In the realm of local SEO, distance refers to the proximity of a search result, to the point where the search originated from. Distance is believed to be one of the most critical factors that come in play when ranking for platforms based around location.
While regular SERPs rely mostly on indicators like quality/authority, diversity of inbound links, and keyword relevance, distance seems to supersede those for things like Google Local Pack and Maps.
Other essential elements to rank for local SEO are:
• Proper category associations for a business’ profile.
• Consistency in citations.
• Physical address.
• Completeness of a business listing.
• Verification of listing.
Organic results vs. Location-based
Experimentation goes a long way to show the role that distance and proximity play in location-based search engine results.
Taking Google as an example, localized organic results (the blue links shown in the regular list) still seem to rank based on traditional factors. They remain somewhat consistent regardless of distance.
Results on Google Local Pack and Google Maps, on the other hand, appear to be weighted to give more relevance to distance.