How to Use Google’s Local Pack to beat the big boys

Depending on your industry you could be trying to rank alongside huge conglomerate companies. Maybe your a hotel going up against Travel Lodge and Hotel.com, or maybe you are a small pizza place going up against Domino’s. In all honesty, even the greatest SEO on the planet will have a tough time getting you to rank number one.

Maybe if you are very stringent when it comes to choosing your keywords you will be able to find one that the big companies are not ranking for, but depending on your industry this can be next to impossible without forfeiting search volume. But there is a way to get the highest-ranked Keywords and still beat the big boys.

I spoke about Local Pack rankings on my blog about SEO trends and just as I did then, I will now be endorsing it. Because honestly it’s so good. For smaller companies, it can be a saving grace when it comes to SEO. As well as a nice little bit of free advertising.

Local Pack rankings come up in a variety of situation, either the Keyword has a geographical location within it such as “Web Design Rochester” or because your browser has accessed the GPS on your mobile phone or the location of the computer.

Keywords without a geographical location within them rely on traditional organic SEO so bear that in mind as we continue.

The reason Local Packs are so useful is that not only does the local pack itself rank highly often at number 1, but also because it comes along with a handy star rating of your business, making you look far more attractive than the plain organic rankings below.

So how exactly do you get your business ranking with Local Pack?

Well, you have to remember while you can use this method to beat the big boys you won’t be the only fish in the pond. Local Pack only shows the top three businesses within it so you need to do some work.

Local Pack is largely controlled by your Google My Business page. Irregardless of whether or not your end up gaining Local Pack ranking you will find ranking at all without a Google My Business page so much harder.

Your Google My Business page provides information about your business, from where you are geographically, how expensive your services are, a description of your business, hours of operation and pictures that either you or your customers have taken. A lot of this information is then fed to Local Pack which help to determine when and how you rank.

How to Optimise your Google My Business page

Use your Keywords

Use your keywords in your description when possible, don’t shoehorn them in but if you can put them naturally within the text then do.
Try to use your keywords again when uploading videos or images. Use the Keyword in the image name

Be thoughtful about your choice of the category.

It is a defining factor in how Google will tell if your business is relevant to this particular search query.

Get reviews.

You can get a link from your Google My Business page to send your clients the more reviews the better, and make sure you respond to all of them both positive and negative, owner response can help boost your rankings across the board.

While it’s unclear whether reviews are a ranking factor or if sites with more reviews get more clicks getting reviews on your Google My Business page is massively important.

Make sure your name and address are consistent.

Wherever your business presence can be found online make sure the address and name are always the same, doing this can help Google associate your varies properties such as Facebook and Yelp, it can then even drawn on these mediums to help you. Such as displaying your Facebook reviews on its sidebar panel which show when people search the name of your business.

Make sure your citations are consistent.

Citations are mentions of your business name, address or phone number on other websites. just like your name and address your citations need to match all your other online presences such as your website. You can use business directories to gain a few quick citations, these don’t hold much authority but can help you along the way.

Make sure that again this is all consistent and that your business description does not have too much of a sales feel to it, and get reviews on each of these platforms if possible.

You can simply use google to find directories but tools like BrightLocal can help if you are willing to pay.

Domain Authority

There is no forgetting about standard SEO, your natural organic rank and domain authority also affect your Local Pack ranking so I’m afraid this does mean you can’t neglect your normal SEO strategy in favour of this. But it will mean that your SEO work will not be going to waste as you will soon start seeing yourself in Google’s Local Pack.

Click-through rate

Google thinks that listings that receive a lot of clicks are more important than those with fewer clicks. In other words, if Google brings you up in Local Pack but no one ever clicks on your listing they will end up dropping you from the results, so this brings us back to reviews, try to get as many as possible and bring that star rating up. There are other ways to improve CTR (click-through rate) and Bounce rate but that is information for another blog. Needless to say, optimise your Google My Business page and your CTR should improve.

Good Luck with your rankings and for more information on how to improve your SEO check out the rest of our blog.

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