Search Marketing

Why the Google local SEO 3 pack matters to your local business

Jan 22, 2020
Reading Time: 5minutes

Whether you’re a bricks and mortar business or an online retailer selling locally, appearing in Google’s local SEO 3 pack is a must.

If you haven’t one already it’s time to adopt a local SEO strategy.

  • What is the Google Local SEO 3 Pack?
  • What has changed?
  • How does it impact your local business?
  • 6 ways on how to adjust your local SEO strategy
    Why the Google local SEO 3 pack matters to your local business 1

What is the Google Local SEO 3 Pack?

If you type “digital marketing tallinn” into Google right now, you will get a list of marketing agencies in your area of town. Google wants to provide the information that is most relevant to you, so the agencies most relevant to you will be displayed – in other words, depending on your geographical location will determine which marketing agency listings will be displayed.

These listings are at the top of the page in a special list accompanied by a map.

For example:

Why the Google local SEO 3 pack matters to your local business 2
These listings are known as the Local SEO 3 Pack.

Why has Google changed to the Local SEO 3 Pack?

Before the 3 listings were displayed – Google showed seven local companies in a list form, known as the 7 pack, meaning that more local businesses had a chance to squeeze into the first search results page, even if they didn’t perform well organically.

Google’s decision to show fewer listings appears to be motivated by mobile. 3 Pack search results make desktop searches mirror those on mobile with additional space for map results and reviews, but the caveat is fewer contenders for the top rankings.

However, as mentioned above search results are localised, meaning that the local SEO three-pack changes considerably by dependent on searchers locations.

You can expand the “More Places” section below the local SEO 3 pack and these results appear to be unaffected in local search results. This leaves ample opportunity for businesses that don’t make the top three to still make it in the top search results.

Why the Google local SEO 3 pack matters to your local business 3
Expanded list

How does the Local SEO 3 Pack impact your business?

If your business was in positions 4-7 then you will now not likely see your company listed for certain search terms. Several businesses we have spoken to have seen a reduction in their online traffic and telephone calls to their business because they are now no longer listed.

Yet, others we conducted research with have said that although they do not get as much traffic, the quality of their leads or inquiries has been better.

This could be attributed to Google removing the telephone numbers on the 7 Pack – so to contact the company you must expand the “More Places” section that displays the telephone numbers – this list displays 20 companies so don’t despair – the Local SEO 3 Pack is not negative for every company.

How to adjust your local SEO strategy

1# Fill out your Google My Business page correctly

Most of the information for your local business (including your address, phone number, images, street view and so on.) is taken from your Google My Business page.

So if you have not done already, start by claiming your Google My Business listing and fill out as much as possible including the important following details:

  1. Add a long, unique description that’s formatted correctly and includes links.
  2. Choose the correct categories for your business.
  3. Upload a high-resolution profile image and cover photo.
  4. Upload as many photos as possible.
  5. Add a local phone number to your listing.
  6. Add your business address that’s consistent with the address on your website and local directories.
  7. If your staff do not mind, add images of them as well. Personalisation goes a long way when choosing a local company to do business with.

2# Earn positive Google Reviews

Google has removed phone numbers and exact addresses from search results but starred reviews remain. Therefore, businesses hoping to both crack the top three and see traffic from that ranking need to make sure they’ve got a high volume of good reviews.

And these are not only Google reviews, but also reviews on local directory pages like Yelp (currently used by Apple maps).

3# Pay attention to your ‘open’ and ‘closing’ hours

Each local business listing’s snippet now includes the business’s working hours. Depending on the time a searcher begins to search, the searcher will see the following information:

‘Closes at ___ ‘

‘Closes soon’

‘Opens at ___’

‘Closed now’

Ensure you indicate your company’s correct opening hours on your Google My Business page. Best not to leave it open all hours if you have no intention to do so – because if a searcher calls your business and you do not respond – they can report the information as incorrect and you’ll damage your brand. 

4# Specialise your brand

To make sure you’re turning up in relevant local searches above your competitors, you should make search terms as specific as possible.

If you’re not in the top three results then reposition the brand as more specialist. In other words, avoid trying to rank for “restaurant” – try for “indian restaurant”. Rather than “builder” – try for “conservatory builder.”

The aim is to be as specific as possible for what locals search for – then it’ll be more likely you will appear in the local SEO 3 pack.

5# Improve your on-page SEO

Another vital local SEO factor for listings is your pages’ content, so try to maximise the most value out of it.

Try to add your City/Region, plus a relevant keyword, within these elements of your landing page.

– Title tag
– H1 tag
– H2 tag
– Page URL
– Page content
– Image ALT attributes

Plus, embedding a Google map with your business marker into your landing page will also aid local SEO listings.

Read more about on-page SEO here.

6# Build local backlinks

Link building within local SEO campaigns is incredibly important. Compared to standard SEO campaigns, local SEO relies much more on links from other local websites that are really relevant to your business.

For example, if you are a local plumber, listing on plumber web directories that display your address is a must – as this adds strength to the local search results.

The same with Yelp and Yellow page related directories. Meaning that besides focusing on driving search traffic to your website, you can earn additional visibility by building a solid business presence on leading local directories within your industry.

Google’s local SEO 3 pack is designed to be a better, more relevant browsing experience for searchers. It’s up to you and your local business to ensure that you are relevant to their search.

Should you need more advice about local SEO then reach out to us and we’ll be happy to discuss further.