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Different Results in Different States

April 9, 2008

Dear Jill,


Search engine results seem to vary for US states. For instance, one of my clients gets top results while one of my clients from another state doesn't get the same results.

Please let me know what the reason is for this and how to fix it.




++Jill's Response++


Hi Amit,


I'm not sure that I exactly understand your question, as you could be asking 2 different things.


If you're asking why people in different states see different results for the same search query, then my answer to that is that Google is using geo-targeting within their search results. In other words, if you're searching for something that seems to be a local search to them, say a plumber, they will often try to show you plumbers in your particular geographical area, even if you don't specify that you're looking for a plumber in Indiana.


This can even happen if you're looking for a product or service that doesn't necessarily have to be local, such as search engine marketing services.


When this geo-targeting kicks in for any given search query, the search results will be different for nearly everyone who does the search. This is one of the reasons why rankings are such a poor way to measure search marketing success these days. Please read my article, 5 Reasons Why Rankings Are a Poor Measure of Success.


On the other hand, if your question is actually asking why it is that when you optimize for a certain type of business in one state and the same type of business in another state, you can't get them ranked equally as well, then my response is that every website is unique and will have a differing number of competitors in any given region. So while there may be 500 plumbers in Chicago, there may be only 5 in Springfield. It will be a whole lot easier to optimize the Springfield plumber's website than the Chicago plumber's because there will be fewer websites that you're competing with.


Make sense?


I hope that one of my answers provided you with the info you were seeking!