How Population Density Can Affect Your Local Search Ranking

How Population Density Can Affect Your Local Search Ranking

Content Writer: Lauren Snyder Lauren Snyder Content Marketing Specialist

There are multiple factors that affect your business’s local search ranking, but have you ever considered how population density comes into play? This is one factor you cannot control.

So, what can you do to improve your local search ranking with population density in mind?

Let’s discuss three things you need to consider when it comes to your local search, but first, let me explain exactly what population density is!

What Is Population Density?

The quick and easy definition is the number of people living in a specified area, such as a square mile.

On average, the population density in the United States is roughly 90 people per square mile. However, cities have a much higher density and the average number varies from city to city.

Whether your business is in a small town or a big city, your local search ranking will be affected by the number of people living in the area.

Here are a few of the factors that affect how your business appears in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP):


This is how far away your business is from the searcher. Remember, Google is smart and will calculate the distance based on the data about the searcher’s current location.

For example, if you own a Mexican restaurant in Columbus, but someone in Cincinnati searches for Mexican restaurants, your business won't show up in the search results due to the distance between the cities. However, if someone searches "Mexican restaurants" while in Columbus, yours will likely show up.


How well does your local listing match what someone is searching for? This is referred to as relevance.

Having detailed information and the right keywords on your website helps Google determine whether your business should appear in a search or not.

One way your business can stand out is if you include detailed information about your services, but remember not to keyword-stuff your website or listing. You don't want to appear in searches that aren't relevant to what your business does. 


If your business is well-known both online and offline, your prominence is high! For example, think about the Space Needle in Seattle. It will rank well in local searches in Seattle, but it will also rank nationwide because many people search for it.

Here's what Google's Help Page has to say about prominence:

Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.

Improve Your Local Search Ranking With These Tips

Regardless of the population density where your business is located, you’ll want to rank high in local searches.

Check out these tips that can help you improve your ranking:

  • Start with your website. Feature keywords that you want to rank for, include words that consumers use when searching for your business and make sure it’s mobile-optimized.
  • Claim your Google My Business (GMB) profile. We talk a lot about GMB listings, but that’s because it’s such an important aspect of your business’s online presence and local search ranking. If you’re new to Google My Business, check out this blog — it lays out the basics you need to know.
  • Citation building. When you utilize citation building, you are sending out consistent and accurate business information to the different directories and search engines. Taking the time to do this gives you a better chance of showing up in proper searches. If you need help with citation building, download our FREE checklist

Final Thoughts

Although population density isn’t always top of mind, it's something you'll need to consider when it comes to your local search ranking. 

Remember, local search marketing takes time, so don't feel like your efforts aren't working! If you're following our tips and still aren't seeing an increase in your ranking, our team would love to help! 

Request a demo with one of our marketing experts today to start transforming your business!


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