Questions regarding "Proximity of Address to Centroid" Factor

Nick.SEOSpark

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Aug 4, 2012
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361
Hi All,

Looking at David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors Vol.5, it seems that the proximity of address to centroid (city centre) is vital at the moment.

I (so far) have not had any clients that are far outside the city centre (in the outskirts) but have had a few enquiries recently from some who are. My question is...

- How much more difficult is it if they are on the outskirts of the city centre (centroid)?
- Does it make the job far more difficult? A case of working even harder at the other factors?
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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14,439
Quick answer (swamped)

Proximity is mainly a factor in the OLD 7 pack algo which only shows up for about 30% of KWs and usually the less popular.

For core KWs the blended is usually at play and in blended it's 90 - 95% (IMO) about organic factors and location does not play a major role usually. For awhile there was something I dubbed the Proximity Lockout Algo. But it's pretty much gone now.

One of my Dentists that was affected by Proximity Lockout - I optimized his site to rank high in blended BUT he's the very farthest dentist out in the boonies in his city, so no matter what I did I could not break out of the Proximity Lockout. BUT once the Proximity Lockout stopped, he now has a DOUBLE #1 ranking. He's #1 in organic AND in the A spot in blended, even though he's so far from city center he's literally almost in the next state over.

So with good on-site Local SEO and local hooks you can still rank even if far from city center as long as address is still in that city.
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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Aug 4, 2012
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361
Thanks a lot Linda.

It's good to confirm that there isn't a (too high) high barrier of entry for the folk in the suburbs of a city. After all, as long as they have a city address, they have every right to rank well for that city.:)
 

Linda Buquet

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Yep, very true Nick. When the prox lockout was in effect and you could only rank smack downtown I thought it was really unfair to both businesses AND searchers.
 

latin_sydney

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Sep 5, 2012
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11
Hi Guys,

So what you are saying is even though my business is about 25km for the centroid I could still break into the local pack by
building strong local links / content and concentrating on the organic search results?
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi latin_sydney,

I don't think anyone can say a specific distance because it's all relative. Depends on the search term, competition and other factors.

Again as long as your address is in the same city, you have a chance of ranking typically. But yes work on all the organic factors and see how high up you can get.
 

Mitchell

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Feb 27, 2013
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I am a little too late to comment but I thought I would give it a try.

"I don't think anyone can say a specific distance because it's all relative. Depends on the search term, competition and other factors".
Wouldn't searcher location be an important factor as well? Doesn't Google display the local results based on the proximity of the searcher to those locations?




 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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Hey Mitchell, welcome! It's never too late to add a good comment around here! :)

And yes you have a good point. Searcher location is key too!
Thanks for weighing in!
 

Mitchell

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Feb 27, 2013
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Follow up question: if all things are equal, how important would you say the searcher location is as (a ranking factor) for a listing to appear higher in his results? Would it make any difference if he is searching from his mobile phone/tablet?
 

Eric Rohrback

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Oct 3, 2012
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If all other factors are considered to be held equal (which is never the case... onsite hooks are different, link building, citations, content, etc... but lets just say they are in this case), then I would think location would be very important if using a mobile device, tablet, etc. At that point the "centroid" is no longer the center of the city, but the actual searcher. If someone is searching for "widget store atlanta" and your store is 20 yards away, then maybe you'd have a better shot of showing up higher since the location settings on the mobile device says you're closer than the rest of the competition.

I'm sure many people will disagree with that idea, but it would make sense.
 

Mitchell

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Feb 27, 2013
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Thanks for your reply.

I tend to believe the same thing but, in this case, would it make sense if, after a careful analysis (GA) which shows that 50% off all your searches are coming from mobile devices, would that be enough to you move your business address closer to the centroid, where you have better traffic? At which point (if) would you do this? I read here that proximity to the centroid doesn't play a role anymore as a ranking factor but what about in the situation that I have described above? What about if the keywords that you are after, thousands of exact searches per month, are coming from mobile devices? Wouldn't you want to be as close to your mobile searches as possible?
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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14,439
2 things...

Distance from centroid is mainly a factor in the OLD pack algo which barely shows up any more and mainly just for 2nd tier KWs.

But really important too is the fact that moving and breaking NAP would likely kill your rankings at least for awhile. AND you may never regain your original placement. PLUS if the move ends up with Google starting a new page you have to close the old one. So you'd start over with a brand new CID, probably lose reviews and may not rank PERIOD for 6 weeks while the new listing works into the local database.

So the way I see it moving would have very little upside and lots of possible downsides.
 

Mitchell

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Feb 27, 2013
Messages
4
Thanks Linda, appreciate you insight. I wasn't planning of moving but merely to understand why some of my competitors are still ranking high in Local search with spammy names, fake or virtual addresses, no reviews and no citations and nobody seems to bother them. As soon as one address is burned, they are back online with a new one in a week.
Very frustrating.
 

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