In this blog, DSG’s very own SEO Director, Chris David, explains the importance of Local SEO as well as the steps a business should take in order to rank in Google’s coveted “3-pack”.
What is “Local SEO” and the “3-Pack”?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a strategy to obtain visibility and keyword rankings in search engines. Local SEO is a very similar concept, but more targeted to hyper-local search engine results. Local SEO is relevant if you want your business listings and website links populating in results whenever a prospective client/customer searches for your products or services. Ie: If you’re a restaurant, you’ll want your business listings and links visible to those who search for “Restaurants near me”.
The local SEO 3-pack is the first three business listings you see when searching Google using a “near me” or “near [location]” search term. These listings appear at the top of the search results page, making them a desirable position for local businesses. See example below:
Ranking in the “3-pack” is the primary goal of Local SEO for several reasons
- The 3 pack results outrank organic listings and get significantly higher visibility and engagement
- Voice Search Results, like that of Siri, Alexa, and “OK Google” oftentimes reference results from the 3 pack for voice search results. If you’re ranking in the 3 pack, you’re most likely ranking in voice search results as well.
- On average, listings in the 3 pack get more clicks and engagement than paid links – and unlike PPC, businesses don’t need to pay for placement.
- The Local 3-Pack appears in the #1 spot 93% of the time when a local search is performed – and 46% of all Google searches are of this nature
“We get it, the 3-Pack is awesome, now how do we get there?”
It’s no secret that Google’s algorithm is locked up tighter than Coca Cola’s secret formula. However, we have a pretty good understanding of the Local SEO ranking factors based on trial, error, and experience.
Spoiler Alert: Getting ranked in the 3 pack is a mix of Google My Business optimization, website content and website optimization, and accuracy and presence in local directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Apple Maps.
Here are the top factors according to one of the top thought leaders in the digital marketing industry (SEO Moz).
Google My Business Signals: 25.12%
- The proximity of the business to the person searching
- Google My Business category listings on the account
- Keyword in the title of the business
- Learn more about Google Business here: https://www.google.com/business/
Link Signals: 16.53%
- Links pointing to your website – called “inbound links”
- The quantity and quality of the websites you’re getting inbound links from
- The anchor text of the inbound link (this is considered anchor text)
- From other websites to the main website (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.)
Review Signals: 15.44%
- How well your business is getting reviewed
- Google also takes into consideration the quantity and quality of the reviews
On-Page Signals: 13.82%
- How well your content is optimized for the keywords you’re trying to rank for
Citation Signals: 10.82%
- How consistent the information is on your local accounts
- How many local accounts /listings have been created for your business
Behavioral Signals: 9.56%
- Engagement of your website users. (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.)
- How well your content fits with each individual searcher’s personal interests
Social Signals: 2.82%
- How well your social media accounts are managed/engaged with