As SEO specialists in Allen, Texas, we keep a close eye on any tweaks and upgrades in the way Google displays the search results. For example, back in 2015, Google introduced a significant shift to how it shows top local search results. Prior to this update, the search giant grouped the top seven results for a local search into their own panel at the top of the SERP (search engine result page) called the “7-Pack.” The new update, however, reduced those seven results to only three and restructured the panel format as well.
Defining the Google Local 3-Pack
The Google Local 3-Pack is the method used by Google to display the top three search results that are relevant to the location where the user submitted the search request. For example, if a user went online looking for “restaurants near Allen, Texas,” the Local 3-Pack would only display three restaurants in Allen. At a glance, the user will get to see the name, address and phone number or (NAP) as well as open or closed status (and closing time, if applicable), number of reviews and overall ratings for each of the three restaurants that Google has deemed to be most relevant to the search query.
It goes without saying that the Local 3-Pack is a highly desirable piece of real estate for small regional businesses, all the more so in crowded local markets. Displayed prominently at or near the very top of the SERP, it contains all the necessary information that a motivated customer requires to take action and meet their immediate needs. With just one click, they can get driving directions to the business, call one of their store locations, or check out their website. The convenience offered to online users, combined with enhanced visibility, means that doubling down on Google Local-3 Pack as a major aspect of your local SEO solutions can be highly rewarding.
Now, the question is…
How do you get your website into the Google Local 3-Pack?
We will start by saying that you cannot exclusively optimize for the Google Local 3-Pack because the search results tend to vary depending on where the user is located. That being said, you can optimize your web presence in such a way as to increase your odds of turning up in the Local 3-Pack when it comes up to a search query that is applicable to your local business.
Here are four key areas that you need to focus your efforts on in order to improve the possibility to show up in the Google Local 3-Pack.
1. Google My Business Listing
Somewhere around 25 percent of the weight of your local 3-Pack ranking signals belongs to Google My Business — far more than any other signal category. That is why Google My Business management should be an integral component of your brand’s local search engine optimization game plan.
As is the case with just about every other type of local listing management, the accuracy and consistency of your information is important. See, inaccurate or inconsistent information has the potential to result in negative customer experiences (e.g. if the customer drives to a closed store because your local business listing did not mention the closing times) and this may result in Google trusting your business a little less than before. So, have a consistent Name / Address / Phone Number (NAP) across various online local directories. Other ways to optimize your Google My Business listing are:
- Fill out all available sections of the GMB dashboard for each of your business locations
- Select the appropriate business categories
- Don’t forget to incorporate high resolution photos and videos
2. Quality Reviews
Did you know that reviews make up for about 15 percent of the weighting in Google’s evaluation of your local business listing for the local 3-Pack? Well, now you know where to invest most of your time and effort. But how do you get quality reviews on your listing? Here’s what you can do:
- Monitor online reviews across the brand within a single dashboard. Real-time listening and engagement can contribute to the growth and protection of the brand while at the same time, highlighting areas for improvement in specific locations.
- Be respectful and honest when responding to your reviews. Blaming your customer or belittling a bad reviewer (even if their review is completely off base) can do more harm than good.
3. Quality Local Links
Being active on local listing sites could very well be the single most important factor for performing successfully in the local search and thus, appearing on the Google local 3-Pack. These listing sites may include sites for churches, community bulletin boards or the local Chamber of Commerce. The more you can show up in these listings, the more trust Google places on your business.
4. Mobile Devices
As pointed out earlier, the reason why Google made the jump from a 7-Pack design to a 3-Pack one was because of their efforts to optimize the local search experience for mobile users. Google is pushing sites to become more mobile-friendly, as the number of internet users on mobile devices is dramatically increasing with each passing day. This means that optimizing your site for mobile devices is an easy way to get in Google’s good books and thereby, in the Local 3-Pack.
Making an appearance in the Google Local 3-Pack brings more attention to your local business and improves your growth prospects. Keep the above tips in mind when creating your digital presence to maximize your odds of showing up on the top of local search results. If you need additional assistance, you can contact the team of SEO experts at Click4Corp today! We can provide you with a detailed free SEO report with clear, actionable, prioritized list of recommendations to help improve your local search rankings.