One of the factors that influences the Local Search algorithm is called the proximity to the centroid. That is, how far whatever you’re searching for from the center of the city as defined by Google. In the case of Spokane, it has a most fitting location:
That’s right, the intersection of 3rd & Division is not only the home of the “Whammie” and the best fries in town, but is also the geographic center of Spokane in the eyes of Google.
This is so damn fitting I took the family down for lunch. I love Dick’s Drive-in! Not only do they have some of the best burgers and fries around (OK, Hudson’s in CDA actually has the best burgers in the Inland Empire), but I’m pretty sure they haven’t changed prices since I unsuccessfully tried to pick-up girls there in high school. Here’s the thing I love most about Dick’s Drive-in, though. You see all walks of life in the ten minutes under those amazing heat lamps waiting for your burgers (they are pure salvation in the Winter). It’s actually a pretty representative cross section of Spokane as far as I can tell. At least at lunch.
So what does that mean for your company in terms of Local Search?
While it may sound odd, the closer you are to Dick’s Drive-in, the easier it will be to rank in Local Search (Google Maps) in Spokane. This is expecially true for non-competitive terms. There are many other variables that are part of the local algorithm, but distance from the centroid is one of them. For those interested in additional details, I’d recommend checking out a recap of David Mihm’s SEMpdx hotseat presentation as well as the SMX Local Search interview wrap-up. In the meantime, I recommend ordering a couple of Whammies, some fries, and a chocolate malt.