StayOnSearch

How is Google Ranking the Local 7-Pack Listings?

Mark Thompson October 21, 2009

Now that Google has condensed its local business listing results in the SERPs from 10 to 7, it is important to improve your LBL rankings.  After reading many articles and blogs, including David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors and through lots of experience with our clients, I am convinced that proximity to the center of the city is a bigger factor that people think.  I understand that Google’s LBL algorithm is much more complex than just showing business listings close to the city searched, but there is a lot of evidence that proves your physical address is a significant factor.

Here are just a few examples of Google 7-pack results.

Search for “Web Design Raleigh”

raleigh-screenshot

Six out of the top seven listings are located in the heart of Raleigh.

Search for “Lawyers Raleigh”

raleigh-lawyers

Six out of the top seven listings are located in the heart of Raleigh.

Search for “Architects Raleigh”

raleigh-architects

Seven out of the top seven listings are located in the heart of Raleigh.

You can do a search for almost any industry in a localized area and you will see a noticeable trend in businesses being shown that are close to the proximity to the center of the city. My personal opinion is that after analyzing a lot of these sites that rank in the top 7-pack, many of them are not worthy of being the most relevant sites in Google local business search results.  I have noticed that some of these sites are fairly new domains, using a keyword spammed company title, and have an incomplete business listing.

I would be interested in hearing what others have thought and if they have noticed the same trends in the LBL rankings.

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5 comments
Dave
Dave

In my experience citations matter most. Has anything changed over the last year? I get so frustrated with this friggin' business listing. It seems like Google can't make up their mind how they rank businesses. Is there an easy way to automate citations? I can't find much info on the Net about this. Thanks, Dave

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Scott
Scott

I think the centroid plays too big a part in the 7 pack scoring and the map scoring. Citations and reviews help, but I'm not sure that the centroid isn't a massive factor and overriding one at that. I've been noticing problems in Google's ranking procedures for videos too. My personal opinion is that local listing and video search are still very wild west. A sheriff needs to come into town and clean it up

mark waldin
mark waldin

Geography clearly contributes but my analysis shows that there are many other factors involved. One thing I think Google does it determine how dense highly qualified businesses are near the geographic center. If they pass a threshold then the map collapses. If they are lower than the threshold then the map expands, looking for some high scoring businesses. IMHO

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