Businesses from 120 miles away showing up three-pack for searches that name local town

Paul Stevens

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Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Messages
10
I was recently checking the competition in a niche so I entered, in the Google search field, "type of business" + town + Ontario. When the standard Google 3-pack search page came up I found my clients business sandwiched between two other businesses from over 120 miles away. These businesses showed up despite there being an area with a population of 5 million only 50 miles away in one direction and another with 150,000 about the same distance in the other direction. The odds of these two businesses turning up would seem to be slight, against so much competition, especially since I used a location modifier in the search field. This just seems strange. Anyone seen similar?
 

pony

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Jun 26, 2019
Messages
124
Did you do it on your desktop device or mobile device?

If using your desktop, and performing a localized query, Google is going to use the geocoordinates of the center of the city as the location of the search.

On a mobile device: "shoe stores in ontarrio" is going to try and show me business actually close to the location of my mobile device

On a desktop: "shoe stores in ontario" is going to try and show me business close to the very center of ontario - because that's the best guess they can take as to your location
 

Paul Stevens

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Jan 30, 2020
Messages
10
I did specify a particular town. That is what surprised me when I got a result from so far away. There were undoubtedly 100 results closer. I just tried it in Incognito Mode with Chrome using "Maps" and using "Near Havelock Ontario" as the modifier and still got one local result and then others from 60 - 120 miles away. Not sure what's going on.
 

CraigJMount

Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
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Oct 23, 2017
Messages
87
Screenshots or it didn't happen. Jk.

Seriously though I've never seen that, can you replicate it? I'm wondering if something in the business names triggered the pack.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
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3
You aren't crazy - I've seen this happen sporadically but never snapped off a screenshot. Guessing it's just a bug.
 

Seth Winterer

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Jan 7, 2020
Messages
2
I was recently checking the competition in a niche so I entered, in the Google search field, "type of business" + town + Ontario. When the standard Google 3-pack search page came up I found my clients business sandwiched between two other businesses from over 120 miles away. These businesses showed up despite there being an area with a population of 5 million only 50 miles away in one direction and another with 150,000 about the same distance in the other direction. The odds of these two businesses turning up would seem to be slight, against so much competition, especially since I used a location modifier in the search field. This just seems strange. Anyone seen similar?
Try using this I Search From: custom location, language, device & personalization Google Search tool to preview ads & results you can set your search location to whatever city you want. It's technically the google ads search tool, but it works well to see what the local results actually are.
 

Ahmet

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Jan 27, 2020
Messages
6
Try using this I Search From: custom location, language, device & personalization Google Search tool to preview ads & results you can set your search location to whatever city you want. It's technically the google ads search tool, but it works well to see what the local results actually are.
Hi Seth,
Thank you very much for sharing this website.I have tested this with a search term for searching hotels and although my website is seen at the 1st place on local 3-pack results on android phones,tablets and windows phones,it is not seen on local 3-pack on iphone or ipad.Do you have an idea?Or what can i do for beeing seen in iphone/ipad results?
 

Paul Stevens

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Messages
10
I've included a couple of recent screenshots from an Incognito search on Google using a Chrome browser. Note the searches.
Local marketing havelock ontario.jpg


Local marketing near Havelock ontario.jpg



I have since gone back and tend to get wildly varying results. Sometimes they make sense, some times, not so much. Sometimes results are within a 30 mile radius or less, sometimes as pictured in the screenshots. I am just surprised that Google's definition of "Near" doesn't seem to have any stadard I can figure out.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
3,675
I think the main issue here is that "havelock, ontario" isn't been properly recognized as a place.

1581596268940.png


The town is really small so I've definitely seen cases like this before where Google shows irrelevant results. If you just put "local marketing near me" and leave off the town name, you should likely see more businesses closeby.
 

Paul Stevens

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Messages
10
I think the main issue here is that "havelock, ontario" isn't been properly recognized as a place.

View attachment 5434

The town is really small so I've definitely seen cases like this before where Google shows irrelevant results. If you just put "local marketing near me" and leave off the town name, you should likely see more businesses closeby.
Thanks Joy. I was trying to get an untarnished look at search results without my previous searches influencing Googles offering. Your suggestion got me looking at my phone search options. I didn't realize I could choose "use without an account" on my Android phone, simply by clicking on my avatar, and making a selection out of the offered options. Get results that make a lot more sense.
 

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