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:
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:
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.