Google airport ranks and the new levels of local SEO rank tracking in 2018

Let’s say you just landed at New York’s JFK Airport and you’re logged in to their WiFi. While you’re waiting for your luggage (that may or may not have been lost), you need to kill some time, so you decide to open your friendly neighborhood technological eye of providence – Google. This is your first time in New York, and you’re searching for a good hotel to stay at, a few places to eat, and some landmarks or cool locations to visit. No matter what you decide to search for, the SERP you will see from that airport will be completely unique and different from the one you’ll see outside of it. And not only that, it’ll be uniquely tailored to the device you use to search. If that doesn’t make the case for local and mobile SEO, we don’t know what does.

New York airports combined get a total of 11 million visitors a month, and it’s reasonable to assume most of those visitors will Google something at some point from inside the airport. Niches such as restaurants, hotels, tour companies, bars, and tourist spots are all possible fields of interest for these visitors. Just think of all the different businesses that will benefit by ranking highly in an airport.

The fact of the matter is, Google knows you’re at the airport before you decide to turn on that WiFi and even before you switch off airplane mode, so it’s virtually impossible to escape personalized local search results. Does this sound unbelievable? You should check out our full story about it and see just how advanced Google has become as far as tracking your location is concerned:

SERP tracking in a post-privacy world: How Google knows your location virtually at all times

Let’s say you’re optimizing a travel agency’s website that will benefit from ranking high on Google in the airport. How can you know how well your website ranks there without physically traveling to the airport and checking it from the airport yourself?

Unfortunately, most SERP trackers on the market will only show you a general rank for the entire US – just an assessment of the rank most people from the United States see. Depending on the method of rank tracking being used, it can be way off the mark and pretty much useless if you’re doing any targeted local SEO and want to know your ranks for specific locations. Luckily, the solution is simple – use PRT’s Exact Location Rank Tracking feature. PRT has the highest rank tracking resolution on the market currently, and we can show you how well any website ranks INSIDE that airport:

Rank tracking resolution is a SERP tracker’s ability to track as many precise locations on the planet as possible. Having high RTR is one of the key requirements for SEO in 2018, and you should read more about it here if you are not yet familiar with the subject:

Rank Tracking Resolution (RTR): one of the most important SEO topics to know about

Now let’s address the mobile ranking aspect of that airport. As we’ve mentioned on many occasions in the blog, mobile ranks are different than desktop ranks. Here’s proof:

Desktop vs. mobile Google ranks for the same keyword in the same location


In this case, most of the visitors will likely be googling from their mobile phones (and a few will be using their laptops), so ranking high on mobile is key, especially if we consider Google’s mobile-first indexing approach. Websites that aren’t properly optimized for mobile might not even appear in the SERP in that airport, effectively making them non-existent for most of the airport visitors.

It’s important to note that the SERP is populated differently depending on what mobile OS the person is using, which is why PRT can also tell those rank types apart:

The most common choice is adding Android and iPhone

The next important things to talk about are Snack Pack and top 100 map ranks. These are the most powerful and beneficial SERP features for local businesses. It’s those map results we often see if we search for a service or business:

Based on the nature of most searches in our example, people will almost certainly see Snack Pack, and it will be very relevant for them because of the map. Snack Pack often shows up on top of the regular organic results, giving businesses listed there several advantages. People can see where things are physically located to better plan their trip, and they can see reviews, pictures and relevant information about the place such as a phone number and working hours. The beauty of Snack Pack is it can drive real physical traffic to a place, and not just web traffic. Businesses that rank below the leaders but have good reviews and eye-candy pics might easily win versus websites that rank above them organically. So how do you track those Snack Pack positions? With PRT’s Snack Track feature:

Don’t forget to add the name of the business the way it is listed in Snack Pack as well!

Local Finder is for tracking the top 100 results that are shown if you click “more places” below the Snack Pack window. We have an entire blog post dedicated just to Snack Pack and its immense value for SEO:

So ideally, adding a keyword and website for tracking should look something like this and include all the elements we mentioned above:

Tracking your Google ranks as accurately as possible for the most relevant locations, with device types in mind, is the future-proofed way to monitor SEO campaigns. To read about all the rank tracking types that are currently needed, here is the full breakdown:

The airport is just an example, of course, and you can apply this to any other local SEO scenario. Refined local rank tracking for local SEO is the proper way to monitor your progress in 2018. You don’t necessarily need to rank high across the entire USA, you just need to be visible for your targeted area. A pizza place only needs to concern itself with the search result people in the delivery area see. An e-commerce website that ships only to the US might need to know how they rank in several key locations across the country. Big brands can really take it to the extreme and track thousands of different locations across the world to see an accurate picture of their dominance. The important thing is that you have access to a tool that can handle those ranking types.

Businesspeople searching Google for a fancy restaurant while at the airport. A restaurant that shows on Snack Pack, did proper local and mobile SEO, might win some customers!

PRT is a full-scope SERP tracker designed specifically for SEO professionals of all skill levels – from beginners to huge agencies with teams of experts. All our features in the entire rank tracker can be white labeled. Fully updated to 2018 industry standards, PRT provides 100% accurate rank tracking on all major search engines (not just Google) for our 50,000 users.

No auto-renewal traps or credit cards required! PRT is the only SERP tracker on the market that offers a genuinely free plan with almost all features available for you to try. Not a 14-day trial that will auto-renew at cost, but a real free plan with NO time limit. Give it a try today!

After you’ve seen the difference it makes to use PRT, recommend it to others through our Affiliate Promotion, and get them on board with real accurate rank tracking.