Eric Marshall

Mar 27, 2013
Reaction score
Does anyone have any insight or experience with how Google tends to handle neighborhoods/suburbs in relation to zip codes?

We are in a city of around 100,000 that has 3 main zip codes and a couple of separate neighborhoods/suburbs (these fall within the 3 main zip codes). Our business is in one of the neighborhoods/zips, and we rank very well for searches within that neighborhood/zip, but generally don't rank in the 3-pack for searches in the other zip codes.

Does anyone know if Google tends to put more weight on a neighborhood/suburb vs the zip code or vice versa?
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
Joy might have more to add, but here's the gist:

Last September, one of the big changes we saw with Possum, was that city limits no longer had a meaningful impact on rankings. Overall, my guess is that instead of paying attention to boundaries and zones in general, Google has a much more complex algorithm taking relative distance between the searcher and the different businesses in account instead. That's definitely the case with cities, and probably the case with neighborhoods and zip codes.

If you drive around with a smart phone typing in your keywords, you'll not only find that the 3-pack spread changes from zip code to zip code and neighborhood to neighborhood, you'll even see the 3-pack shift while moving from block to block within a given zip code/neighborhood. It certainly makes rank tracking much more challenging for us. I use my monthly ranking shifts to look at trends, since it's kind of meaningless now to talk about local results in a given area. If you wanted to actually track absolute rankings, you'd need to track rankings from a dozen spots in the city and average them all together somehow.

One piece to pay attention to: some keywords are far more dominated by location than others. For me for example, 'portland wedding photographers' shows results across more of the city, and 'wedding photographers' shows only results within a mile from my house. Keyword phrases including the city tend to pull results from a wider area, so look at those as your money keywords for people on the other side of the city.

I'm hoping we'll see the tuning on some of this change in the next year or two. In some industries, potential clients care far more about quality than an extra 10~20 miles between them and the service provider, but we'll just have to see what happens I guess.
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
For sure, happy to help. It's certainly an interesting question, there was all kinds of conversations on the topic last September.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Garrett Sussman Become the Neighborhood Expert Your Community Deserves: Google Local Guides Local Reviews 12
L Testing local pack rankings as if searched from another neighborhood of the city Local Search 6
shondarogers What type of page should i create for HOA/Neighborhood Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Linda Buquet Google?s Neighborhood Algorithm - HyperLocal Search Google My Business & Google Maps 2
Chris Ratchford UHGGG. Client moved to new location- Now Google maps to residential neighborhood Help & Support for Google Local 8
georgebizpro Local Search Falcon - Competitor Zip Codes Google My Business & Google Maps 1
J Zip code change cause rankings drop? Covid posts? Google Algorithm Discussions 3
Barb Davids Are cities and zip codes in the footer still a thing? Local Search 2
Niki Gross Updated Service Areas - Zips vs. Counties Service Area Businesses 1
Niki Gross Service Area - Zip Codes vs. Counties Service Area Businesses 4
J Service areas (cities, zips) keep disappearing from info? Google My Business & Google Maps 5
freerunr Updating Zip Code Boundaries on Maps Google My Business & Google Maps 1
A Google - Different ZIP Codes? Google My Business & Google Maps 7
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
Conor Treacy One Zip Code, Two Cities - problems? Citations 1
O GMB has correct zip, but not maps or search. HELP! Google My Business & Google Maps 1
KevinWag Service Area - Cities/Zips vs. Within X Miles Local Search 5
S Zip Code Meta Tags - Still relevant? Local Search 7
golfer Please Help Showing up for keyword and zip code, but not key term and city Local Search 2
cjonesmn Google City/ZIP vs USPS - The same? Local Search 0
S Zip Code Issues with Business Directories Citations 2
D Google captures location data by zip codes: Some of the implications Local Search 8
Dustybones Zip Code / City confusion Local Search 0
KungFuBacklinks 4-Digit extension on Zip Codes? Help & Support for Google Local 5
Hammer Can't enter verification code due to error "To verify your listing, update your business info" All Things Google My Business [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 3
sixthcitysarah Anyone know much on in-page PHP coded redirects? Websites, Software, and Security 1
M Google My Business has been 5 months, no verification code has been received Help & Support for Google Local 3
M Haven't received the code over a month? Google My Business & Google Maps 4
Y GMB Verification Code by Post Card Google My Business & Google Maps 3
Jan-ybd DUP Merchant Code Recycle Bin 0
Jan-ybd Merchant Code Local Search 0
NickB-Tampa Listings at single location getting suspended immediately after entering verification codes Google My Business & Google Maps 5
freerunr Modifying embed code to better align with WCAG (accessibility) Google My Business & Google Maps 5
DanielTexasLira GMB Verification code is taking forever to arrive. Waiting over 2 months Google My Business & Google Maps 2
JoyHawkins NEW Discount Code for LocalU Forum Members Member Special Discounts [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 0
CarrieHill LocalU Advanced Premium Forum Discount Code Recycle Bin 0
LauraUK Plus codes help Google My Business & Google Maps 5
djbaxter Testing code addon Admin Stuff 1
R Verification code for my business account Contact Us Messages 1
djbaxter QR Code Generator for Page URL coming in Google Chrome? Local SEO Tools & Software 0
H Facebook Store IDs updated to 157....... digit code?! Mobile & Social 0
Justin Mosebach Missing Store Codes in GMB? Google My Business & Google Maps 16
S Schema: part 1. Is schema code effective when inserted into the body of a page, not into a header Multi-Location Issues 2
Zhivko Google keeps crawling and indexing URLs with 404 status code Organic SEO 8
Steven12 PLUS CODES & Google Maps? Google My Business & Google Maps 7
mattheffner GatherUp Schema Code Local Search 8
djbaxter Grammarly Adds Junk Code to WordPress Posts and Pages Websites, Software, and Security 4
A New Website - Changing Content, Site Architecture, and Code all at Once Organic SEO 3
J Google My Business CID codes? Help & Support for Google Local 5

Similar threads

Login / Register

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

Most UpVoted Answers

Trending: Most Viewed

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