About the Local SEO City Centroid Factor

In layman’s terms, a ‘centroid’ when referred to in the context of local search is simply a local search engine’s geo-location of a city or town’s geographic core, a.k.a ‘down town’ to the rest of us. This means that if your business serves a greater city area, but happens to be physically located on the city outskirts on or in a suburb, you’re already losing points toward ranking well in the local search algorithm. You can read more about the importance of the centroid on David Mihm’s local search ranking factors, which is a fantastic resource by the way.

Finding Your Business’s Core Service Area as Per Google

Let’s say you’re located in Richmond Hill, Ontario and you’re business serves the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) covering the boroughs such as North York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, Mid Town Toronto, and Toronto City Proper. If you happened to be a florist for example, and were trying to rank for ‘Florist in Toronto’ or ‘Florist Toronto’, there would be quite a bit of work needed to rank you in the Google ten pack for that term.

That being said, Google is getting smarter about the hyper-local nature of communities, and is paying attention to search volumes for local specific keywords such as ‘Florist Richmond Hill’ instead of ‘Toronto Florist.

The second factor at play is understanding where your customers are located. Most savvy (including non-technical) business owners know this information like the back of their hand, so this is one of the questions I’m bound to ask in my initial meeting with a client. In this case, if you’re a Richmond hill florist, but most of your business happens to be coming from the neighbouring community of Thornhill, Ontario, then there’s probably a way you can capitalize on that market as well through Google Local.

Looking at the difference in ten-pack competition between florist richmond hill, and florist thornhill its pretty apparent that thornhill is a low competition market. Setting up a Google Local keyword rich listing will do the trick in this case, such as ‘Richmond Hill and Thornhill Florist’ along with an appropriate description of service areas, and inbound anchor text from local business directories to boot.

But What if I Don’t Know Where My Customers Are Located?

Eh? You don’t know where your customers are located? Not a problem – I can help you figure out how to get a centroid location for that too. Let’s assume you run an ecommerce store serving the Greater Toronto Area, selling the aforementioned flowers – You receive orders from all over the city, and you’re trying to figure out where most of those online orders are generated from. Using a tool such a Map a List it’s easy to figure out shipping and billing addresses, and home-in on your customer location centroid.

Map a List Google Maps Visualizer
Map a List Google Maps Visualizer

credit: lifehacker

Here is how it works:

  • (1) Upload the spreadsheet with the list of addresses to your Google Docs account. Or create a new one online.
  • (2) Sign-up with MapaList and grant it access to your Google Docs account.
  • (3) Point MapaList to the the spreadsheet with the list of addresses you want to map.
  • (4) Follow step-by-step guide to map the address list.


  • Map the address lists on top of Google maps.
  • Map as many address lists as you like.
  • Customize maps further by adding markers for each address, hiding certain points etc.
  • Make maps public and share them with friends.
  • Change addresses in your spreadsheet files and have them automatically synced with MapaList.
  • Download marked maps as KML and view them in Google Earth.
  • Send map to your mobile phone.
  • See a sample MapaList map here.
Get in touch with me if you have any questions on how to better implement this technique for your particular situation. Cheers!

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Tagged with: Etobicoke, Google, Greater Toronto Area, GTA, Local Search Centroid, Local Search Optimization, Mid Town Toronto, North York, Ontario, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Toronto, Toronto City Proper

About Dev Basu

Canadian SEO & Inbound Marketer. Founder at @PoweredbySearch. Professor @SenecaSoME. I love startups, fast cars, & smart people. Helping brands with #DemandGen.