The Google 3 Pack is the holy grail of local SERP rankings, garnering unbelievably enormous visibility – 46% of Google searchers are looking for local information and the 3 Pack appears in the SERP nearly every time. Almost all searchers click on a result from the first page, especially the first three rank positions. Utilizing a few local SEO practices, you can improve your rankings – ultimately aiming for placement in the Google 3 Pack.
What is the Google 3 Pack?
If you search “Best Deep Dish Pizza,” Google will display the results in an order that is most relevant for you, based on location proximity and previous search history. Google’s aim is to guide you to the closest location that also meets the criteria “Best Deep Dish Pizza”. The top three results on the search engine results page (SERP) will differ, depending on your geographical location, always guiding you to three top-rated pizza locations near you. These top three results are often compiled into an easy-to-access “pack:” the Google 3 Pack.
The 3 Pack’s predecessor, the 7 Pack, provided more room for ranking. However, the moment Google realized that the last four rankings received significantly less traffic than the first three, the 7 Pack shrunk to the 3 Pack in the Pidgeon update. Incidentally, “the new 3 Pack… is just enough to function as the first page in a SERP for someone doing a local search on a smartphone.” As mobile search continues to dramatically rise, most SERPs for local queries will only display the 3 Pack.
These factors make the Google 3 Pack a coveted holy grail of local search ranking.
How exactly does the Google 3 Pack impact your local SEO?
The Google 3 Pack radically transforms the way businesses should address local SEO. The 3 Pack becomes the definitive placement goal, and properly optimizing your website and local directory pages ultimately revolve around that goal. Why? Because a staggering 92% of searchers choose first page local results, and 33% choose the first result.
If appearing on the Google 3 pack is so important, how can I rank there?
A study performed by Moz in 2018 examined the local search ranking factors that influence SERP positioning. The top four local pack ranking factors from the 2018 survey include: Google My Business page, linking authority, reviews, and on-page optimization. Adjusting your local SEO according to influential ranking factors will increase your ranking score.
Accurately complete your Google My Business page
First, ensure that you have claimed your Google My Business listing. Then, fill out the fields with detailed, accurate information. Incorrect Google My Business information severely reduces your credibility on Google. Any mistake, from an outdated phone number to an incorrect address or opening time, is detrimental to search engine ranking. Because nearly 100% of people learn about your local business online, correct information could not be more important.
Furthermore, pay close attention to local directory consistency. If various directories display differing information about your business, Google will see your company as unreliable and likely will not rank it highly on a SERP. Tools like Yext Power Listings or Moz Local can help you manage the 70+ directories on the internet, which Google regularly references for NAP information.
Build Local Backlinks
Backlink building is especially important for local businesses to build rapport and generate traffic. If your local pizza restaurant is listed in local directories or on other local business pages, you will grow in relevance, trustworthiness, and credibility to local searchers – and Google SERP rankings revolve around relevance and value.
Pursue Positive Google Reviews
A high volume of positive reviews, on Google or other directory pages (e.g. Yelp), are crucial in garnering a high ranking on the results page. Responding to every review you receive, both positive and negative, is equally as important as gathering the initial reviews themselves. Google views your responses as indicators of your customer service.
Improve On-Page SEO
The content on your website is a vital component to local SEO. Ensure that your landing page contains your location (perhaps even an embedded map) and important, targeted keywords. Of course, make sure your page contains a title tag, properly formatted h-tags, a keyword-rich URL, valuable content over 300 words, and keyword-rich image ALT attributes.
A quick word about keyword-targeted content: Content optimization requires actionable and specific keyword targeting. This means that if your company is hardly ranking for a targeted search term, that keyword or keyword phrase may be too broad. For example, if you don’t rank for “pizza,” you may rank for “authentic Italian pizza” or “gluten-free deep dish pizza.” Determine specific, relevant keywords and craft valuable and targeted content. Your rankings will see improvement.
RivalMind: Search Marketing Agency
The Google 3 Pack is the holy grail of local SEO. Optimizing your website and local directory pages to meet Google’s standards and appear in these coveted rankings takes time, consistency, and a keen concentration on Google’s ever-changing ranking factors.
Determined to dedicate your time on other important aspects of your business? Talk to a trustworthy, results-driven search marketing agency. RivalMind is dedicated to providing SEO services that actually improve your company’s visibility. Contact us today to talk about expert, genuine SEO.