When was the last time you checked your business on Google local search? If your answer is never or a couple months ago, I have a bad news for you: You’re losing customers. Because 7 out of 10 customers make a purchase based on information they find online that same day! People using Google Local searches has increased over 150%, so if you don’t pay attention to Google local search ranking, you start losing customers to your competitors. And a decline in sales is the last thing you’d like to see, right? If you don’t know how Google Local Search works and how to get your business ranked in Google 3 pack or Google Maps, this guide is for you.
How Google Local Search Works
To rank your business in local search, you must have a clear understanding of how local search works. Google doesn’t show the exact same search results for the same search query to everyone. Every time a user enters a search query, Google considers several factors and a search results page is displayed that’s most relevant to that user. Now there are several factors that Google uses, but one of the biggest factors is searcher’s geographical location. If you’re in Chicago, and you search for ‘best hotels’, you’d never see hotels in Florida. Instead, Google will show you hotels in Chicago. Yes, you can try it now… Few years ago, Google updated its local search results page and moved to 3 Pack from 7 Pack. Instead of displaying 7 local businesses, Google now displays the top 3 local businesses.
- People used to see 3 Pack on mobile and 7 Pack on the desktop in the past. Now they will see 3 Pack across all devices. Google wants to make search results more consistent on all devices.
- Google wants businesses to compete with other businesses. This makes sure business listings stay accurate and more relevant for the user, making the search for the user easier.
- Google is rolling out different ways to earn revenue by selling ads to businesses. Local search ads are beginning to be a popular method for businesses to get in front of customers.
Competition for Google local search 3 Pack has increased and will only get harder to stay in that coveted 3-pack. What’s your take on this? Here is how what you can do to secure your place in Google 3 Pack.
Google Local Pack and Ranking Factors
- Google My Business
- Link signals
- On-page signals
- Citation signals
- Review signals
- Behavioral signals
- Social signals
Let’s visit these ranking factors individually so you can make sure your business jumps at the first place for Google local search.
- Google My Business:
If you wish to outrank your competitors in local search, Google My Business is the first place to start. Create your My Business account so that Google can start listing your business for relevant search terms. If your account is already setup, make sure it has the correct information and the right keywords. If you do not update your My Business account regularly, Google will update the data from information from all over the web.
The information from Google search results and Google Maps is used by several mobile apps, websites, car navigation systems, GPS systems, and more. You never know what app a potential customer might use to find your business. You have to keep your business details correct and updated so all these third-party apps and sites fetch correct information.
Fill all the details as My Business is the most critical and the first place where Google will search for a business for any local search.
I’m sure you know a lot about backlinks, link relevancy, anchor text variation, domain authority, etc. All these linking signals are used by Google to rank your website in local search.
- On-page SEO:
Your website must be fully optimized for search engines. Period.
But what’s more important is that all the information on your website should be consistent with your My Business listing especially NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number). Inconsistent information leads to poor ranking as it will get hard for Google to identify the correct information about your business.
A citation refers to your business’s contact information (generally NAP) on other websites. The more you have them, the better.
You can’t just have a decent number of local citations, but you must make sure that all the citations are accurate and consistent throughout the internet. This is one area where most businesses lack.
There are several websites on the internet where people can add information about your business such as review websites and business listing sites. The problem is bots and your competitors might create incorrect local citations for your business that will eventually hurt your local rankings as time goes on.
One aspect of citation signal is to monitor NAP consistency, and if your business information isn’t consistent on all the sites where your business is mentioned, you won’t make it to the 3 pack.
Review quality, quantity, velocity, diversity, and more.
Having positive reviews on throughout the internet is going to really boost your ranking in Google’s eyes. Encourage your customers to leave reviews. It’s hard to get reviews on hundreds of sites, so work on getting reviews on:
1) Your Website (MUST)
2) Google My Business account (MUST)
Getting reviews on these two places will help your rankings in other listing sites like Yelp and Foursquare.Also, getting positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Foursquare will also help with the Google 3 Pack.
- Behavioral signals:
The way people interact with your website and/or search engine listing has a huge impact on your local search engine ranking.
For instance, organic CTR, check-ins, mobile clicks, bounce rate, Map directions, etc. are all behavioral signals that help Google understand how people interact with your business and website.
Make sure your website delivers a great user experience.
Google prefers personalization and there isn’t much you can do to improve this ranking factor.
Based on user’s history, behavior, places visited, and other variables, Google tries to show personalized local search results. If you’re doing well with all the other ranking factors, chances are, you’ll do well with personalization.
How active your business is on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks? Don’t ignore social engagement.
It is time to start updating and correcting your business details all over the internet if you really want to stay ahead of your competitors in Google local search 3 pack.
Our Shameless Plug
With exclusive partnerships with over 70+ websites, apps, and major listing services (Google, Yelp, Foursquare, Yahoo, Apple, etc.), we provide a cutting edge, full-service solution for local businesses that will protect, monitor, and update your business data across the internet which will boost the chances for your business to stay in the 3 Pack and increase your rankings on other major sites.
PLUS, we monitor all the reviews about your business, good and bad, from all over the internet to let business owners know how their business is doing from the customers’ point of view and allow business owners to make smarter business decisions. If you’re interested in taking your business to the next level, check out our Business Listing Service or feel free to schedule a free 30 minute strategy call!