What Google’s Changes Mean To Local Pack Search Results
Since 2009 up until recently, Google has kept marketing firms, advertising companies, and web designers out of Local results in many markets. Related queries were excluded from local packs. For instance, a search for “marketing firm Mississauga” would not show a map or Local listing. However, Google has made the decision to start including them once again. There is no confirmation that SEO companies are actually back in the search engine giant’s good graces, so there is uncertainty as to whether this inclusion will last.
The reason Google was giving for excluding local results for web design and SEO related queries is because they felt that it would be an “accurate representation of user intent”. There were still a few instances here and there when such queries were still included, although it didn’t happen often.
For the time being, there appears to be no exclusions.
What is Google Local Pack?
The local pack includes the three business results that you see at the top of the page whenever you perform a local search. A map is displayed with markers indicating the location of the three businesses. The Local Pack used to include seven businesses, but Google now only displays three and provides the option to view more.
This reduction means that getting your listings optimized is more important than ever before. Unlike the ads that are displayed to the right of the page, Google receives no money for Local Pack displays. Since the latter aren’t marked as “ads”, people tend to trust them better. Local listings are considered to be the most relevant by consumers.
On a mobile device, the Local Map Pack takes up the entire screen. In order to see all the other results, users have to scroll down.
Optimizing for Local Searches
No matter what kind of business you run, you will have to do some form of optimizing for local searches. Even if your business isn’t local specific, it’s still important that you participate in local optimization. One of the fundamental aspects of search marketing is to give consumers enough information about your company to decide if you are offering what they need.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being listed in the Local Pack:
– Fill out your Google Maps listing in details. Be sure to include the address and phone number.
– Encourage satisfied consumers to leave you star ratings and reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask.
– If you have a store, be sure to include the hours on your local listings.
– If you do businesses in multiple cities, create an individual listing for each city, and optimize each page with keywords that are specific to that particular city.
– Avoid recycling the same information over and over again. Each page should have its own unique copy.
– Each page should also contain an embedded Google map and Schema markup on the address, telephone number, and company name.
– Optimize your profile listings on not only Google Business, but on Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc… as well.
Even if your company is displayed in the Local Pack results, it will still be appearing with competitors. You should work hard to make your business the most trustworthy and reliable.