Here’s What to Know About Google’s Local Pack
Local SEO is now more important than ever. Thanks to an ever-increasing amount of competition online, brands must focus their efforts into smaller and smaller niches in order to generate sufficient traffic and attention. While some brands may be able to target larger audiences, many local and small brands must keep their focus aimed carefully at smaller audiences initially.
For brands targeting Google’s search results, the concept of the Local Pack is an important aspect of the process. Whether the goal is to increase traffic, boost sales, generate more leads or even just attract more in-person visits, small businesses and brands must learn how it works and how to please its algorithms. Here are some important points to consider regarding Google’s Local Pack.
Why the Local Pack Matters
Before delving into Google’s Local Pack itself, it is worth looking at why the dynamic is so important. First and foremost: nearly half of all searches on Google have some indicator of local intent. This means that these searches are effectively aiming for a locally-relevant set of results.
The Local Pack helps correlate information about brands and businesses that are relevant to both a user’s specific search and their exact location. Particularly on mobile devices, searches pinging to Google will display the most relevant results based on their geography.
Details about your brand – such as phone numbers, hours of operation, and reviews – will be displayed in the Local Pack. For this reason, having optimal descriptions and information matters if ideal representation in locally-relevant searches is the goal.
What the Local Pack Displays
In results Google deems relevant to local users, the structure of the Local Pack is fairly straightforward. At the top, a map with relevant listings is shown and displayed. Brands that have thorough name, address and phone (NAP) information available to Google are displayed in these listings. Below that, organic results (whether they are inherently local or not) are displayed.
Mobile searches in particular are custom-tailored based on location data, which is why having up-to-date information online about your brand’s location is vital. Local search analyzers can be used to figure out exactly what rankings you have within a Local Pack SERP, showing you where you have room to improve.
What Matters in Local Pack Listings?
Certain criteria are more important than others when ranking in Local Pack results. Here are a few examples of the most important criteria.
NAP data is crucial: this indicates that you are in fact both local and within close proximity to the user(s) seeking solutions, services and products. The use of Google My Business (GMB) is especially helpful for this.
Locally-relevant keywords play another major role. If your brand is consistently ranking for local keywords, then the chances of featuring in the Local Pack are much higher.
Obvious factors such as proper SEO also matter, as do locally-earned links and even social signals. If you’re pinging to Google indicators such as these, then your chances of featuring in the Local Pack are much higher.
Google’s Local Pack is constantly in flux and the exact criteria change over time due to algorithmic modifications. Nevertheless, these considerations will likely always play a critical role in your brand’s performance within the Local Pack.