Aug 20, 2014
Reaction score
I hope someone can help me with this.

For the Google Local Pack and Map results, does Google give more weight to a business at the geographical center of a search location or does it treat all businesses in that location equally?

For example, would a dentist at the dead center of Dallas get a better score than a dentist 20 blocks from the centre?

Or, would a hotel at the geographical center of a state or county get a better score than one in the north of the state or the county?

Or does it not matter what the precise location as long as the business states the location in their listing and Google can verify that the address is in fact in that location?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
City center hasn't been the de-facto place a business should be located in for years... my understanding, is that Google pays more attention to where other businesses in the industry congregate in your city. (do a search in this forum for 'centroid' and you'll see a bunch on that topic). In my city for example, the centroid for used car dealers isn't downtown... it's way the heck out in the sketch part of town, because that's where all the other ones are too. Joy also recently did a post about another related issue:

If you appear nearby, but it's not in the area that Google highlights when you search for the city (like, in Google's eyes you're outside city limits, even if your address says you aren't) that can be an issue.

I'd be interested to hear too what people see about ranking benefits from being in the centroid. For the 3 packs I keep an eye on, it doesn't look it's a necessity (there's plenty of outliers) but it does seem like there's a statistically higher amount that are closer in than farther out than you'd except if they were all equally weighted... but my data scientist friend wouldn't approve of me making conclusions from eyeballing such a small data set. Since you can't influence the client's location though, best to make sure they're close enough to be worth trying to help, and then running in with guns blazing if they're a little farther out.
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
Too late to make an edit, but I forgot to add an obvious point that maybe goes without saying. The user themselves is kind of the new centroid, so for someone using mobile/searching within the city, that'll also obviously affect what pops up as well, especially for bare keywords, instead of keywords + city.


Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
Reaction score
Theoretically, distance to "centroid" should have been phased out long ago. The new centroid is the user, if any centroid exists at all. But then again, who knows how long it takes Google to phase out these sort of things?

With that being said, I think it's very likely it's not an issue anymore. I imagine if Google creates a centroid, it's from the user's location making the query.

If it's not a distance relevant query (like for a home service company, hvac, roofer, etc.) I would imagine there is no centroid and Google just shows you companies located in your area without any ranking effect to whether or not one is closer to you than the other, as long as they're all in the city you search from.

However, if it's a distance relevant query, like "pizza", then Google will try to approximate your location and give you pizza places closest to you. You would be the centroid.

With all of that being said, you can't control your location and even if you could, there's no reason to pack up and move just because you're not closest to the centroid. While it may be a ranking factor, it's an inconsequential one where your SEO strategy is concerned.

Hope that helps!

Colan Nielsen

LocalU Faculty
Top Poster Of Month
Jul 19, 2012
Reaction score
Fantastic insight! I think the post that Joy wrote at Search Engine Land is worth noting in this discussion too. In most cases a business needs to be physically located within what Google considers to be the city boundaries, and not necessarily what the postal address is.

When You Rank High Organically But Not Locally (Case Study)

