Online Marketing

Kerry Sweeney Posted by Kerry Sweeney on October 07, 2015

New Google Local 3-Pack Narrows the Local Keyword Research Playing Field

New Google Local 3-Pack Narrows the Local Keyword Research Playing Field

Has Google changed the face of local search results?

Never a dull moment at Google means no boring moments for us, which by now shouldn’t surprise us, right? Well, they’ve gone and done it again, disrupted our quiet, peaceful internet experience by changing the face of local SEO.

At the beginning of August, a soundless, understated event began to emerge across local search results everywhere.

Did you notice?Google 3 Pack

Google has replaced the usual 7-packs that normally showed up in the local business search results with 3-packs in the desktop search results. It wasn’t too noticeable at first, but as the days wore on, 3-packs quickly eradicated all existing 7-packs across all vertical markets and throughout every country worldwide.

So thanks to Google, you can say goodbye to 7-packs and say hello to the new, trendy 3-packs.

What is a Google Local Pack?

When you do local searches in Google, the group of listings that appears with the business’ name, address and phone number was referred to as a 7-pack because it listed 7 locations. The local pack is very important to local businesses because it tells consumers where to shop and do business.

Now, as the push towards mobile usage continues to grow at an exponential rate, Google has altered their desktop search results to appear almost identical to the mobile-specific local search results of the new 3-pack.

Despite what you search for, it is those three specific spaces that are the targeted real estate for a mobile user, along with the Google map that appears for some local queries.

Google 3 Pack Mobile How does this affect my business in local searches?

Before this latest update, local listings appeared in packs of 7, indicating that more local businesses had a better chance of landing on the first search results page, even if they didn't do well organically.

Now the game has changed and the move to 3-pack listings clearly makes competition for that page-one listing even tougher. The good news is the same things that influenced local search rankings before, are influencing rankings now; it’s just the playing field that’s a little smaller.

It is important now more than ever to focus aggressively on improving your local online presence. The following tips can help you rank in both organic and local search packs. Set your goal to rank in the Top 3, beyond that and you may miss out on traffic.

  • Add Schema markup
  • Optimize and make sure all business information is correct on your Google My Business account
  • Audit and optimize relevant directory listings
  • Use blog content to build backlinks by way of list posts and roundups
  • Add business location to the site’s meta descriptions
  • Make sure the address is prominently listed on the business website
  • Audit and optimize the business’s social media channels and ensure that all of the account information, name, address, phone number (NAP) and profiles are complete and correct
  • Get reviews, because quality, quantity and diversity are local ranking factors which will help your site stand out against the competition in the local packs

It is important to start with the basics of boosting your local online presence first before launching into additional or costly SEO efforts that may drive traffic to your site. If your business information and NAP isn’t listed anywhere or isn’t correct, then the efforts to become a member of Google’s 3-pack and drive more traffic to your site will be wasted.


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