The location of your business plays an important role in Google’s local pack rankings, although it’s not as prominent as it once was.
According to Moz, the proximity of the address from the searcher ranked #3 in terms of local search ranking factors. This used to be the number one ranking factor but it’s not as prevalent anymore. This is because Google shows more nearby search results.
Learn More: How to Rank on Google for Near Me Searches
The following factors come into play for proximity-based ranking factors:
- Business Type
- A service business versus a direct-to-consumer business can impact how Google showcases your business in the local pack results.
- What part of the city is your business located?
- Physical Address in City of Search
- Do you have the primary city or suburb associated with your address? Are you located within city limits?
Let’s dive into each of these location-based ranking factors so you have a better understanding of how this impacts your local pack rankings. I will also share examples, which is the best way for you to truly understand this.
Business Type Matters
People will likely seek a nearby location for businesses like a laundromat or pizza shop. The reason is convenience. If you visit the laundromat or order pizza a couple of times per month, you want a place very nearby.
If you seek a service-based business like a marketing agency, law firm, or accounting firm, proximity does not matter as much. You want the best firm or agency in the city, you don’t need one down the street. There may be a face-to-face meeting at the beginning of the relationship, but the distance to the service-based business is not that relevant. You’ll be willing to drive further for the best lawyer handling your case, for example.
Google shows results in their local pack differently based on the business type. If you seek a laundromat, Google is going to show businesses closest to your location. If you are seeking an accounting firm, Google may show one location nearby but they will show other locations dispersed through the city.
Pizza Shop Example:
The example below is a search conducted from Gahanna, Ohio. You can see that the search results are showing pizza shops located within a 2 mile radius of the search. In this case, proximity to the center of the city doesn’t matter because Google knows that someone looking for pizza wants to find somewhere as close as possible. My sister, Stef, is a big foodie, so she might drive 30 minutes for the best pizza in Columbus. Most people, however, want something close by.
**Note: A business like a dental practice or hair salon would follow the same rule of thumb. Someone would most likely be visiting the dental practice or salon close to them, since they are going regularly. Sometimes they might be willing to drive further for these if they need a root canal specialist or are visiting a specific stylist who specializes in curly hair, but more often than not, proximity will be an important factor, so Google will show results that are nearby.
Marketing Agency Example:
Conducting the search from the same location in Gahanna for Marketing Agency Columbus, you can see that all of the marketing agencies showing are located downtown. Google knows that when someone is searching for a marketing agency, they want the best one, not the closest one.
Location & City Name
You can see that location still matters. In the case of a marketing agency or a service based business, it is still beneficial to be centrally located within the main part of the city. It’s also important to have the main city associated with your address.
Grandview is just minutes west of downtown in Columbus and embodies both small-town and urban vibes. Yet if a marketing agency was located in Grandview, they wouldn’t have Columbus associated with their address. Since people search for business 2 business based on the primary city, the Grandview agency would have a hard time ranking on Google when people seek a Columbus marketing agency.
Learn More: Location Pages for SEO – Best Practices
- The type of business will impact how it appears in the local pack.
- Service based businesses will cast a wider radius of search results within the local pack.
- Businesses that service customers more frequently, such as a pizza shops, will be more likely to show nearby businesses in the local pack.
- Having a desirable city name in your address can have positive effects
- Be aware of how people will search for your business type. If they will include a specific city or suburb in the search (example: Columbus Marketing Agency, Gahanna Pizza) and your business is technically not in this area, you will have a hard time appearing in the local pack for these results.
You shouldn’t choose a business location for the sole purpose of ranking well in the local pack. You want to make sure it’s convenient for your employees, customers and conducive for the type of work you perform. If you happen to find the right office in a place where you can benefit from Google’s local pack rankings, it’s a win-win.