Google’s local 3 pack

Mobile search has drastically changed search engine results pages in recent years, with an increase in users looking for locally relevant information while on the move. Smartphones are able to deliver location information to search engines; ensuring users get location-specific results to their search. Queries like ‘nearest Italian restaurant’ and ‘pubs near me’ are some of the most popular searches carried out on Google, so it is no wonder there is a growing importance for local businesses to optimize their information accordingly.


With only three spaces available within the ‘local pack’ displayed at the top of a search results page, it has become even more important for businesses to invest time in optimizing for local SEO, such as by creating their ‘Google My Business’ listing, submitting their business to local directories or using local structured data markup in order to secure a top spot.


What is the local SEO 3 pack?

The ‘local SEO 3 pack’, or local pack, is the list of the top three organic results displayed in search results when there is a localized intent. The results are displayed in a large map with the top three business or venues marked with balloons, indicating their location. The results also display a snapshot of information for the company, including quick links to call them, access the website and get directions to the location.


Google 3 Pack

As well as contact information, Google has introduced reviews and photographs, giving users the opportunity to see star ratings and images next to your business name. Customers have autonomy to include their own images as well as add reviews to your business profile. These additions,  could make a real  difference to your business.  Whilst you may not have much control over what customers say in the reviews, it is highly recommended that you are seen to respond to them.


Why is it important to be included in the Local pack?

As well as greater exposure to a business, being featured in the top 3 for local search results is one of the best ways to increase local organic traffic to a website, as many studies have indicated the click through rate for the top businesses featured is considerably higher. There was initially more opportunity for businesses to benefit from local search results, as the pack was longer, with seven listings. However, when Google rolled out the Pigeon update, the results page appearance drastically changed, reducing the display to just three local listings. This is in part due to the fact that a list of 7 results didn’t display very well on mobile. Three looks much better.


Reducing the local pack has minimized the opportunity for local businesses to gain free exposure. If you run a local business or restaurant, being featured in the local pack is one the more important aspects of search engine optimization, as previously mentioned, most users click on the first results they find.


How to increase your opportunity in being featured

Listing your company on ‘Google my Business’ will ensure the most accurate information is displayed for your business. Having consistent details such as business or company name, address and phone number is really important, as Google will identify the consistency (or inconsistency) of information related to your business across your website and other places on the internet.


If Google can’t identify consistent information relating to a business, they will display the information they deem most relevant which could be inaccurate and detrimental to your business. Although there is no real certainty that a business will be listed in local search results, there are a couple of things Google have stated that can increase the opportunity of your business gaining the exposure it deserves:


  • Confirm the exact location with a Google My Business code, sent by post to your business address
  • Add photos of the business/venue
  • Encourage customers and/or visitors to write reviews on Google
  • Make sure all of business information such as opening hours and phone numbers is accurate


There are of course, lots of other SEO factors that will impact the success of your local SEO and levels of organic traffic, but ensuring your website is mobile-friendly and has relevant local links built will increase the opportunity of being displayed within this local pack. Industry expects have long speculated that Google will soon look to monetize on this organic listings space, and they have already started to introduce adverts among the organic listings.


For now, it is highly worth investing some time into ensuring you have optimized your website and business information if you want to stand the best chance of being featured within the local 3 pack for free.

Copyright: gilc / 123RF Stock Photo

Local Search Tips


So you are planning to improve your local SEO, right?


Local SEO techniques are very important to drive more prospects through your entryways. By enhancing particular parts of your site, you build the chances of discovering you and your business in local search results.


3 Important items for Great Local Visibility


If you want to boost the result of your local SEO, you have to concentrate on three things: on page signals, profile pages as well as inbound links.


Number 1: Concentrate on On-Page Signals


  • Set up your name, phone number and address. It will help search engines and your target audience to find you and your business.
  • Create your local pages. Your location page should include unique store descriptions, transit information, testimonials, promotions and more.
  • Publish relevant content. Create a blog and promote local news and other educational content related to your industry.


Number 2: Create Profile Pages


  • Create Google+ local pages. Use Google map maker to remove duplicate listings.
  • Use review handout generator to get reviews from your customers about your product and services.
  • Do some SEO for your business categories. You can easily do it using Google+ local profiles. You can do some research to find out most effective business categories for your business.


Number 3: Generate Inbound Links, external links and citations


  • Inbound links, external links as well as citations, all are important to improve your local SEO. Hire an SEO Company to do the job for you.
  • Try to build directory citations for Yelp, Apple, Bing, Google+ and more. Make sure the citations are consistent and remove all duplicate links.
  • Start to earn local links. You can join local events or can create content worth linking.


More Tips to Improve Your Local SEO


Research your Keywords


The initial step is to locate the right keywords that your customers use to discover you. Depending on the amount of rivalry you have, it might be dubious to rank for your most essential expression or keywords. However, it’s easier to rank for specific terms, or even “long tail” keywords. Search your keywords with local modifiers. For example, if your business is related to digital marketing and your company is located in Orange County then search the traffic volume of keyword like “Digital Marketing Orange County”. Here “Orange County” is local modifier.


Use Social Media


Social signs are additionally essential for page positions. Each time somebody likes, comments, shares, or even follow a post, picture, or video, it sends a social sign to internet searchers, which will offer you some assistance with gaining validity on your website. Try to be active on as many social media platforms as possible and communicate with followers regularly.


Optimize Your Site


One of the most important things you can do for your business is to create high quality content. Nowadays content is very important for both visitors as well as search engines. You can upgrade your Meta description using your keywords. This is normally what Google will distribute on the web crawler results page, so make it welcoming and easy to understand. You can also modify your Meta title. Use local modifiers in your title, description and your landing pages content.


 Claim Business in Local Business Directories


A critical part of enhancing your local rankings includes your business profiles. You have to secure your Google My Business page, previously known as Google Places. Ensure the data is up to date and continually changes as your local business does.


Add your site to local business directories with correct and consistent (NAP) name, address and phone. This is most important to create a Google local listing. This listing will give your site ranking benefits in Google local search.


Be Consistent


Neither Bing nor Google like conflicting lists of your business on the web, and irregularity can have a negative impact on your business.


That is the reason you need to be reliable when you list your business details — like the precise wording of your business name, physical address, and your telephone number — across all your sites.


Local Outreach


One awesome approach to drive attention for your business is to get other individuals to discuss and link to you. What’s more, in the event that they haven’t done that yet, you can connect with them or figure out how to make them discuss you.


You can utilize Google Webmaster Tools or even Open Site Explorer to see who is connected to you now. This may give you some motivation to discover new places that can easily offer you exposure.


That’s it! Quality links, correctly used keywords and local pages can do a lot for you. Just try a couple of these local SEO tips. Your site will probably see an increment in local business soon.


About Navid Tayebi:

Navid Tayebi is the founder of CreativeOver.Com, a digital marketing firm located in Orange County, CA that primarily focuses on providing digital marketing solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. His areas of expertise are refinement and development of marketing goals, promotional activities, pricing strategies and branding. You can find Navid on Twitter, Linkedin, Google + and Facebook.