Leader Of The (Local) Pack
Google is invaluable for businesses looking to attract local customers. Research carried out in 2019 by Go Gulf found that 97% of people who use the internet conduct searches for local businesses, with 46% of all searches on Google were specifically looking for local stores and companies.86% of people have used Google Maps to look up a store location, and the same percentage said they rely on the internet to find local businesses.
It makes sense, then, that the Local Pack header is the place to be. The Local Pack is the three businesses listed alongside a map at the top of the SERP (search engine results page) with a link to follow for more business – there used to be seven listings but this has been revised down to three in the initial display. You've probably already seen or used this feature without really thinking, because it does deliver exactly what many searches are looking for – a local business with a map display so you can see where it is, as well as opening hours (and sometimes even stock levels for the item you need).
The information used to populate the Local Pack comes from the Google My Business page feature, rather than an indexing crawl conducted by Google. This is free and simple to do, but it is worth investing some time to set up as well as time each week for upkeep and responding to reviews and questions. Google wants to give its users the most comprehensive and up to date information, so it is important that you not only add your opening hours, but that you verify them too. Update your hours as soon as they change, and when there is a public holiday coming up.
Add photos of your location and ensure that your location is verified so that it will be featured on the map results, and that searchers can recognise your storefront easily when they arrive. The more information you can provide, the better Google can understand what your business is about, and which search terms to associate with your business. It is also worth spending time responding to Google reviews (both positive and negative) because not only does this look good to prospective customers, it also tells Google you're active and open, which could give you the edge over a competitor who isn't so active online.
For mobile searches the Local Pack also includes a button to call the business straight from the SERP. It is vital that your number is included in the My Business listing for this feature to work. Yes, having your phone number published online means it can be trawled and added to a call centre list, but bear in mind that 78% of searches for a local business resulted in a purchase in-store. Dealing with the odd cold call is a small inconvenience compared to losing out on real customers simply because your phone number wasn't easy to find.
The marketing industry is still exploring what criteria Google uses to return a Local Pack result – not every search generates a Local Pack and confusingly, sometimes including your area in the search bar doesn't return these selected results even though your intent is clearly local. What businesses can do is ensure they are online with as much information as possible included in their My Business listing, and that they remain active in responding to reviews and queries. Here at Parua we can help you lead your Local Pack.
Tel: 01242 697 692