Google Keeps delivering results on a more and more personalized granular basis for location results getting to the zip code level at an increasing level. I've noticed that this percentage keeps increasing as time moves on. You can see it in adwords, you might recognize this in analytics in that geo descriptions of the location for a search are creating further breakdowns of existing towns (ie North Bethesda and Bethesda rather than just Bethesda) and you can see it via searches.
A number of months ago I was struck by comments made by +Katherine Watier Ong
about personalized results. The process is continuing and expanding.
Over time as I look at location data for accounts in adwords I see an increasing percentage of locations identified by zip codes. You can find this information by going to the dimensions button in adwords than clicking on the geo choice in the drop down selections. This year as compared to last year we see over 50% of all locations for impressions identified by zip code level.
For a local account over the last 3 months with almost 100,000 impressions more than half had zip code location data. On a local basis for impressions for Washington DC over half had zip code locations.
From a search perspective if you search for local businesses that are somewhat ubiquitous, florists being a good example, keep changing your zip code in the search tools link/button. Try DC. Use a couple of different zip codes. You'll see different florists turning up first in the PAC results. Try some other cities. You'll find changing results in the organic results and the PAC results.
From a business and an SEO perspective it creates new perspectives. A business with strong signals on the location side can "expand" its strong visibility and high rankings versus competitors. It takes a lot of work to create stronger local signals....but it works.
From a business perspective its very interesting from an overall marketing perspective. For instance with the most recent test using adwords and focusing on search impressions from DC we can identify zip codes that generate more searches. That is great deep data research. For the business in question we can look at the address information from our proprietary information about leads and sales...and now we can see google data about searches from select zip codes. When we see a zip where we have a lot of leads, a lot of sales and this additional information about a lot of searches...we know with increased certitude that the particular zip code is a fertile ground for our services.
It has spurred us to develop enhanced marketing including non web marketing into the zips in particular.
Its very great data and worth exploring for local smbs and services. Take a look at it.