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Tracking Your Results

Chapter 9

It’s time-consuming and frustrating to track rankings manually. Thankfully, you can use third-party tools to help make the task easier.

For this section, we’ll use BrightLocal. It’s a paid tool and comes with a 14-day trial. You can use this trial period to get a sense of your results.

Of course, if you can’t afford this tool, that’s not a problem. You can always complete the tasks manually and track the results in a spreadsheet.

In any case, let’s review how you can do this using Brightlocal.

Go to BrightLocal and create your free account and then once inside, go to this page.

On this page, set up your local search ranking report by filling in details such as:

    • Name of the report
    • Location: city wherein you want to track ranking.
    • Frequency: how frequently you want the tool to run the information for you.

Here is a quick screenshot to show how to set it up:

Enter the details in the given fields.

    • Search terms or the keywords you want to track– an example might include ‘pest control ‘your location.’ So ‘pest control Miami.’
    • Website URL
    • Country and location
    • Search engines you want results for

Configure email alerts setting (optional):  If you want to receive an email alert whenever the tool generates a new ranking report and it is ready for analysis.

  • Set ‘Do you want to receive an email when this report is completed?’ to Yes.
  • Enter your email address. The tool allows you to add up to 5 email addresses.

Click on ‘Add Report.’

Once you set up rank tracking for your target keywords, the next thing is to delve into the data.

Login to your BrightLocal account and go to Tools > Rank Checker

You see the ranking data for all your tracked keywords on this page.

It tracks your keywords ranking in:

  • Google Desktop
  • Google Mobile
  • Google Map Packs

Below, you’ll see an example of the data returned. This can be difficult to break down, so let’s dig into this chart to see what each section means.

All the keywords that you add to the tool for tracking.

Column 2: Count

It shows the exact number of times people search for the same keyword and the location together per month in Google.

E.g., Fewer than ten people search for ‘Natural Pest Control Miami’ in the Miami area.

Columns 3, 4, and 5: Google, Mobile, Maps

  • Rank: It is the current position for your business for that keyword in Google Search, Google Mobile, and Google Map Packs.
  • Change: It shows the difference in the ranking (compared to the last time) of your business for a given keyword.
    • An upward arrow in green shows an increase in the ranking, and the downward arrow in red is for a drop in the order.
    • If there is no change, you see a grey dot.

    Continuous improvement in your keyword rankings is a sign your local SEO strategy is working well. In this chart, that’d probably mean you have more ‘green’ arrows than ‘red’ ones.

    If your rankings follow a downward trend or remain stagnant, your local SEO strategy needs a review.

    Tracking Internal Metrics

    You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your internal metrics. This might include the number of phone calls you receive daily or monthly. It might also have changes in revenue within your business.

    If you can do this, you’ll be able to monitor how your local SEO campaign impacts your actual bottom line.

    How Long Does It Take to Rank on Google’s First Page?

    In an ideal world, your pest control business would hit Google’s first page from the very first day.

    Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

    There are only a few spots, 13 to be precise. Hundreds (if not thousands) of other pest control businesses in your location are fighting for the 13 spots.

    These are:

    • Three map pack rankings
    • Ten organic rankings

    Multiple factors affect how long it’ll take for you to rank on the first page.

    Let’s explore these scenarios and the associated ‘ranking timelines.’

    Scenario 1 – When your pest control business website is brand new

    Suppose you’ve just set up a brand new website.

    How long would will it take before you achieve a top 13 ranking?

    Before we come up with an answer, you need to figure out if your business is in a competitive location or a ‘non-competitive’ location.

    How do you know whether your business is in a competitive location?

    Well, multiple factors play a role in the competitiveness of a location.

    These are:

    • The number of other related businesses in your region. You can generally determine this by the size of the city you’re in. Being in a large city often means a lot of competitors.
    • Difficulty score of the keyword you are targeting. The higher the score, the more competitive your location is.

    To know the difficulty score of a keyword:

      • Go to
      • Enter your keyword and set your language/country. E.G., Keyword = pest control Miami and language/country = English/United States.
      • Click on the ‘Search’ button. That’s it.

    From an SEO perspective, the keyword difficulty of this keyword is 37.

    • #of pest control businesses operating in your city competing for the same 13 positions ( 3 in map packs and 10 in organic).

    Note: If the keyword difficulty scores for your targeted keyword are:

    1. 30 or fewer, which means you are in a less-competitive location.
    2. Ranges between 31-60; that means you are in a mid-high competitive location
    3. Above 60, you are in a highly competitive location

    Now we know how to check the competitiveness of a place, let’s dive deeper into each sub-scenarios.

    Your business is operating in a competitive location –

    Your business is operating in a non-competitive location

    Most experts say it’ll take 3-6 months to see significant improvements in your search engine rank.

    What does this all mean:

    If your competition uses local SEO, you’ll face more of an uphill battle to achieve the rankings you want.

    But, the good news is that if your pest control site is brand new, you can realistically compete within 6-9 months, provided you do everything required.

    Scenario 2 – When your pest control business has an existing website with some optimization

    Suppose you have a website that doesn’t rank well in the search listings or the map pack. Let’s also assume you have done minimal optimization to your site.

    How long will your website take to see significant ranking improvement in this scenario?

    Similar to scenario 1, let’s dive deeper and look into the sub-scenarios for scenario two.

    Your business is operating in a competitive location

    Your business is operating in a non-competitive location

    What does this all mean?

    The bottom line – It is easier to rank for a brand new business than the one having some optimization done with issues. Strange, but true.

    Scenario 3 – When your pest control business has an existing website with poor optimization

    This scenario is quite similar to the previous one, with the only difference being that you have a poorly optimized site here.

    You have low-quality links and inconsistent NAP across the website, Google My Business (GMB), and citations.

    You may find yourself in this position if you followed a poor local SEO guide in the past. Or if you hired someone who did a lousy job establishing a local SEO presence for your business.

    So, how long will your website take to see significant ranking improvement in this scenario?

    Your business is operating in a competitive location

    Most experts say it takes more than six months to rank well locally.

    Your business is operating in a non-competitive location

    What does this all mean?

    In a competitive location, a poorly optimized site can take six months for good rankings.

    However, in a non-competitive location, 83% think a business can achieve significant ranking in 6 months, with the majority voting for a 3-6 month time frame.

    94% of experts believe six months is a good enough time for a brand-new site.

    Scenario 4 – When your pest control business site is hit with a penalty

    A penalty is a form of punishment by Google for websites trying to dupe search engines and people using unethical SEO practices.

    This could include buying links or ‘stuffing’ your pages with keywords.

    If your website gets penalized by Google, it doesn’t appear in search engines for any keywords, not even for branded keywords.

    A Google penalty can come as a result of the following things:

    1. A new algorithm update. It is also known as an automatic penalty, and you don’t get a notification from Google if you are hit by it.
    2. A manual review of a site by Google. Unlike the first type, you get a notification if you get a manual penalty.

    If you’ve enlisted someone else to do any SEO work for you in the past, or you’ve done some of your own, you must check whether you have any penalties. Especially if you currently have a website that’s extremely difficult to find in the search listings.

    By making these preliminary checks, you can ensure anything you do to improve your local SEO results isn’t going to waste.

    Recognizing a Penalty

    As mentioned earlier, there are two types of penalties – manual and automatic.

    With a manual penalty, Google notifies you inside your Google Search Console account.

    To check, log in to your Google Search Console account and select the website property (in case you have multiple sites added)

    On the left side panel, go to ‘Manual actions >> Manual actions,’ and you will see a similar screen:

    With an ‘automatic correction, you don’t get receive a notification.

    Some abnormal patterns indicate that you might have an automatic penalty:

      • A sudden drop in ranking for the keywords you were ranking in the past.
      • Your website no longer shows up for even the branded keywords, such as those associated with your business’s name.
      • You don’t see any results when you run the site search using the string.
      • A sudden drop in website traffic.

    Now that we know about the Google penalty, let’s look at how long it can take to recover from a penalty.

    The same experts, who shared their opinion on the first three scenarios, were asked to share their views on penalty recovery.

    Once your website overcomes the penalty, your primary focus is on starting ranking again.

    The question that pops up here is –

    Once Google uplifts the penalty, how long does it take before your rankings return to the pre-penalty level?

    So, if you happen to get a penalty, it can hurt your business, and it can be incredibly frustrating. But, if you go about things the right way, there is a way back.

    Up Next…

    10. Final Thoughts And The Way Forward