Google is constantly tweaking the way it shows results to its users. In recent years, the search engine giant has been focusing on the user experience, trying to make it as seamless and natural as possible while also displaying only the most accurate and relevant information.
That’s great news for users, but creates a challenge for businesses that don’t know how to stay ahead of the changes and remain visible on Google—particularly, the local pack. So what is the local pack and how do you get your business on it? Read on to find out.
What exactly is the Google local pack, anyway?
The local pack is the section in Google search results pages that displays businesses relevant to the searcher’s geographical location. It is geared toward users searching for specific services or products near them. For instance, if you were to type in “electrician in Boston,” you’d likely get three suggestions at the very top, which would be determined by the amount of info Google can collect on them, what their reviews are like, and their proximity to where you are.
Google used to display 7 local results for a query, but now only shows three. For small businesses, getting one of those three spots is absolutely critical. It can be the difference between barely having any leads from Google and having more than you can handle.
How can I get my business on the local pack?
Google’s algorithm is always changing, but their mission is the same: to provide relevant, reliable, and accurate results. If you align your business’s web content with this mission, you can maximize the chances of your local business getting the nod and appearing on Google’s search engine results pages. Here are three ways to do so.
1. Create a Google My Business Profile
One of the most reliable ways to increase your chances of attaining one of the Google Local Pack spots is by simply being as informative as possible when setting up your Google My Business profile. Google allows users to input information about your company even if you don’t have an account, but that leaves a lot to chance, and you may have incorrect or incomplete information about your business displayed.
How do I add my own information?
You must claim your Google My Business profile in order to add to or edit it (or create one if you don’t have it yet) and take the time to provide as much information about your business as possible. In fact, if you input enough information, Google My Business will even create your business a simple website that will act as your representation online.
What kind of information do I add to my Google Business listing?
Well, in the most basic form, you should add your business name, address, phone number and other contact info, open hours, and a short description of what you do. This information is essential to people browsing and looking for what you have to offer, so Google will be much more likely to feature you if you provide it. For tips on how to fill out each field, check out our post on How to Optimize your Google My Business Listing.
2. Get Those 5-Star Reviews!
Once you have a stronger presence on Google by providing the necessary info, more users should start posting Google reviews of your services after becoming your customers.
You should try to provide the best possible service to every customer (yes, even the difficult ones) because that’s the only way to ensure that the majority of your reviews are 5 stars.
Always go out of your way to respond to requests and feedback and make sure to acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Often, even when you’ve made a mistake, if you own it immediately, apologize, and try to fix it, you can get a 5-star review just for that.
You should also encourage people to leave reviews on Google. You can do this in person when possible, hang a friendly sign at your workplace that reminds people to do so, have a request present on your social media channels, and remind people through your email newsletter.
3. Keep up with on-site search engine optimization requirements
Finally, since the Google Local Pack is a part of its overarching search results, it does follow some of the same principles and requirements as any other SEO campaign. That’s why you need to make sure that if you have a website, and that it meets all of the Google requirements of on-site SEO that it uses to determine a site’s value and relevance.
If you want to increase your presence on Google’s search engine results pages and grow your business online, SEO is a must-have in your marketing efforts. You may want to consider hiring a local SEO services provider who can help you develop a comprehensive strategy for attaining new clients online through search engines.
There are plenty of digital marketing solutions available, but SEO is still one of the most cost-effective options for local businesses that want to get in front of local prospects who are actively looking for what those businesses have to offer.