We’ve been talking about how potential customers can search for your local business. If you have not already, check out our latest posts about Google reviews! These posts will help you understand what they can do for your business.
It’s also worth mentioning Google’s “3-pack” again.
But unless you’re familiar with the term, you may have some questions about it.
- What is Google’s 3-pack?
- Where is it located?
- How do I get my site listed here?
These are just a few of the many questions that we will be answering in today’s blog post.
Google 3-Pack: The Basics
The term “3-pack” refers to a box of three local search listings at the top of Google for local searches. You can see for yourself by searching for local businesses like “pizza” or “movie theaters.”
At this point, Google will reveal three of the most relevant local businesses for your respective search term, along with a Google Maps view of where those businesses are located.
As we said in our two previous posts, Google has emphasized local search results in recent years, improving the quality and relevance of such results.
The Mountain View company’s use of 3-pack is just one of the many ways in which it has achieved this. By placing local businesses at the top of its search results, Google is naturally encouraging its users to view and click listings for local businesses.
As it continues to improve the quality and relevance of its search results, Google has further enhanced its 3-pack listings. It’s easier for mobile users now, by showing business address and hours. Hence making this a highly valuable spot for local businesses.
Of course, Google hasn’t always displayed 3 local business listings at the top of its search results.
A few years ago, the search engine giant displayed 7 local business listings here. Conventional wisdom should tell you that it’s easier to get listed in Google’s 7-pack as opposed to its 3-pack.
With 7 results, local businesses have a greater chance of scoring a listing at the top of Google for their respective niche keywords.
As explained by Moz, this was particularly true for local businesses in niches/industries with minimal competition, such as law offices and restaurants.
After Google cut its local pack listings by more than half, however, many local businesses were struggling to get listed in the top.
“Local SEO is more than just link building, reviews, and directories. But many businesses were able to skate by with minimal SEO if they weren’t in super-competitive local business areas such as law offices or restaurants. But with those 4-7 spots now gone in desktop, skating by isn’t good enough anymore,” explained Moz in an article announcing the new change to Google’s local search results.
It’s also worth noting that Google’s 3-pack, unlike its 7-pack results, only display the street names for local businesses.
This is in stark contrast to its previous 7-pack results, which displayed the full addresses for local businesses. By displaying only the street name, however, many experts believe this encourages users to click the listings.
Why the Change?
This begs the question: why did Google make the decision to display 3 local business listings instead of 7 at the top of its search results?
According to some search marketing experts, this was a strategic move on Google’s behalf to better align the search engine giant with the growing number of mobile searches.
Studies show that more people now access the Internet on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices than desktops.
Mobile devices, however, have less space to display listings than their desktop counterpart. To optimize its search results for mobile users, Google has eliminated its 3-pack local search results in favor for a 7-pack.
Create a Google My Business Listing
If you want to get your local business listed in Google’s 3-pack, you should begin by creating a Google My Business listing.
Google’s 3-pack doesn’t list “websites” like the rest of its search results. Rather, it lists information about local businesses, which is often compiled and curated from Google My Business listings.
Creating a Google My Business listing is completely free with no strings attached. Simply visit https://www.google.com/business/ and check to see if your business is currently listed.
Assuming it’s not, add and verify your business. If your business is already listed, you’ll need to verify it to gain full control over your listing; otherwise, someone may add incorrect information about your business.
Reviews Not Changed
In addition to removing full addresses from its “pack results,” Google has also removed the phone numbers from local businesses.
Something that hasn’t changed, however, is reviews. Google’s 3-pack still displays reviews, just like its 7-pack results did. We cannot stress this enough: local businesses can embrace this feature by encouraging their customers and clients to post reviews.
Customer reviews are beneficial for several reasons, only one of which is their ability to appear in Google’s 3-pack.
They also encourage users to search for your brand/business name, which further enhances your local search presence. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers and clients to post reviews about your business online, because this could increase your chances of getting listed in Google’s 3-pack.
Google is still experimenting with its local search results, so don’t panic if your website isn’t listed in the 3-pack for its respective niche/industry.
Keep optimizing your local search presence while building greater brand recognition in the process and rankings will soon follow.
And if you are still unable to earn a slot in the coveted 3-pack, invest in pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Using Google AdWords, you can guarantee a listing for your target keywords, focusing your ads on the most relevant cities and regions.
Have anything else that you would like to add? Let us know in the comments section below!
Getting more potential customers to your website and business takes time, but we can help! Schedule a FREE business growth call here to find out how we can optimize the search for your local business!