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Local Search Emulator & UULE Generator

Does your business target multiple locations? Would you like to monitor and compare your Google search results from multiple places? If you are doing Local SEO, it is critical to have the ability to see Google search results from specific locations. This information provides tremendous insight into what is showing up in Google results for different locations and allows you to monitor regional competitors.  This data is a critical part of an effective SEO strategy. One of the best options for assessing local search performance is by using a UULE code (pronounced you-lee). Once you have the correct code for a location, it is possible to emulate a local search. These codes are easy to use and should be part of every Local SEO tool kit. A UULE can specify a point on the globe with resolution as specific as a street address or as broad as a whole country. We have found that for most SEO purposes, Zip code or city-level granularity is more than adequate. Our new tool—which is live in this post—makes it simple for you to emulate a local search for any U.S. zip code or any city or address in the world. This tool will generate a UULE code based on what you enter and can perform a local search for a keyword. You can then click to copy the UULE code or the full search URL.

For a breakdown of how this works, we used Google to search for “restaurants near me” and got the following URL:

https://www.google.com/search?q=restaurants+near+me

Then, we entered the Zip code 19119 into our UULE generator and the tool produced the following UULE code:

&uule=w+CAIQICIgMTkxMTksUGVubnN5bHZhbmlhLFVuaXRlZCBTdGF0ZXM=&cr=countryUS

When the search URL and the UULE are combined and pasted into a browser address bar, the results showed a local box as well as organic impressions for restaurants in the northwest part of Philadelphia.

The full search URL is:

https://www.google.com/search?q=restaurants+near+me&uule=w+CAIQICIgMTkxMTksUGVubnN5bHZhbmlhLFVuaXRlZCBTdGF0ZXM=&cr=countryUS

UULE GENERATOR

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The Accuracy of UULE Codes

Proximity is the top Local SEO ranking factor. There are other factors too (e.g. reviews), but generally speaking, the distance between you and the closest places that meet your search criteria is the most important ranking factor. UULE codes are not as precise as geo coordinates, but they can be used to get search results in the general proximity of a location.

UULE Codes for Google Geotarget Locations

Google publishes a list of geotargets to allow for location targeting of ads to specific regions around the globe. As of March 3, 2020, this list contains 102,059 records for locations around the world. It is important to note that each record in Google’s Geotarget list has a unique UULE code. The United States has the greatest number of locations (55,428) followed by Germany, France, and the Netherlands. This utility makes a UULE code available for each location on Google’s Geotarget list.

Information About U.S. Geotargets

Google categorizes records in its Geotarget list by Target Types. For the United States, there are 15 Target Types as shown in the table below. 

  Target Type Record Count
1. Postal Code 33352
2. City 16423
3. County 3098
4. Neighborhood 1510
5. Congressional District 436
6. Airport 174
7. University 169
8. Municipality 129
9. National Park 57
10. State 51
11. Borough 24
12. Region 2
13. City Region 1
14. Country 1
15. District 1

It is possible to emulate a search by zip code, city, within an airport, inside a national park, or any of the other Target Types. Still, there are overlaps in locations. For instance, the Geotarget list has a record for the city of Southampton, PA and also has a record for the zip code 18966, which is the zip code for Southampton, PA. Consequently, a search for “food near me” using the Southampton zip code UULE will return the following map:

Map of South Hampton, Pennsylvania

Since two other townships use the same zip code, these results are more general and based on the center of three townships. Using the same search term with the Southampton city UULE, the results show restaurants in downtown Southampton:

Map of UULE local search

It is also important to note that Google does not have zip code records in their Geotarget list for many downtown areas of large U.S. cities. For example, Chicago has 29 center city zip codes that are all under one city geotarget.

UULE codes are a powerful tool to test local search results and we hope our new tool will make it easier for you to use them. That said, you should always finish by comparing an actual local search to the UULE test results.

About The Author
Bob Scavilla

Bob Scavilla

With 35+ years of experience in technology and business, Bob is an expert programmer, software engineer, and digital marketer. Read More
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