local seo google location

Without telling anyone, google got rid of the ability to filter searches by specific location. Before the change, one was able to click on “Search Tools” within Google and select a location. Doing this rendered results as if you were searching from that location.

This was a handy tool for SEOs and webmasters who wanted to understand how searchers in different locations saw their search results. It would also come in handy for those who were traveling and wanted to get more geo-specific search results in the location they would be traveling to before they arrived.

The feature has been removed. There are several reports of this across the internet, including complaints on social media and in the Google help forums.

Google Location Filtering Is Gone

Here is what we see when we click on the search tools feature:

google location change setting us

No option to filter my results by location.

Here is what we used to see:

google filter by location

Google has removed many of the search filters and tools over the years, so I would not be surprised if this feature was intentionally removed due to lack of use.

Google may have also removed this feature in order to make it harder to reach US search results from outside of the US. With the Right To Be Forgotten law, Google is under more pressure to ensure European searchers do not see US results that may not have been removed from the US results.

A Google spokesperson told Searchengineland.com that this feature was intentionally removed. Google said, “it was getting very little usage, so we’re focusing on other features.”

 

Work Arounds

  • The 1st one is a simple query hack and the very best/easiest IMO.
    It comes via Darren Shaw from Whitespark at the Local Search Pros G+ Community.
    location filtering using near query string

    Darren is not changing query to add “near city”, he’s appending that to the URL string, as I illustrated above.
    For example:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=dentist
    Modified:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=dentist&near=chicago

    Darren: “By adding the near parameter, you are doing the same thing as the old function to set the location.”

    Author’s Note: Testing this method against a service like https://isearchfrom.com/ (mentioned below) produced similar results. Use query strings!

  • The next method involves spoofing your geo-coordinates from within your browser (Apparently Chrome works best) – Although effective (so far) it is pretty time consuming.
    • 1. Enter your search in Google per usual
      2. From the SERP hit Ctrl+Shift+I (this opens Developer Tools)
      3. Make sure you have the “Console” tab visible (if not select the “Console” tab)
      4. Select the Emulation tab
      5. Select “Sensors” from the choices on the left
      6. Check the box next to “Emulate geolocation coordinates” and enter your coordinates
      7. Refresh the SERP page, re-enter your search, or search for other keywords
  • For Firefox Spoofs, there are extensions that will do the trick: Geolocator and Location Guard. (Chrome Version)
  • Next, the service https://isearchfrom.com/ works really well right now. It is setup to test your Adwords Ads but performs the same function that you need here. SEOs may not like this because it doesn’t really scale that easy (vs. query strings that you can create en mass). This tool seems to emulate the Google Ad Preview Tool which also works pretty well.

Thanks for your contributions!