Conclusion: Why Does That Impact One Keyword And Not The Other?
Keywords without a city name (e.g., “handyman” searched from a user in Tampa, FL) rely more heavily on traditional organic ranking factors.
Keywords that include a city name (“handyman tampa”) rely more heavily on true local ranking factors, including:
The physical location of your business (if it is in the physical city limits of the city searched).
The categories you are using in Google My Business or Map Maker.
The presence of a duplicate listing (a huge negative factor if one exists).
Inconsistency with your name, address or phone number (NAP) in the major online directories and data providers.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Mike Yem Review Proximity All Things Google My Business [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 2
TomGuard Local Ranking Better in Proximity to Verification Address Service Area Businesses 5
snysarah Does address change impact proximity signal if it's hidden? Service Area Businesses 13
Tim Colling So now, which wins: physical proximity or service area? Local Search 5
T Proximity in Local Search Rankings Local Search 8
F Zip Code, Proximity & Ranking Factors Local Search 1
Dillon Brickhouse How Proximity (and ZIP codes) Impact Local Rankings Google My Business & Google Maps 2
JoyHawkins Google Just Rolled Back the Possum Proximity Filter Google My Business & Google Maps 3
DanLeibson Proximity is the new Yeezy Local Search 0
C Proximity from centroid enough to keep someone out of the map pack? Google My Business & Google Maps 1
D How to Determine If Proximity Is a Ranking Factor for Any Keyword Local Search 16
Marie Ysais Proximity Algo Lockout Local Search 11
Nick.SEOSpark Questions regarding "Proximity of Address to Centroid" Factor Local Search 12
RobertCarnitas Google Merchant Center Product Ads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 1
EmilyW Problems with immediate suspension: confused as the UPS in the same shopping center? Google My Business & Google Maps 16
abbiebeltran COVID-19 Testing Center Attributes on GMB Listings Local Search 3
Gerry.Foster Dealership Service Centers - New Area Based Services because of Covid. Service Area Businesses 1
ashley.smith Business Hours - After hours calls go to call center Google My Business & Google Maps 7
Colan Nielsen GMB Adds Coronavirus Help Center Link in GMB Dashboard NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 5
Monica Simpson Google Merchant Center Google News: Important Changes & Features 1
S Which category & order to use? Optometrist / Eye Care Center NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 8
Brittany Barkes Could Being in a New Shopping Center Affect Organic Visibility? Organic SEO 4
Steve Attarian Service Area Business with poorly located small retail center. NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 1
Tim Colling Have specific examples of penalties for using Regus centers as "additional offices"? Local Search 15
Conor Treacy Maps not showing, or centered 100's miles away. Local Search 5
JoshuaMackens Multiple Locations Using Same Call Center Phone Google My Business & Google Maps 7
gulliver Doctor / Practitioner within Yoga center - same address Google My Business & Google Maps 8
djbaxter The WordPress Security Learning Center from Wordfence Websites, Software, and Security 3
H Multi - location advice: call center and phone number Multi-Location Issues 5
H Multi - location advice: call center and phone number Multi-Location Issues 5
B Just got 2 calls from Google Map Call center in India Google My Business & Google Maps 2
Linda Buquet Google My Business Help Center Upgrade - Lots of Changes Google My Business & Google Maps 5
C GMB Help Center - Suite# Goes on First Address Line NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 13
Colan Nielsen GMB Help Center - Suite# Goes on First Address Line NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 13
D New TGO Nature Center Website SEO Help, Please Help & Support for Google Local 8
DFoertsch MapQuest Local Business Center is Shutting Down Local Search 13
Eric Rohrback Working around a Call Center for Google listings Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Linda Buquet Google+ Local Centroid - NOT City Center! Affects Ranking! Google My Business & Google Maps 14
M Google+ Local for Franchise based service business with Call center Help & Support for Google Local 7
iwebresults SAB searches way down Service Area Businesses 0
A Multiple locations in GMB - only one result in Google search Multi-Location Issues 3
G Exact Match to Keyword Manipulating Search Results Spam on Google 5
WilliamA What does grid search mean? How do they handle the inherent variables with search? Local SEO Tools & Software 8
Lluc Google showing large favicons/logos for "people also searched for" in the search bar auto-complete suggestions Google News: Important Changes & Features 2
W Local Search Ecosystem Diagram Local SEO Tools & Software 1
M Google Search Console Errors "Coverage and Breadcrumbs"? Google My Business & Google Maps 4
D Knowledge Panel for Competitor Showed Up for Branded Search Google Duplicates & Merges 6
djbaxter Brightlocal Tool shows Large Google Local Search Algorithm Update March 10, 2021 Google Algorithm Discussions 1
Matt Chauhan Knowledge Panel Not Appearing for Brand Name Search Google My Business & Google Maps 5
djbaxter Webinar Get together with Google Search at Search Central Live - February 23, 2021 Events 0

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert

Top Bottom