Google 3-Pack: Quick Strategies To Optimize Your Business for the Local Search Rankings
Google’s 3-Pack is the three listings that appear on the Google Maps feature of the first page results. This Maps feature shows up for approximately 30% of all local searches. However, it is one of the most clicked areas on the search engine results page (SERP).
In this article, we are going to discuss the following ways to optimize your business for local search rankings:
- Local Search Fast Facts
- Why Local SEO
- Claiming, Optimizing & Verifying your business listing
- Asking for reviews
- Launching Google Ads for Local Results
Before we dive into the checklist for optimizing your local search rankings, let’s consider the following about local search rankings…
Local search rankings are the “word of mouth” strategy of the 21st century. Yes, referrals from happy customers will always reign supreme in the world of fast-closing sales. However, as more of your ideal customers are taking recommendations from their friends, they are also turning to Google to find local businesses….every day.
So, if you are ignoring your digital search results because word of mouth is better for your local business…
…then consider these fast facts about the state of local search results!
Local Search Fast Facts:
- Google’s share of search engine traffic remains over 70% [NetMarketShare]
- 46% of all Google searches are local
- 60% of the people who search for local business use smartphones [Hubspot]
- 56% of local stores haven’t claimed their local listing on Google
- The average consumer reads seven reviews to develop an opinion about a company. Google gives weight to those reviews in local rankings.
Focusing on your local search strategy is a No-Brainer for anyone who owns, runs, or operates a physical storefront or office. Local searchers are going online to find local businesses more than ever before.
Just having a website is not enough. Relying on your social media page to drive foot traffic into your door is not always guaranteed.
Why Local SEO
The strategy of SEO (search engine optimization) has always been a mysterious craft of the digital marketer. Often oversold and under-delivered, perhaps you aren’t sure if launching an SEO strategy is worth your time (or dollars). However, there are some local SEO tactics you can implement today that will help those local searcher find your local business…when and where they are looking for you.
So…here are three No-Brainer local search strategies to help your business be found today.
Download the Complete Google 3-Pack Checklist
Claim & Optimize Your Business Listing
Both Google and Bing search engines allow businesses to claim your business listing for free. With Bing Places and Google My Business, you simply need to sign up and claim your business listing.
By claiming your business listing, you can start optimizing your business profile. Optimize your business name. Select the appropriate category for your business or services. Update your business description and include relevant product/ service offerings and eye-catching pictures.
Be sure you include your business hours, add a link to your website, and tell your customers the information they need before they visit your store.
Plus…don’t forget to verify your physical address. When you add your address, you will receive a small verification code via a postcard at your business address.
Verifying your business address also increases the chances of your business showing up on Google Maps when someone is looking for what you do.
For the 60% of local searches that are done on a smartphone, this Maps listing makes it easy for your ideal customer to click to call (if you’ve included a phone number) and get directions…which is ultimately what you want, right?
Since Google 3-Pack often appear above the organic (free) search results, this business listing is worth spending the time to set it up, write some keyword-rich content about your business and services, and verify your address.
Ask for Reviews
“66% of consumers stated many online reviews make them trust a brand online.”gatherup.com
In addition to all the above mentioned business information on your business profile, customer reviews also show up in the search results. In fact, both customers and Google give priority to reviews left by other customers.
Getting reviews can be easy. All you have to do is ask.
Depending on the size of your business or your customer base, perhaps you want to send out a post-sale email asking someone to leave a review on Facebook or Google. Our team can automate this follow up email for you with our Funnel Lead Generation services. For a more personal touch, reach out to a handful of your happiest customers asking if they would leave you a review.
Most people are happy to leave a positive note for you.
Customer reviews show up in your search results, on Google Maps, and even in your Google Ads.
Since customers rely on the comments, feedback, and information from others like them…having positive reviews can help those local searchers feel confident when giving you a call or clicking for directions.
For best practices, it is always a smart strategy to identify key timing within your sales process to ask for reviews as well. By doing this you can automate those requests ensure that you are getting the feedback while helping give some good new content to your local business listing.
*Asking for reviews when operating in alternative health or highly regulated industries is one way to stand out on the local search rankings. For industries like medical cannabis, finding ways for current customers to leave their review on Google and Facebook is one legal digital strategy you can use today.
Google Ads for Local Search Rankings
Just some basic Google Ad target strategies focus around targeting your ads by location AND using location related keywords.
You can simply tell Google what locations you want to target, then adjust your location bidding accordingly.
Similarly, location keywords can be helpful in telling Google what types of searches you want to show up for.
Beyond these basic location strategies, here are some additional local strategies your business should be using to find, attract, and convert local customers.
For the Google 3-Pack
Speaking of the reviews in your Google Ads…ads can also appear in the Google 3-Pack results.
Appearing in the Google 3-Pack require that you have your Google My Business Listing and Google Ads. Within your Google Ads account, simply add location extensions. Ensure that your details are the same (and accurate) in both accounts.
Local Branded Paid Search campaign
Now… are you running Google Ads for your branded terms?
“Branded” terms are those search terms around variations of your company or business name. In some cases, a branded term may be variations of your own name…especially in professional service industries like financial planning and legal practices.
People searching for your company name are already aware of your business. Perhaps a friend recommended you, but they go to Google to look you up. So, you definitely want to guarantee that your business shows up at the top of the page.
So…when running a Google Ads campaign for your branded terms, first make sure this is a separate campaign from your other keywords. This allows you to keep your ads tightly relevant to the keywords around your branded terms.
Creating a Branded Campaign:
- Add a Campaign
- Create an ad group for your company name
- Add keyword variations of your company name into the ad group
- Write 1-2 text ads for the search results page.
Even if you are already running Google Ads, take a few moments to create this Branded campaign separate from your other campaigns. Having a separate campaign will allow you to control the ad text and track the performance of these top searches for your business.
Why pay for traffic if my Google Listing will show up?
Yes, your Google Business listing should show up, too. Google is always testing and changing its algorithm. Don’t miss an opportunity to show up above a competitor. Google Ads will give you a better shot at showing up at the top of the page for those looking specifically for your business.
Whether we like it or not, Google is a business. Yes, ads are a “pay for play” scenario. BUT…you only pay if someone clicks your ad. If they click your free Google listing to read a customer review or find your hours of operation…you don’t pay. So, why leave it to chance?
[In some industries it is common for businesses to bid on their competitor’s names. If that is happening in your industry, you better be bidding on your company name. Otherwise, customers looking for you could end up at your competitor’s office.]
Local search rankings are an important strategy for your local business. Leaving your digital search results to chance is not a strategy. Launching a website is not enough. Focusing only on social media is not viable for all local services.
Developing a smart local digital strategy will help your business find, attract, and convert your ideal audience. There is no denying the reach and relevance of focusing on local Google strategies like optimizing for the Google 3-Pack results. Take the tips we’ve provided in this article, plus the Google 3-Pack Checklist and get started implementing your smart digital strategies today.
Need help? Book a call with the Smart Girl Digital team. We can discuss your current strategy and find some solutions specific to your business’s needs.