainty because of the equally high degree of specificity in the search query. The more precise the geo-modification, the stronger the local intent signal becomes and the more likely the searcher is to visit the shop, restaurant, museum, or whatever they’re looking up.
“Each query signals how likely the searcher intends to buy or do something locally.”
Depending on the vertical being searched, it’s also likely this person is searching with a sense of immediacy — they’re looking for right now. This pattern usually lends itself well to a mobile device, though it could just as easily be performed on a desktop computer.
An example would be someone hanging out in the Spinningfields neighbourhood of Manchester, England. It’s late at night, they have kebabs on their mind, and would prefer not to venture more than five blocks if possible.
Who should track this pattern?
As a tracking strategy, the Metropolitan is super important for industries or verticals that focus on large metropolitan markets and are highly location-dependent, including spontaneous or small-ticket purchases (coffee, sandwiches), urgent or convenience services (emergency dentists, bank machines), and events (movies, live music).
This pattern can also involve short-distance searches, like in the case of commuters who are actively searching as they move through a large city.
Geo-location and device type
Before we tackle the main differentiating factor of the Metropolitan — hyper-local geo-modification — we first need to touch on geo-location, which helps lay the groundwork for it.
Geo-location is essentially synonymous with the familiar notion of “location services”. The search provider leverages data supplied by the device to help serve up relevant, local information without the user having to manually modify their search.
“The deliberate modification of a search query gives crystal ball-like insight into what the searcher really wants.”
We say that geo-location is a “maybe” for the Metropolitan because, as we mentioned above, the search can be performed on either a mobile or desktop device, both of which are equipped with different flavours of location services.
Mobile devices, like smartphones, are usually located with data related to GPS and cell towers, while tablets, laptops, and desktops do their best to locate you with Wi-Fi nodes and IP addresses.
And since each device type locates the searcher with varying levels of precision, users often lend a helping hand by manually modifying their search query when necessary — or “geo-modifying.”
When it comes to local search, it goes without saying (though we’ll say it anyway) that you should be SERP tracking in every city that your business is located. But with device type and geo-location limitations in mind, if you want to make the best use of local data and take full advantage of this search pattern, you need to get even more local than that.
In dense metropolitan areas, searchers will attempt to narrow local results by using hyper-local search terms like the names of streets, avenues, districts, or boroughs — the searcher knows better than their device about the kind of local results that they want.
For example, bringing back our kebab-craving searcher in Spinningfields, typing [best kebabs in Manchester] into their smartphone probably isn’t going to cut it for them. Despite the geo-location at work on their phone, Google has to contend with whether they mean the Greater Manchester Area or its city centre.
Since they’re in the (very large) city centre of Manchester, specifying the neighbourhood they find themselves in would expedite their kebab-buying endeavour — they’re more likely to query [best kebabs in Spinningfields] to get to the nearest late-night kebab, lickety-split.
So, if you happen own a chain of kebab shops within the city of Manchester (and you’re vigilant about being found online), not only is SERP tracking in each of your neighbourhoods essential, so is building out geo-modified keyword lists that contain each of those locations.
the other part of the market equation
Obviously the location of a person is important for tracking local SEO, but when it comes to search, people are more than the place they’re standing. They’re also the language they’re searching with. If you aren’t SERP tracking the linguistic side of your locale, then you’ve only got one half of the local search equation down. Remember: market = country + language.
Imagine, for instance, that you’re a growing coffee chain in Riga, Latvia, and want to hook a commuter on the hunt for their morning jolt of caffeine.
When searching for coffee shops with branded and non-branded queries, many of your customers will include a specific part of the city, a street name, or an intersection in their search to limit the results for convenience.
To hit these people, you would want to build out extensive keyword sets around coffee — kafija in Latvian, kava in Lithuanian, кофе in Russian — and other coffee-shop requisites like tea and baked goods, that include those hyper-local terms, in all three of these languages. Phew!
As you can imagine, this equips you with an exhaustive list of search terms for your metropolitan market. After tracking these for a day or two, you can immediately start culling your list based on search volume, leaving you with a more manageable list of keywords that people are actually searching with.
But wait! There’s more!
If your curiosity’s piqued and you’re hungry for more, download the full STAT Guide: Strategies for local SERP tracking. You’ll get the six other local search patterns in all their glory, and a more in-depth look at how local and mobile work together.STAT guide(PDF)
For our sixth and final installment of this local search series, we’ll be taking on the International.
Want pin-point local results from any state, province, city, postal code, and ZIP — heck, even any neighbourhood? Say hello and request a demo!