In the internet age, small businesses are fighting a losing battle to compete with large companies in Google search results. They do not have the funds and the large teams of marketers of big box stores. They cannot bid as much for relevant keywords as multinational corporations. However, they do have a new powerful weapon: the Google Local Pack.
Why Is Google Local Pack So Valuable for Small Businesses?
Large companies think big. They want to reach as many potential consumers in as many geographical areas as possible. Thus, they research and bid for the most popular keywords for their SEO and PPC campaigns.
But small companies do not need to aim so big. You cannot serve people in a different country or even in a different city. Your clients are mostly people from your local community. Vice-versa, people who need your products and services do not want to order them from a distant company. They need them now.
So, they focus on local searches on Google. And Google helps them identify businesses close to them in a separate category of results: the Google Local Pack, or the 3-Pack.
How Do You Get Featured in the Google 3-Pack?
If you look at search results for any local search query, you will find a set of 3 results with their locations pinpointed on a map. These are the websites that Google believes are the closest to you and most relevant to your search.
So, what do you have to do to see your business in this privileged position in local searches for your products or service? Here are a effective tips:
1. Keep Your Location Accurate on All Listings
Google uses various sources of information to match a user’s location with businesses in their area. The most important source is Google My Business. We have already explained in a previous article how to set up your account and confirm your address.
Next, the Google spiders will look for other references to your business in various business directories. You should strive to list your business there and make sure that your company name, address, and telephone number are accurate. Some of the most popular business listings are Angie’s List, Foursquare and Yelp.
2. Create Content Touching On Local Events
Content is still king as a source of high ranking in Google Local Pack. However, the most valuable type of content in this case focuses on local events and situations. For instance, you should write about your participation at a local business fair, or sponsoring a community event. This type of content will promote your image as an active participant in the community affairs and will help Google confirm your geographical relevance for searches.
3. Take Advantage of Google Posts
Google My Business now has a new category available for users: Posts. These are short updates about your business and your products which appear directly in Google searches. It is a form of writing specifically for Google and it will help you rank higher in Google Local Pack, from the point of view of relevance.
You should make sure that you have a continuous flow of Google Posts. With the coming seasonal sales and special offers, you should have no trouble finding interesting news and information to share.
4. Make it Simple for Customers to Leave Reviews
Google Local Pack results are ranked by the number of reviews, not only by location and relevance. This means that you must encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google My Business – and make it simple for them.
A good idea is to include the Google My Business link in every Thank You message you send after a purchase. You should also include it in your social media profiles and on specialised sites, such as Yelp.
5. Build Local Backlinks
Backlinks are very useful to improve your Google page rank. Local backlinks will help you get in the Google Local Pack. How do you get them? You should consider bartering with other local businesses, contributing guest post to local press release websites or forums and getting mentioned for your participation in local events and causes.
With a continuous effort of staying active and relevant in your local community, your business will certainly gain many quality backlinks, as well as a good reputation among your clients and prospects.