Local Search Optimization with DevTools Geolocation

I’ll go ahead and admit it: Google Chrome’s Developer Tools can be intimidating to work with, especially if you’re not familiar with navigating the console. However, after becoming more familiar with DevTools, I’ve discovered there are many useful tools and applications for search engine optimization. In this post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at one particular feature of DevTools: Geolocation.

DevTools Geolocation

Chrome’s geolocation is as simple as its name. Google Chrome automatically detects your location and serves up local search results. Included in these local results is often a Google Maps integration, complete with descriptions, reviews, and more. This is extremely valuable information for users completing local and hyperlocal organic searches. From a different perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity to improve the overall search appearance and visibility of a local business.
So let’s walk through working with the Geolocation feature in DevTools and discuss several useful applications for local SEO.

Setting a Custom Geolocation in Chrome

Allow me to set the scene. There is an entrepreneur from Denver, Colorado that has just opened a new coffee shop in the city. The coffee shop seems to attract general foot traffic in the city, but is still missing out on some opportunity to grow a larger audience and customer base. The entrepreneur decides to take it upon himself (and his above average web skills) to better understand the local market and grow the online presence of his coffee shop. Let’s walk through how he might use a custom geolocation in Google Chrome to analyze how his coffee shop is performing in local search.

  1. Open the Developer Tools console in your Chrome window. Navigate to the Customize and Control DevTools menu on the far left side (see below). Select Sensors, located in the More Tools section.DevTools Sensors
  2. Select Custom Location in the Geolocation dropdown.
    DevTools Custom Location
  3. Enter Latitude and Longitude Coordinates for the desired location.
    Latitude and Longitude
  4. Perform a search relevant to your local business, e.g. “Coffee Shops.”Local SERPs
  5. Look at the Local Results. Is your business among them? If your business is among these results, congrats! Your business has great search visibility and appearance in that local area. If your business is not among these listings, consider some of the optimization opportunities listed above to improve the local search visibility of your business’s website and local business listing.

SEO Applications for DevTools Geolocation

There are several ways setting a custom geolocation can help a business’s local SEO efforts. Let’s go back to our coffee shop example and see how the young entrepreneur can improve the local SEO appearance of his coffee shop by using DevTools Geolocation.

Auditing a Google My Business Listing

DevTools Geolocation allows you to check how local business listings are appearing for any location in the world. This is extremely valuable for a local business owner to be able to ensure their Google My Business listing contains accurate information and is fully optimized for search. This may include adding a detailed, keyword optimized description that includes a call to action.
Local Business Listing

Checking Rich Snippets Results

DevTools Geolocation can be used to perform a search to check and monitor a local business’s rich snippet results. In the scenario of a coffee shop, it may be useful to ensure Reviews and Ratings are showing correctly, and that they are representing the business in a favorable manner. Earning rich snippets has the ability to greatly improve the online presence of a local business.

Local Business Reviews

Monitoring Google Maps Appearance

Google has been continuing to improve the Google Maps integration into Chrome by adding more features, capabilities, etc. This has created a need for local businesses to monitor their appearance in Google Maps to stay competitive in local search. Optimizing your Google Maps presence may include ensuring your photos are high-quality and descriptions include all details and features of your business. For instance, the coffee shop would want to show up for several Google Maps categories as seen below.


Local Map
Google Maps IntegrationCompetitor Analysis

One of the most important applications of using DevTools Geolocation is using it for competitor analysis and research. Take a look at how your business stacks up against other competitors in local search, and optimize your business’s appearance to stand out. This may include anything from product and service offerings to Google Maps listings and reviews. Having a better understanding of the local competition will ultimately help a local business differentiate themselves.
Local Competitor Analysis


Give it a Try!

DevTools Geolocation is a powerful way to analyze local search. It gives people the ability to search as a local anywhere in the world. This can be extremely useful when optimizing a website’s local search appearance, and can be used by anyone from a business owner to an SEO agency (like UpBuild).

Give DevTools Geolocation a try and let us know how it’s useful for you in the comments below.

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