Google Updates Local Pack to Show Fewer Results
Last week, you may have noticed a slight difference to local results displayed on Google's Local Pack-- 3 results instead of 7. Google updated the search results displayed in the query to show fewer local business listings to allow for a more mobile-friendly experience. This redesign allows the results to fit better when searching from mobile devices.
"We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users," said a Google spokesperson about the update. "This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews, and prices, for searched that have multiple results for given location."
What's the update mean for you?With the reduction in queries displayed, local businesses now face a bigger challenge to ensure they rank in the top three, instead of the top seven. The Local Pack update will lead to reduced visibility, which will impact the amount of customers who view a local business if they rank lower than 3rd position. This means now more than ever, local businesses need to focus on local SEO to strengthen their appearance in the Local Pack.
What can you can do to boost your ranking?Business owners who rely on local customers need to focus on a local SEO campaign. Unlike your average SEO strategies, local SEO consists of specific signals that rank businesses in the Local Pack.
- Business Signals-- Categories, keywords, title, location, etc.
- On-Site Signals-- Presence of NAP, keywords, domain authority, titles, etc.
- Link Signals-- Inbound anchor texts, linking domain authority and quantity, etc.
- Review Signals-- Review quantity, review diversity, review velocity, etc.
- Social Signals-- Google +, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and other social media activity.
- Website Behaviors-- Click through rates, bounce rates, call to actions, etc.
Claim Your Business ListingYou must claim your business page on Google or you don't stand a chance of ranking on the top 3 Local Pack. Your Google My Business Page contains the necessary aspects to clearly alert Google to your business and its location.
Your page needs to be well optimized and structured with a long and unique description using keywords and links. In addition, fill out your business's categories correctly, add relevant photos, and ensure your business information is correct, like your phone number, address, and hours of operation. Use a high resolution photo for both your profile image and cover photo.
Build Local ReviewsReviews mean everything in today's world with more people trusting online reviews than word of mouth recommendations, which is why Google weighs reviews heavily when selecting the local businesses to appear in the Local Pack. Focus on building REAL reviews from REAL people on a number of sites. DO NOT cut corners and pay for fake reviews!!
Local On-Site SEOYour website must include key information to promote the location of your business. You need to incorporate the location, such as the city and relevant keywords in each of these areas on your website:
- Landing page title tag
- Landing page H1
- Landing page URL
- Landing page content
- Landing page ALT attributes
Establish Local CitationsLocal link building is critical, also known as a citation. Basically, a citation is a reference to your business than includes your name, address, and phone number, also known as NAP. The more NAP references you have, the higher you'll rank.
Promote Your Website ExperienceWith Google taking the user experience into consideration so heavily, you need to ensure your website promotes a user-friendly experience-- no matter the device used to visit your site. This will help your click through rates to boost your Quality Score.
With the Google update to the Local Pack, businesses relying on local customers need to step up their game as their chance for appearing in the Local Pack as been cut in half! It's not an impossible challenge to overcome, but it will take some consistent work to local SEO campaigns.
Has your business been impacted by the Local Pack update? What strategies do you have in place to climb back up in ranking?