an seo woman looking at locations on a map

How to Change Google Search Location For Local Results

Local search is the name of the game in local online marketing.

In fact, proximity to location is the number one ranking factor for local SEO. You have probably spent a lot of time on getting your clients to rank for their areas.

But how do you check the result in another area?

I get this questions a lot: how do I localize google search results or search google from another city?

At the end of 2015, Google removed the ability for users to search different areas easily.

Fortunately, there are ways to get around this issue.

In this post, I will explain what the change is. I will also tell you why it matters – and, most importantly, how you can get around it.

Google’s Local Search Options

Google continues to prioritize local results more than ever.

It makes sense to do so.

When a person in Chicago searches for a dentist, they want someone local. They are not looking for in a dentist in Houston.

Google is literally tracking a searchers position down to their exact positioning and weighing results based on how far they are away from the searcher.

Users used to have an easy option to change their locations in Google search. You probably used it to check SERPs for your clients. It appeared under Search Tools on the results page.

At the end of 2015, Google removed the option for users to change their location. That has presented a challenge. Adding cities to Google searches still returns a mixed bag of results.

Let’s start with some tweaks available in the search query itself.

By changing your search parameters, you can improve your local results.

They will not get you exact localized results but they are ideal for use on the fly.

The first thing you can do is to add “&near=cityname” to your search. This is not a perfect solution, but, it will give you a set of results that are geographically close to your desired location.

As an example, let’s say you wanted to check results for a dentist in Cleveland.

You would first search “dentist.” Then, when they came up, you would go to the search bar. Change the URL, so it reads:

It is worth noting that you will get better results with this method for a big city. Make sure to check out my local SEO checklist.

How to Change Location on Google Chrome

If you want to know how to see Google search results for other locations, there’s a workaround.

This method takes about a minute but delivers an accurate set of local results.

Here’s how to do it.

Start by opening Google Chrome browser.

Mac Users: Open Chrome Developer Tools by pressing the Cmd + Option + I keys on your Mac; or

Windows Users: Open them by pressing the Control + Shift + I keys on a Windows computer

Once you enter the command, a window for Developer Tools will open on the side of your screen.

Then, follow these steps to change your browser location in Chrome.

  1. First, click the kebab menu – that is the menu with the three vertical dots. Click the menu inside, not on Chrome.
  2. Select the More Tools option from the menu.
  3. Select Sensors from the menu.
how to change google search location

At the bottom of the sensors window, you will see a drop box where you can enter a geolocation. You will see a list of presets, which you can use if one of the choices works for the search area you need.

If none of the presets are acceptable, click the “Custom Location” option at the top of the menu.

This will open a screen where you can use longitude and latitude to choose a location for your searches.

Don’t worry if you do not know the coordinates of your location.

change location in chrome browser custom
change location in chrome browser custom

LatLong has a free conversion tool. Just enter an address, and you will get the coordinates. Then, you can enter them in the Sensor menu.

Once you have made this change to update location, Google will use the new coordinates to base your search area.

longitude and latitude is used how to change location on google

On your next Google search, you should get a set of search results that are truly local.

If you want to return to your regular location, you will need to go in and switch the settings back.

Below is an example search after changing the location to Portland, OR.

example of a search after changes were made to google chrome browser

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Other Options To Modify or View Search Results In Different Areas

If none of the previous methods appeals to you, there are other ways to go.

Software developers have worked up many local search tools.

Here are some of the best.

Manual Geolocation

The first is a change location chrome extension called Manual Geolocation. This extension allows users to override the HTML5 geolocation.

To use it, just open the extension and enable it. Then, enter the longitude and latitude of your desired location. Alternatively, if you prefer, drop the pin onto your position of choice. Google will use the location you specify as your default until you disable the extension.

Rank Tracker

Rank Tracker is another tool you can use to customize your location. Once you download it, it is straightforward to customize your location.

The tool comes with a map. Drop the pin to the location you want. Any search results you get will be specific to the area you choose. You can change the location as often as you like.

You can get specific results that allow you to see how sites rank in the US and abroad. Not surprisingly, this tool has many other features that SEOs may find useful.


WhiteSpark was providing users with geo-specific searches long before Google changed their search tools. They did not need to change anything to keep up with the new search environment.

What I like about their software is that it allows you to target a city for each search you perform. If there aren’t sufficient results, they will default to the “near” function I described above.

As a bonus, WhiteSpark works with Bing, too. If you want to be able to check your results on both search engines, this is an ideal tool to use.

Bright Local

Bright Local is another software that had local search options in place before Google removed them. They had to make some minor changes after the update. But, their results are now excellent.

The most significant change they made was adding an uule parameter. If that does not work, their searches fall back on the “near” parameter, instead.

I like Bright Local because you do not have to second guess it. Their search function is set up with tiered parameters. If one does not work correctly, the next one will. That makes it very convenient.

I Search From

I Search From is a browser-based tool that offers convenient search options. It has taken the old Google function and turned it into a customizable tool.

When you log in, at the top of the screen, you’ll see a place where you can customize your country, language, and device. You can stop there. Or, if you need city-specific results, just scroll down and enter more parameters.

You can customize the results by city. You will also be able to say if you want results only from your specified country and language. It is straightforward to switch locations. Best of all, this is a free tool.


Bookmarklet is a handy extension. When you download it, you will be able to specify a search location. It is easy to change the location to any area you choose.

Because your search history affects the results, this extension is best used in an incognito window. Doing so will ensure the cleanest possible results.


Do you use Firefox as your preferred browser? If so, you might wonder about the best way to get location-specific results. Fortunately, there’s a tool that can help you.

Geolocater is a Firefox add-on. It allows you to specify your search location. However, it is important to note that this add-on needs some work. It is not perfect, but it is a start if you are committed to using Firefox.

Location Guard

Location Guard is a Firefox tool to keep your location hidden from websites. That might make it seem like odd inclusion here, but it has an option to change your locations.

To use it, just access their map. Pinpoint your location. Any searches you do will be specific to that location. You can change the position as often as you need to.

I like this option because it is a multipurpose tool. It is useful to have one extension that does multiple things.


AccuRanker is another software option that was around before Google removed the location tool. It is useful because it works for both Bing and Google.

They have features that allow you to get location-specific results for any city you choose. After Google removed the location tool, they announced that the change had not affected AccuRanker.

team working

Will Opening an Incognito Window Help?

Unfortunately, opening an incognito window does not ensure accurate results. You will likely get slightly better results than you would with a standard window.

Without changing your location, the search results will still be affected by your search history.

Adding a locational keyword does make a difference. However, using an incognito window is not a guarantee of accuracy. You may not be seeing actual local results if you do not change your location.

Hiding Your IP Address For Local Results

If you do not want to change your location on Google, you may want to consider a proxy server.

Proxy servers act as intermediaries. When your computer interacts with a Google using a proxy server, your location will be private.

Finally, you may want to consider trying a Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPNs offer some advantages that proxies do not.

You will get:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Unblocked access to the region you choose across all apps
  • Better privacy

Of course, when it comes to any of these options, you get what you pay for. You are likely to get more reliable service and results with a paid proxy than you are with a free one.

Conclusion: Use These Simple Tips For Localized Google Search Results

Google’s removal of the location tool presents a real challenge.

However, it is your job is to ensure you get accurate results, this will mean knowing how to change your location on Google is a must. Any SEO you may hire will have multiple ways to track your local rankings.

I recommend trying several of the methods and tools I suggested here. Some are easier to use than others. Some might give you better results than others. Testing them out will give you a chance to choose your favorite.

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