March 24, 2009 ByBrent Nau
There has been a shift from Yellow Pages to Search Engines to find local companies and products. According to a TMP Directional Marketing study, the Internet has become the primary source for local research. The study found that 31% of respondents to the study used Search Engines to find local products and services first, with Yellow Pages or White Pages at 30%, Internet Yellow Pages at 19% and Local Search Sites at 11%. The importance of showing up in Google's Onebox Local Search result is becoming more important for businesses. We are finding more and more large and small businesses wanting to show up in the Local Onebox as well as in the organic search results.
One of the local search ranking factors that comes into play is how close the business is to the city centroid (the exact middle of the city). The Centroid Factor use to be weighed really heavy and was easily gamed. Today, the Centroid Factor in local search plays more of a minor role, except for very competitive terms.
For example, terms like Orlando Dentist, Orlando Lawyer, Orlando Attorney or Orlando Accountant. We have found that when all things are equal, the Centroid Factor is highly weighted. Now there does not seem to be a set radius from the centroid. As we have seen the radius vary in size. For the term "Orlando Dentist" we see a radius of 2.25 miles, "Orlando Lawyer" a radius of 2 miles, "Orlando Attorney" a radius of 1.25 miles, and "Orlando Accountant" a radius of 1.25 miles. As there are more optimized local listings closer to the centroid, we see that the radius becomes smaller.
Now this is not to say there could not be outliers. We have seen cases where an optimize local business listing is 2-3 miles outside the farthest edge of the radius. We have noted that those particular listings have a extremely high number of local web citations compared to the rest of the top ten Google Onebox local search results. As you can see from the screenshot below, there are also a high number of local Orlando Dentists within the radius (represented by the red dots), but the local business listings are not optimized properly for Local Search. How much business are those businesses missing out on?