How to Optimize for Google’s Local Pack?

Optimize for Google’s Local Pack

Online businesses and marketers focus heavily on Google when vying for traffic, and with a good reason: it offers users the best results for their queries. Rumour also has it that the world’s favorite search engine gets more than 70% of the search market share, regularly updates its algorithm, and offers critical organic or paid search opportunities. That means Google’s local pack can be a great place to start driving more traffic to your local business. Thanks to a few new features (Pigeon update and Local 3-Pack), your small, local business can even rank higher than national businesses for local-related searches.

About Google’s 3-Pack Display 

Google’s 3-Pack is the way it displays the top results for a local business search. Search for the nearest furniture store in your area, and you will notice three local businesses that Google deems sufficiently relevant, important, and close in proximity to you.

Based on your geo-location, Google will cover the most relevant furniture stores in your area. Typically, the Local 3-Pack is displayed above the other organic listings results and can take up a huge chunk of space on Google’s result page.

Google’s local pack was first introduced in 2014 and has been constantly improved to provide relevant search results for queries that include localized keywords since then.

At first, the local pack featured no more than 10 results but later, they were reduced to only 3. It made more sense for local optimization and usability on small screens on mobile devices.

How Google Ranks Sites for Local Searches

If you’re a business operating in a localized area, then you need to utilize Google’s new features in day-to-day work. It’s important that you get familiar with Google’s local pack and local SEO essentials. You can do that alone or by hiring a professional SEO agency in London to handle everything for you, from local keyword research to on-site optimization.

Perhaps one of the most convenient reasons to get your business on the local pack of results is that people searching for your product/service are ready to buy them. Optimizing your site for local search can potentially bring you a higher ROI (return on investment) than any other marketing strategy. With that in mind, let us show you how Google defines local rankings.

Before choosing who to rank in the uppermost of local results, Google takes three important factors into consideration:

  1. Relevance of the site – how well the results match the keywords that a user searched.
  2. Distance – How close someone is to the location of your business.
  3. Prominence and trustworthiness – That’s usually determined by your business’ image. Google usually tries to reflect the credibility and popularity of a business both in the online and offline world.

But Google uses more than just three factors to determine ranking in the local pack. There are all sorts of signals that support Google in establishing which business deserves a rank for local searches. According to Passion Digital, the most important local ranking signals are:

  • GMB signals
  • Link signals
  • Citation signals
  • On-page signals
  • Review signals
  • Personalization
  • Social signals

Managing all these signals may not be simple, but you can get that coveted #0 spot in Google with a little work on your local SEO.

Optimizing for Google Local 3-Packs 

  • Optimize your website 

Optimizing your website’s speed, content, and link architecture is the only first step toward getting a place in the SERPs. The real work lies in improving your site to drive more traffic and win leads. Here, mobile responsiveness plays a key role in how search engines and users see your website. In fact, 61% of users will choose a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. But there’s more to a Google/user-friendly site than just that:

  • Speed: The first five seconds of page-load time can make or break your conversion rates. If your business’s website takes more than five seconds to load, it will get a high bounce rate and thus a lower rank in the search results.
  • Content: Publish value-adding content like blog posts and educational guides. Research and embed keywords as anchor texts to link your internal site pages. Avoid fluff and phrases in your articles that do nothing to support your argument or to help readers.
  • Links: If you publish value-adding content, other sites will cite it, thus building your off-site credibility in the SERPs.
  • Optimize Your Google My Business Profile 

More than 64% of netizens use GMB to find local details about a local shop. With this rate set to scale in the next few years, you can surely predict the potential of the GMB profile for your local ranking. As we’re previously mentioned, an optimized GMB profile is an equally important factor in Google’s local pack. To increase your reach, pay attention to the following features:

  • NAPW: Your business’s name, address, phone number, and website are the first things that users look for. Make sure you add accurate and updated details. Also, don’t forget to complete the forms for business hours and descriptions so that people can better understand the services you deal in.
  • Reviews: More than 87% of netizens factor in ratings and online reviews before trying out a local shop or restaurant. This should be a good reason to publish your ratings on your GMB profile. 
  • Category: To ensure Google correctly matches your business with the local queries, use this column to describe the exact services you offer. For instance, if you have a Chinese restaurant in Colorado, use “ Chinese food” and “Chinese food delivery” rather than restaurant and restaurant delivery.
  • Attribute: The attribute feature can help businesses provide information about specific facilities they do or don’t offer. You can offer details about your dining and delivery services. These attributes can be “takeaway” or “curbside pickup”, making it easier for customers to pick a service that caters to their unique needs.

With the right settings and accurate details, Google’s local pack can offer you incredible opportunities for business growth. While Google does its best to rank the most relevant local businesses in its 3-pack, the rest depends on you.

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