Impact Of Proximity To Searcher For Local SEO

Successful SEO campaigns analyze and incorporate a number of varying factors in determining the SEO strategy most likely to succeed. One factor that is growing in impact and importance is proximity to searcher. Searchers are finding that local search results are becoming more localized than before. Therefore, proximity must be becoming increasingly important in determining search ranking. Darren Shaw of Moz went as far as to say that “Proximity to searcher is the new #1 ranking factor in local search results today.”

What Is Proximity To Searcher?

Proximity to searcher refers to the distance between the business location and the searchers location. It seems as if Google is now placing an increasing importance on location in relation to searcher. Finding the business closest to the searcher is becoming a more weighted factor than finding the best business in the area. Proximity to searcher is potentially outweighing other traditional ranking factors such as links, content, citations and reviews, primarily in local map rankings.

Why Is Proximity To Searcher Increasing In Impact?

Local map results are putting greater emphasis on businesses that are physically closest to the searcher producing search results with listings that hardly meet typical high-ranking standards. These results are more often turning up grouped around searcher location rather than yielding better optimized listings. One potential reason for the increased value on proximity could be increases in “near me” searches. The use of “near me” searches has risen in the past five years and are likely to continue rising in the years to come.

Another more likely reason for this is Google’s desire to increase ad revenue. By limiting or altering local map rankings, Google pushes businesses to pay for sponsored map placement. With the change of the local maps from seven results to three combined with the increased importance of proximity to searcher, Google painlessly created a more competitive market for local ranking and a greater need for paid local listings in the map results. When search results in the 3-pack produce better quality results, searchers are forced to look into “more places” where Google displays ads in the Local Finder. Local ad packs also seem to focus more on businesses that are “nearby”.

Impact On Local SEO

This increased emphasis on proximity produces lower quality ranking results. Searchers are discovering businesses or services that are simply close to their physical location rather than the best business or service in their area.

Experimental searches are finding that proximity has a greater impact on non-geo-modified terms (“digital marketing agency”) over geo-modified terms (“Las Vegas digital marketing agency”). Based on our advanced tracking and reporting, 1 Source Media Group has found that local businesses are still ranking in the same position with local searches using a geo-term with a keyword and a city. We have also found that Google will still rank a high authority website/business with non-geo terms unless closer businesses are equal to or have a higher domain rating.

This increased impact of proximity to searcher does not negate the importance of local SEO strategies; it simply has made it more competitive. Businesses must put forth a greater more strategic local SEO campaign in order to produce traffic and rankings over the location-focused results. 1 Source Media Group has the experience needed to not only create, but also capitalize on local organic opportunities. A digital marketing agency such as 1 Source Media Group knows the best ranking factors to focus on in order to produce efficient optimization that your business can profit from. Contact our team of professionals at 1 Source Media Group today for guidance and implementation of superior Local SEO services.