Did you know that the search results can vary if you search auto dealer Detroit from Houston, as opposed to searching auto dealer Detroit when you are actually in Detroit? They do, and this week, I will show you how you get the most accurate results for local searches no matter where you are.

Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’m sharing an awesome little hack that will let you check local search results for any location!

At SearchLab, we work with a lot of automotive groups, and they’re always struggling to check their visibility in search results. Typically, the marketing manager or director is working out of the corporate headquarters – sometimes that’s at an actual dealership, other times it’s just some office building. The problem is that regardless of what query they’re checking, their location is set to the location of their office.

Since local search results take into account the physical location of the person doing the search, that means you’ll get messy results if you’re searching in multiple cities from the same location.

My buddy Darren Shaw from Whitespark shared this cool little trick recently, and it reminded me that most people who aren’t living and breathing Local SEO on the daily probably haven’t heard about it… And I’m positive that auto dealerships have never heard of it.

So today, I’m going to share a quick little trick that will let you spoof your location and see what the search results look like in a different city – but they’ll be the same results you’d get if you were actually in that city.

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out the UULE parameter is for the location you want to search from. The UULE search parameter basically encodes a specific geographic location into your search string.

You’ll need to find an online tool to grab that UULE string. There are a ton of tools that can do this for you, just go search for “UULE generator” on Google. Then, just enter the city and state for the location you want to search from.

For this example, I want to see what shows up when someone searches “Ford dealer” in Detroit. The UULE for Detroit, Michigan is this:

Once you have your UULE string, go to Google and do a search. In this case, you’d search “Ford dealer”. Once the results are displayed, check the actual URL. Ignore everything after the keywords you searched. You’ll see something like this:

Basically, it’ll be google.com/search?Q= and then the keywords you searched, separated by plusses. After the final keyword, delete everything else and replace it with &uule= and the UULE string you copied from the tool you used

For this example, the resulting URL would look like this:
Although obviously, there wouldn’t be a space or a line break; I’m just trying to make it easier to see on the screen. Cause really, if I showed this on the screen, everyone would be complaining)

But a nyway, when you hit enter and search for that string, you’ll see the search results that someone in that location would see. It’s obviously not infallible, since your specific location in a big city would have even more influence – but it’s a much more accurate picture than you’d see if you were just searching for “Ford dealer Detroit”.

It’s also helpful to see what the results look like for people who don’t include a city in their actual search query. And yes, for all of you who are wondering, the results really are different.

Here’s what I see when searching “Ford dealer Detroit” from Plano, Texas:

And here’s what I see when searching “Ford dealer” with a Detroit UULE.

Also, I want to point out the cool option to center in on a specific area. Once you’ve done your search, there’s a link next to the city that lets you choose a different area. When you click it, you’ll see a popup like this that lets you choose a specific local suburb or area, and if you click it, the location is changed again, and you’ll see results for that particular location.

So now you know a sweet little hack to let you check search results in a totally different city without having to include the city in your search query. That’s all the time we have left for this week’s episode, so you know what that means.

Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.