Local search engine optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in making your business more visible to local consumers. When users search for a local business, search results appear based on metrics that measure relevance. This produces the best results that match the user’s intent. Google displays these results at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in groups of three, which is called the Google 3 pack.
Forty-six percent of all searches on Google are local in nature. When a local search is performed, the Local 3 Pack appears at the top of SERPs 93 percent of the time. With zero-click purchases on the rise, having your business appear on the Local 3 Pack boosts your visibility significantly.
In today’s uncertain times, building your local search presence should be your number one priority to attract nearby customers to your business and drive more sales. Fifty percent of users visit a store within a day after seeing the business on local search. Nearly 80 percent of local searches result in conversions.
Today, we’ll dive into the details around the Google 3 pack. We’ll aim to answer the following questions:
⇾ What is Google Local Pack?
⇾ Why is ranking in the Local 3 Pack important for small businesses?
⇾ Does ranking in the Google three pack affect local SEO?
⇾ How do you optimize your business to appear in the Google three pack?
What is Google Local Pack?
The Google Local 3 Pack is Google’s way of displaying the top three results for local searches. When you search for a local business, Google generates a list of possible businesses that match your query and location. For instance, if you search for “dentists near me” or “dentists [location],” you get a result showing the top three dentists in your area.
A Google Local Pack listing contains critical business information that a user could be searching for when performing a local search. These include:
⇾ Phone number
⇾ Business address
⇾ Price range
⇾ Open hours
⇾ Website link
⇾ Location on the map
Why is the Google Local 3 Pack Important for Local Businesses?
Google places a high priority on user experience (UX). This commitment is evident in its recent announcement towards making UX a ranking factor for SEO. In line with this commitment, Google aims to provide users with all the information they need without going far.
As a brick and mortar business, you rely on actual visitors to your location to generate revenue. As an online business, the more you appear on local searches, the more visitors you get. But 50 percent of search queries are now resolved without a single click. That means users don’t look past SERPs to find answers to their questions, which could lead to a significant drop in traffic numbers for your website when you rely solely on click-throughs. That’s why ranking on the Google three pack matters most.
But before making an actual visit, 56 percent of people will search for a local store using their mobile browser. Forty-four percent of the time, they’ll use mapping software to find the business they’re looking for. With all the information they need already in your Local Pack listing, you effectively make your business more visible to your customers.
“Many people use map applications and business directories to find restaurants, local services and locations of car washes or hotels and never even visit the website,” said Thrive SEO Strategist Matt Garrett. “Having correct and attractive information on listings can earn you a lot of business, sometimes even more than your website can.”
Appearing in the Google Local Pack matters because it results in more foot traffic, which means more business for you. In the past two years, “near me” mobile searches have gone up by as much as 200 percent. Over 50 percent of those searches result in a physical store visit because Google users trust the three-pack more than ads or even organic results.
Does Local SEO Impact Your Google 3 pack Local Ranking?
When displaying results for the three-pack, Google looks for three ranking factors, namely:
⇾ Relevance – how well a local business’s profile matches the query
⇾ Distance – the proximity of the user to the location of the business
⇾ Prominence – how well-known a business is
Google accounts for several factors when determining three-pack rankings. But the biggest determining factor is user location, which is the distance of the business from the user. In a search for “Plumbers in Seattle,” SEO Powersuite found that searches from two people in generally the same area, but miles apart resulted in different listings.
According to Moz Research, signals from Google My Business (GMB) as well as relevant links, on-page elements and reviews are all ranking factors for local SEO. Businesses that are optimized for SEO tend to perform well in Google 3 pack local rankings.
“Google My Business and other directories give verification to search listings that your business is legitimate,” said Garrett. “It’s something that can help ranking against competitors who aren’t utilizing the same directories.”
SEO best practices still come into play when ranking for the Google 3 pack local rankings. Rio SEO found that when businesses performed well in organic rankings, they performed well on local rankings as well.
How to Get in the Google 3 pack
Do you want to learn how to get in the Google 3 pack? Here are a few tips to optimize your business to show up in the coveted top three:
1. Optimize your Google My Business profile
Your GMB profile is your customers’ primary source of information about your business. Optimizing your GMB profile gives Google critical information about your business, enabling your listing to show up for relevant searches in your area. Offering your customers information improves your business’s visibility, allowing your customers to find you when they need to.
“[GMB profile optimization] offers opportunities to stay on-brand off-site and get additional conversions, provide insight and detail to your customers about your location, your business practices and how people review you,” added Garrett.
Here are some best practices to follow to keep your GMB profile optimized according to Google:
• Keep your information complete, up to date and engaging. Provide essential information that enables your customers to find where you are, understand what you do, times when they can visit and how they can get in touch with you.
• Make sure your location is verified. Follow these steps to claim or add your location on Google Maps.
• Add your local operating hours and update it regularly. Information about when you open and close and whether you’re open on holidays and special events lets your customers know when they can visit your store.
• Attach photos of your business. Upload high-resolution photos for your profile image, cover photo and location.
• Manage and respond to your reviews. Responding to reviews tells customers that you care about their feedback, which helps generate positive reviews and adds social proof.
Google My Business elements impact Google Local 3 Pack rankings more than any other factor. Make GMB profile management a priority in your brand’s local marketing strategy.
2. Make your website more responsive
Google places a high priority on UX. In 2015, Google released an update called the “mobile-friendly update,” which saw mobile-responsive websites receiving a massive boost in rankings. In 2019, mobile users accounted for over 53.3 percent of all internet traffic. So it’s no wonder mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor in Google 3 pack.
A responsive website is one where:
⇾ Text, images and video load quickly.
⇾ Web pages adapt to the user’s screen, regardless of the mobile device used.
⇾ All animations load flawlessly.
⇾ Navigating between pages is easy.
Making your website more responsive effectively strengthens your business’s local presence, which directly impacts your bottom line. Thirty percent of all mobile searches have local intent. Seventy-six percent of those who searched for business information on their smartphones visit the store within the day.
Not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly? Use this tool to analyze your website.
3. Add reviews to your profile
Online reviews improve business visibility because users actively search for them before deciding on a purchase. Eighty-six percent of consumers say they read reviews for local businesses, while 15 percent say they don’t trust businesses without reviews. Not only are reviews a factor in establishing trust. They are also a ranking factor in three-pack listings.
Google doesn’t immediately show reviews in three-pack listings. But they do show the number of reviews your business has alongside your star rating, which quantifies how many people trust your business. Eighty-four percent of consumers trust and treat them as personal recommendations. Eighty-two percent of consumers won’t trust businesses with less than three stars.
“Google doesn’t want to send searchers to bad businesses, so good reviews can help keep your listing converting and keep it afloat,” said Garrett.
When you have good reviews, you attract more people to your listing, which boosts foot traffic. Boost your credibility by managing your online reviews.
In this blog post, we answered the question, “What is Google Local Pack?”. We also talked about how your local business can benefit from ranking in the three-pack and how you can optimize your business, so it appears more in the three-pack and in local searches.
You can never overstate the impact of local SEO on your business. In today’s trying times, your business can benefit significantly from a boosted local presence. This will help you attract more customers and improve revenue generation.
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is your partner in local SEO. Get started on your journey towards a robust local presence by giving us a call at (866) 906-4748 or scheduling a free consultation using this form.