Google Changes Local Ranking Algorithm

Apr 11, 2008 • 7:11 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Back about 6 months ago, one of the main factors in ranking well in Google Local and other local engines, like Yahoo, was to have your address as close to the center of the city as possible.

A new Search Engine Watch Forums thread comes out showing that this pattern seems to have changed. Whereas once it was the center of the city that seemed to be one of the most important factors in ranking well for specific sets of local searches, now that may not be the case.

Jazajay, Search Engine Watch Forum moderator, has been watching a few local spots for a long time now and has noticed this new pattern based on his Dad's business:

  • My dads listing has 1 review in G maps, the bussiness in position A doesn't.
  • He has his bussiness name in the title, as I suggested to him, the site above does but listings below him do and don't, agian no noticable pattern.
  • My dad's listing doesn't have the category name in nor does the one above it. Listings below do.
  • He has submitted to my knowledge to 2 local directories since listing. The competior below and above him has submitted to quiet a few, they are the same listing. Same bussiness that has submitted 2ice.

So I decided to check my local results. I was never number one for web design, 10901 in the local Google results. But now I am:

My Local Listing - Local Results Rank Changed

So what I did was search on 10901 and looked where Google placed the center arrow (green arrow). I then overlaid that arrow on top of the local results for that query, to see which result is the closest to the center of the town (if the center of the city is that arrow, which is my assumption). Take a look:

My Local Listing - Local Results Rank Changed

Based on this, it seems like A, which is me, is not as close as C and B much further than C and the others. So other criteria is now coming into play, possibly ratings, possibly PageRank, possibly other factors.

It has changed, I wasn't always position A for that query and the consensus of the thread suggests Google Local's ranking algorithm has changed.

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.

Previous story: Is This Strange Google Site Command Behavior?


SearcH◆ EngineS WEB

04/11/2008 12:39 pm

Google may have favored the center in SOME cities.... but That was not the case with the NYC listings Google local appeared to give preference to listings beginning at the extreme downtown area - on up Also, it was mandatory the the keywords being searched for be in the title of the business those that did not optimize for that, lost alot !!!

Barry Schwartz

04/11/2008 12:44 pm

Um, I dont have keywords for web design in my company name. :) aka RustyBrick


04/11/2008 01:43 pm

Having links on "local" sites is a factor. It puts you in a neighborhood (aka city). Have a link from the local paper, local directory, local blog.

Tony Meehan

04/12/2008 08:58 am

My feeling is that this is another example of Googles 'AI' being introduced as the rankings seem to be based on clusters of related terms rather than keywords in both links and tags. It feels like another move to further reduce on page content weighting.

Nate Nead

05/28/2008 04:26 pm

Great post. My question is now what? This could be a specific discussion in and of itself.


06/17/2008 09:51 pm

Location to the city center and reviews play a part.


11/15/2008 09:51 pm

I am finding companies on the front page that are not even located in the city, but rather about 15 miles away. I have been playing with the local maps and have got good positions with three cities using different information and locations, but cannot figure out how to do it everytime.

chris g tucker

11/27/2009 12:37 pm

I still can't figure it out. Our websites rank highly, but our google local results could be better.

blog comments powered by Disqus