Local SEO: Part 1
Picture this: a homeowner’s pipe bursts. He jumps online to search for a plumber who can show up quickly and get to work as soon as possible. This homeowner isn’t looking for a plumber that’s an hour away—he’s looking for one nearby… so he Googles “plumber” with the name of his city. Or, he may even just type in “plumber” by itself, which will lead to Google pulling his current location and finding plumbers closest to him.
In the results, the homeowner finds the top 3 local listings for his area, along with a Google map showing these locations and others nearby. Because these listings include the business’ name, phone number, business hours, website, and even star ratings and reviews, it makes it easy for the homeowner to quickly get the facts he needs. This group of listings is called the “Local Pack.”
Here’s an example that shows up for “plumber Santa Clarita”:
The Local Pack has a lot of great things going for it—it appears high up on the search engine results page (SERP), it clearly stands out because of the Google map, and it’s convenient for users. While getting in the top regular (aka organic) search results that appear further down on the page is always something to aim for, you can significantly boost your business’ visibility if you make it into local 3-pack. Think about it: if you’re not featured in the top 3 results, someone else is—your competitor!
The Race to Be in the Top 3 Local Results
In the past, the local results box showed 7 local search results. However, starting in 2015, Google cut the number down to just 3 results. This means there is now even more competition when it comes to getting featured, requiring businesses to get more serious about their local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. While the competition is fiercer, the reward of making it in the leading local results is even greater. According to a study featured in Search Engine Land, the 3-pack shows up in the top position of the search engine results page (SERP) page 93% of the time compared to just 25% of the time for the 7-pack.
Your Key to Getting into the Local 3-Pack: Local SEO
If you want your home service business to be included in the local 3-pack (which you should!), you’re going to need to work on your local SEO. Local SEO is basically the practice of optimizing your website and your online profile so that it is easier for Google to match your business with people in your local area who are searching for the services you offer.
The three key ranking factors of local SEO are relevance, distance, and prominence. Here’s how you can look at these factors…
- Relevance: Does your business offer the types of services the online users are searching for?
- Distance: Is your business close to the online user’s geographic location?
- Prominence: Does your business have a strong online reputation?
There are many tactics you can use to improve your local signals in the categories listed above, including local keyword optimization, proper setup of your online listings, and better management of your online reviews.
Want more information about how to use these strategies so you can get into the Local Pack? Stay tuned for next week’s blog post (Local SEO: Part 2) where we’ll dive into the details!
In the meantime, check out this free eBook on how to best manage your home service business' online reviews!