Most of us rely on Google to get any information that we require locally like restaurants in a particular area, utility service providers etc. Google follows a certain algorithm to display the top three local listings of the services or products you are looking for. Earlier, it used to display 7 local listings, but on Aug 6, 2015, a big change in the form of Google local SEO 3 pack happened. The local listings that were displayed in the packs of 3, 5 or 7 got reduced to only three. This made the competition for page-one listings harder for the businesses as those who could squeeze themselves earlier in the top 7 listings found it difficult if their organic performance was not good.
What Is Google Local SEO 3 Pack?
With the businesses going online, brick-and-mortar stores had to compete directly with these online stores that had more advantage in terms of reach. Google decided to provide a helping hand to these brick-and-mortar shops years ago by featuring them in the local search results. The local SEO pack then listed seven local businesses that were relevant to any search query. From Aug 2015, this listing is reduced to only three and hence the name Google local SEO 3 pack. The SEO services work for their clients’ listings to appear in this top 3 ranks as it maximizes their visibility.
How Is Local Google Pack Useful?
The local Google pack gave an opportunity to the local stores to reach out to the local audience in an effective manner. They got a chance to fight against their fierce online competitors from established brands. The users, on the other hand, got better information about the local stores.
How Did This Change to Google Local SEO 3 Pack Affect the Businesses?
This change from a local pack of 7 to only 3 was both beneficial and disadvantageous for the local businesses. Businesses that were ranking in the first three spots and had multiple stores or branches were at an advantage with this change. However, those local businesses, which were ranging from 4th to 7th spots, seemed to be at a loss superficially. The organic traffic that was getting directed to their websites vanished suddenly.
A deeper study of the new Google local SEO 3 pack, however, proved otherwise. Here’s how:
● Boon for Top 3 Listings
Businesses that got listed in top 3 spots witnessed an increase in traffic as in this new pack Google is no longer displaying the full address and contact information upfront. Those interested in a particular listing now need to click through to the website.
● Those Not Listed in Top 3 Can Still Be Visible
Though the traffic and the number of telephonic calls got reduced for those who didn’t appear in the top three slots, the quality of their inquiries and leads got better. This happened because a user now needs to expand the “More Places” section to get the phone number and here a list of 20 companies gets displayed.
● The Top-3 Local Results Depend on the User’s Physical Location
Two people searching from two locations that are only miles apart will get slightly different results. It means the different local packs get updated when the searchers are at locations, which are even a few miles apart.
● More Business Get an Opportunity to Get Noticed
The older navigation options like flyout business card or Google My Business links got disabled. The searchers now have to navigate their way through a map view, which has a list of 20 similar businesses in the area. As the information is not available on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and the searcher needs to dig out all the required contact information from a 20-business map view, there are high chances that you get noticed irrespective of not making it to the top three slots.
● Searchers are Going More With Organic Results
Instead of going blindly with SERPs, the searchers are more inclined towards the organic results as they feel they are more trustworthy. Even if you don’t do well enough to be placed in the top 3 listings, you can still be visible by earning organic traffic to your business pages listed in local directories or directly to the websites.
All said and done, all businesses still want to be in the top 3 listings. To achieve this, they rope in professional digital marketing services in Pune, Bangalore or any other city they are in. This is because a research indicates that the first three listings receive 33.55%, 14.96%, and 9.3% clicks respectively.
The end goal of these local digital marketing services in Pune, Bangalore or any other city is to ensure that when someone is searching for products or services locally, then their client’s name should be visible. The SEO services should be able to help their clients beat their competitors irrespective of whether they are online or offline.
Micheal Anderson is a prolific digital marketing expert with Techmagnate in the Boston, USA. He has experience in the SEO, PPC advertising, email marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing etc.