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In early August of 2015, Google made some big changes that are affecting local businesses nationwide. Google changed the way their local pack is ranked and displayed.
What’s a local pack you ask?
I’m sure we have all searched for restaurants or nearby places to eat using Google. When you search, a wonderful little box comes up with different places to eat—score! This little box that has restaurants, ratings, hours, etc. is Google’s local pack.
This doesn’t work for just restaurants; it works for local companies like plumbers, HVAC contractors, home improvement companies, and more!
Google’s Aug. 2015 Local Pack Update—What Changed?
At the beginning of August, the local pack went from showing seven listings to only showing three. It cut it by more than half! So, how does this change affect your businesses online visibility?
Since there are only three listings instead of seven, this means optimizing your online presence for maximum search engine visibility is even more crucial than it was before.
The local pack is based on location and IP address. If you are on your desktop computer and search, “HVAC company in X city” and search the same exact phrase on your mobile phone, chances are you may get different results (I did!). So, while the change does affect the number of listings shown, remember that these listings are not concrete and can change per person.
Remember, you most likely won’t make the list for every user (because it’s based on location and IP address) but it is essential you get your business seen on the top of Google. Users are more likely to click on the first few businesses shown rather than scroll to the bottom of the first page or page two. Whether you are number one or number three in the local pack, being a part of the local pack increases your visibility, which could can result in more website traffic and more leads!
A recent study from SEOClarity saw that with the recent changes, 93 percent of the time one of the results in the three pack will rank as number one on Google. This is a huge increase compared to before where there was only a 25% chance that the old seven pack would show the #1 ranked site.
New Three Pack Look
Google is all about user friendliness. This is why it also adds if this business is open, closed, or even closing soon. These new features make it extremely important to have accurate and consistent information on your Google+ page and throughout the web.
How Do I Make Sure My Business Shows Up in Google’s Local Three Pack?
To improve your rankings on Google’s local pack, you first need to have excellent local SEO. There are several things to look at when improving local SEO.
- Make sure you have accuracy and consistency with your NAP, or name, address, and phone number. In Google’s eyes, having a businesses with multiple phone numbers listed and multiple business names is spammy; therefore, they will avoid it when placing it in the local pack.
- Always list your address and phone number on your website. If you are an HVAC contractor that services multiple locations, add those cities or towns as well. This will improve the likelihood you will land a spot in that town’s local pack.
- Select product categories on your Google+ page so Google knows what to associate your business and services with.
- Strategize your keywords you want to rank for. Here at Blue Corona, we build your entire plan based on strategy. Don’t just wing it when it comes to choosing keywords.
If you are still wondering, “how the heck do I get my businesses seen in the three pack?” don’t worry. Blue Corona can help! Give us a call or fill out our contact form to learn more.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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