I've been bouncing around for about 2 hours now.
I was looking at one site in particular. It is for a highly competitive localized service business. It was showing very poorly in the serps. We've done some tweaking and things seem to be better.
I checked the serp position for a couple of keywords using the google adwords preview tool. I set the location in the adwords preview tool to the town where the business is based. The site was showing up #1 for that keyword right after the ads.
I remoted in to another machine where I don't use my google account and the results were the same.
The reason I want to simulate locality is that a lot of people will search for widget repairer and not widget repair mytown mystate.
I then tried to find web and app tools that would let me search based on a localized search those tools were reporting that the site was not showing in the first 200 or so results for that keyword.
My questions are
1) is it ok with google to try to find out where you rank for a keyword. I'm not planning on daily checks, I just want to get a realistic idea of where the site stands
2) Are there tools that will reliably let me check the serp position of a site for a particular keyword as if the search was from a local user.
3) Do the forum rules allow you to name any particular tool? If not, I would appreciate a PM if you know of a tool that will give me the info I need.