It has been almost one month since Google replaced its “Local 7 Pack” results with its new “Local 3 Pack” results.
This means that searchers only see three businesses listed in the local map results. We briefly explain the Local 3 update in our August 2015 SEO Updates post but think this topic is serious enough to warrant this dedicated blog post.
Here is everything we think you should know about the Local 3 Pack Google update, click through rates, and how to adjust your Local SEO strategy.
Moz published this Local SEO article less than two weeks after Google replaced its usual 7-pack local results with 3-pack results. Here are some key facts about the new Google Local 3 Pack:
- Launched August 6, 2015.
- 3-packs completely replaced 7-packs by the end of the day across all verticals and countries.
- Desktop results now look more similar to Mobile results.
- Several key changes in how the Business is listed including no specific address number.
- Google now gives searchers an option to look for only businesses above a certain rating. Note this is dependent on the number of restaurants with available ratings in your area.
- Google is now testing new home service ads that look similar to the Local Pack, but are sponsored.
In order to succeed in the new Local 3 Pack, this article recommends focusing on organic search, links, citations, and marketing priorities.
Mike Ramsay, a prominent voice in the SEO community and owner of Nifty Marketing, recently released some of his own studies on how the new Local 3 Pack affects Click Through Rates.
His findings suggest that nearly half of people are clicking on Organic Results. The other half of clicks is divided fairly evenly between Paid Ads and Local Pack results.
One interesting finding is that for Mobile, only 18% of clicks occur on Local Packs and 31% on Paid Ads, while Organic clicks remain about even.
Mike concludes that we should focus on growing organic traffic for phrases that show map results and phrases that don’t show map results. He points out that local results change so often that it is extremely difficult to successfully chase after them. A local organic search strategy is important.
Barry Schwartz features another click study for Local 3 Pack performed by Casey Meraz that confirms Ramsay’s numbers. In this study organic is the clear leader with nearly 40% of total clicks.
The other key finding is that only 6% of local clicks result in a “one click visit” to the firm’s website. This means that a visitor who clicks on your brand in Organic results will go directly to your website where you have full control over the message they see.
A visitor who clicks on your brand in Local results likely won’t end up on your website. They will see photos gathered by Google, Google reviews, address, phone number, hours, and even competitor listings.
Not only do Organic clicks happen more often they also send visitors directly to your website which is right where you want them.
Many articles about Google Local 3 Pack hint at this but Paul Chaney makes this a main point within his implications of the 3 Pack for local businesses. He suggests that Google is further backing down on the social network’s significance.
If you disliked Google Plus don’t get too excited. Chaney points out that while Google Plus pages are missing entirely in some places all of the information displayed in the Local Pack is still pulled from Google Plus. This means that Google Plus is still important for your business.
Chaney gives five practical pointers to protect your website against all of Google Local Pack changes:
- Know your competitors and who is dominating the 3-pack.
- Claim and populate your Google+ page.
- Encourage and respond to reviews.
- Keep building citations (mentions) for your company in local directories.
- Focus on optimizing your website with fresh, high quality content.
Need some help with your Local SEO Strategy? Give us a call today at 1-888-262-6687 to see how we can help your business grow in Local Search visibility. You can also fill our out quick contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.