SEO is a competitive field. For every one keyword, there are hundreds of companies vying to rank and benefit from sitting in the number one spot. However, that doesn’t make it impossible for you and your site to still rank well despite the competition. The trick is to ensure you are using the right tricks and methods in order to do so.
With that in mind, here is everything you should consider when attempting to enter the 3-pack listings for your local area and grow your local SEO presence.
What is Google 3-Pack?
This is a fairly simple aspect of search, where if you Google something there will be a full page of results but the top of the page will list a map and three local businesses on that map. Being included in that list of 3 is the key to good local SEO efforts and is the hallowed ‘3-pack’.
Optimise Google My Business
The first step when it comes to potentially achieving better local and 3-pack rankings is to ensure your Google My Business page is well optimised. And, despite what you may fear, this is often just a case of making sure you fill out all of the various sections correctly. Important things to remember for good optimisation includes:
- Claim the Page – this is easy and is just to make sure Google knows your business is real and located in the world, rather than just online. They’ll send you a postcard and it’s as easy as that!
- Update Regularly – update all of your information on a regular basis and make sure it’s all current.
- Photos – good quality photos are vitally important for a good GMB listing.
- Use Compelling Copy – the GMB copy that fills out the page can be very basic, or you can use it to actually benefit your business.
- Post! – GMB posts aren’t exactly going to get you a lot of exposure as they might on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. But, they’re certainly a good way to boost the content of your GMB profile and let people know you’re active!
- Fill Out Q&A’s – the Q&A function of your GMB page can actually be really useful when it comes to user engagement and potential click-through rates because, if you answer someone’s questions even before they land on your site, you may be able to achieve an instant conversion.
Remember the Importance of NAP
Local SEO is dependent on a number of factors linking the site to your local area. The most important way you can do this, from a Google perspective, is to ensure your site has a good NAP signal. Here’s what NAP stands for:
N(ame) A(ddress) P(hone number)
The best way to verify this across the web and ensure Google registers that this is correct from numerous sources is via citations. These are listings on various websites and directories which list your name, address and phone number. The more citations you have, the better your local SEO and 3-pack chances will be; so get to work on them!
Optimise Your Site
Of course, a good Google My Business page and citations aren’t the be-all and end-all of your optimisation efforts. You also need to consider your site optimisation because without a good base, the cherry on top that is your GMB page won’t be as effective.
Having independent local pages if you are targeting separate locations can also be important, especially if you want to rank locally in multiple areas. If you have good optimisation for different locations, then it is possible to appear in relevant, close-by, 3-packs for the most part. Obviously, if you are trying to appear in a London 3-pack whilst based in Scotland that isn’t likely to work. But, a small 5-mile radius is possible (say if you want to rank for the next town over).
If you have separate locations, for example in London and Scotland, then it is important to set up individual Google My Business pages in order to try and rank your 3-pack separately. Having a dedicated page for these locations is then an obvious next step for this. This could be something like:
Continue with Traditional SEO
Backlinks, mobile-friendliness, ensuring your pages are easy to crawl and dictate a strong site hierarchy to Google; all of these things still matter. Even when you are looking to achieve more local rankings it is important to consider and work towards these cornerstones of SEO.
The fact is that without targeting traditional SEO efforts as part of your regular site workload, you will not be able to achieve long-term overall or local rankings. If your site has no authority, no organic growth through the months etc., then you will find achieving any rankings quite difficult in the long-term. Concentrate on these efforts alongside everything else and you should be able to have your SEO cake and eat your local SEO too.
Seek Google Reviews
Reviews are one of the biggest indicators of quality from a user perspective. An item or service with poor reviews is something to be avoided, after all. But it can also be a big help from an SEO perspective as well.
Google reviews aren’t quick to obtain in many cases and they may not always be positive. But, it is important to actually gain these organically because requesting reviews in return for anything, as part of email follow-ups, etc. can sometimes be viewed as spammy by your users/customers and may result in fewer reviews in the long term. For that reason, you should simply put it out there that you would like reviews, but don’t outright demand them.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
This is a simple but important point to make. Some companies achieve instant success when it comes to GMB and the local 3-pack as they put the keywords they are looking to rank for in the listing title itself. But, this is extremely frowned upon by Google. And, if reported, it will be removed and you could lose valuable organic rankings outside of this as a result. For that reason, it is best to avoid this tactic. It can be more damaging than it is worth.
And there you have it! Everything you need in order to potentially bring yourself to a good local keyword position or bring your site into the hallowed 3-pack listing. Once there, you should see an uptake in local traffic and not have as much trouble maintaining a constant stream of traffic on a monthly basis. Getting there is just a case of continuous and good optimisation efforts, so make sure you do the basics.