Google’s Local Pack is a list of local businesses that appear distinctly in the search engine results page when a searcher types in what Google ‘deems’ to be a local-based query, for example, “electricians London”.
When you search in Google, their local results show at the top of the page showing you a business’ name, address, phone number and a map; this is the ‘Local Pack’. It used to be called a 7 pack because it used to list 7 businesses. However, lately, you may have noticed that the traditional 7 Pack is a lot smaller.
What Changes Have Happened?
Google have now reduced the local pack from 7 listings to just 3. As well as this, they have also removed the business addresses and phone numbers. So now, if a searcher wants to see more information about a business listed in the pack, they have to click-through to the business website or the Google Maps listing.
Another change that we can see is the links to Google MyBusiness pages have been removed, making Google+ even less relevant than it was before. Instead of addresses and phone numbers, you will now find store hours displayed, along with warnings if a location is going to close soon. However, business reviews are displayed as they always were.
Even though this is a massive reduction of local search listings, searchers can always click to expand the box and view more local listings — up to 20 per page.
What Impact Will This Have On Business?
As you can imagine, this update will have many implications for those businesses that rely on local search for their enquiries. Unfortunately, businesses that were listed in positions 4-7 can now be expected to get less exposure. But, on a positive note, now that Google Maps lists up to 20 businesses per page, those businesses who were outside of the top 7 may now get increased exposure.
Other implications include:
Businesses with more than 2 main competitors will find it harder to be visible for local based searches.
Increased prominence of mobile ads will make it harder for businesses with small ad budgets to compete for local mobile search.
It will now be harder for users to find the address of a business in search results.
Getting business reviews through Google+ is now more important than ever.
The changes are the same across both mobile and desktop, however, on a mobile, the local pack features the option to call a business by tapping on its listing. This new local listing change will be rolled out worldwide and can currently be seen in the US, Europe, UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada.
So, How Do I Get Into The Top 3?
Now that getting into the top 3 listings within the local pack is more important than ever, it is vital that businesses that depend on local custom must put a strategy in place now to start fighting back. The focus needs to be on solid, onsite and offsite organic SEO that concentrates on local based search terms. This should consist of solid backlinks, citations and positive reviews throughout the web.
As well as building links, citations and reviews, it is vital to perform a full competitor analysis to see whom you are up against and the tactics they have used to get into the top spots.
If you would like more information on this local pack update or would like us to review your website to get you into the top 3 local listings, contact us today.
Michael is a successful entrepreneur with a strong background in all areas of web development, online marketing, graphic design and IT. As the current owner of Improve Position, as well as a small range of other related businesses, Michael's enthusiasm shines through with his passion to help others understand and succeed in the world of online business marketing.
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