Differences Between Strict (Bounds) & Not-Strict (Radius) Location Search Settings
What are Strict (Bounds) and Not-Strict (Radius) searches?
There are 5 different types of locations that can be searched for on the site (with the alternate names used in some countries in parenthesis):
- States (provinces)
- Cities (towns, suburbs, etc)
- Zip Codes (postcodes / postal codes)
As the Administrator of a site, it is possible to choose what kind of search is done for each of these types of locations - a Strict (Bounds) search or a Not Strict (Radius) search.
By default, postal codes (Zip Codes) and cities use a Not-Strict (Radius) search, and counties, states, and countries use a Strict (Bounds) search:
Not-Strict (Radius) Search
A not-strict (radius) search means that the system will get the latitude/longitude of the center of the searched location, and then return all members within the Default Search Radius set for the site (50 miles by default). To modify the Default Search Radius, navigate to the Settings >> General Settings >> Search Settings tab in the Admin:
Strict (Bounds) Search
A strict (bounds) search returns all of the members within a square area that contains the entirety of a searched location. This is how searches for a county, state, or country are set to be searched by default.
For example, a radius search for the zip code "90210" will grab the latitude and longitude of the center of that zip code and return all members within the Default Search Radius (50 miles) of that point.
As another example, a bounds search for the zip code "90210" will return all of the members within the bounds of that zip code, along with any members that are outside the zip code but inside the square that contains the zip code.
A visual example of this can be seen in the image down below, where a Strict City location search has been conducted with the value "Duluth":
Smart Default Settings
As mentioned above, a strict (bounds) search for zip codes will "return all of the members within the bounds of that zip code, along with any members that are outside the zip code but inside the square that contains the zip code".
However, with the recommended default settings of "Bounds" for countries and states, the system is smart enough to exclude any members that are outside the searched location, even if they are contained within the box that contains the searched location.
For example, searching for "Los Angeles County", the system will only return results that are inside of Los Angeles County, even if there are members that are outside of Los Angeles County, but inside the box that contains it.
Showing the distance from a searched location to each listing in search results
As mentioned above, not-strict (radius) searches will return everything within a radius from a fixed point, typically the center of a city or zip code. Since the system can calculate the distance of each member from this fixed point, it can display information about how far away each member is from that point.
For example, this is a search result for the zip code "90210":
This is the distance this listing is from the center of the zip code "90210".
However, using a strict (bounds) search for zip codes and cities, there will be no distance information returned ("2.1 mi away" for example), because there is no point to calculate this from - it simply returns the results inside the bounds of the searched area.
Editing the Strict (Bounds) & Not-Strict (Radius) Location Search Settings for each type of location search
To change the settings of any type of locations search, navigate to Settings >> General Settings >> Search Settings: