In an investigation from RankRanger’s Mordy Oberstein, it has been identified that there is a distance and clustering pattern in Google’s local algorithm that the author says is consistent regardless of user location. Basically, it means that it’ll appear regardless of whether the user is searching nearby or remotely (such as resident vs tourist).
The pattern shows two local results near one another. After that, the third result will be shown at a greater distance within the initial local pack presentation. These results are consistent, regardless of if it’s on the desktop or mobile. Once the map is expanded though, or more results are clicked, more locations are shown.
Oberstein’s contends that this approach may serve the needs of the true local searcher, but not the remote searcher:
While Google’s 2:1 Local Pack clustering pattern is great for the person trying to get a bite down the street, does it really make sense for a prospective tourist from China who wants to see all that the Big Apple has to offer? Does it make sense for parents trying to find the best treatment for their child that the entire city has to offer?
It was argued by Oberstein that Google should be developing a less formulaic and more dynamci algorithm for the Local Pack that can better reflect or capture the potential intent of the searcher.