Today we are going to talk about Google’s local search pack and why it is important to your company. When you conduct a search using a search engine, the search engine will try to determine the best results to show you based on the terms you typed in. In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we call the page that displays search results a SERP, or Search Engine Results Page. You will see this referenced if you look up information pertaining to SEO.
A Google Search Engine Results Page is made up of multiple pieces. The two pieces we are most concerned with right now are organic search results and the local pack. Moz.com has created a very detailed article that goes into all of the pieces of a search results page. We recommend you read that article for an in-depth look at SERPs, if this is something that really interests you.
Let’s take a look at this in context.
First, we will conduct a search for a dog walker. You will notice several pieces of the Google search result page. At the top, you will see an ad. Below this, you will see a set of organic results followed by the local search pack. The local pack is a specific part of Google reserved for local search results. These are companies in your area that Google believes might interest you. These results are location specific, and the companies displayed are competing with each other on the local level. (More on that in a minute.) Below this, you will see more organic results. These are the pages competing for top search rank for the phrase “dog walker.” The organic results that are displayed are all national websites. Being shown in the top organic results is a difficult task to achieve. The more competitive the search term, the harder it gets. Organic search results are some of the most coveted by businesses, and an entire industry has been created to help businesses try to get these spots.
Google shows 52,100,000 search results for “dog walker.” Think about how many web pages are competing for just a few of those top spots. Being one of the top results can be very challenging, especially when trying to compete with large, nationwide websites. Google has tried to help in some instances by including local results within the organic results, but we can’t always rely on that. On our search for dog walkers, we find that the top sites shown are rover.com, care.com, wagwalking.com, a news pack, sittercity.com, iTunes, and Wikipedia.
These are all national sites. Luckily, Google has developed their local search pack to help local companies stand out in competitive search results. Google has dedicated the near-top of the page to local businesses. This is an advantage for local companies, but far too many companies do not realize the advantages of being in the local pack. They instead focus on trying to be number one in organic results. I would argue that given the cost and time needed to obtain a top result in organic rankings, local search results are far more valuable for your local business. The local search pack is given a distinct part of the page, and there are far fewer people competing for the result than on the national level.
We spend hours every week looking at ways companies can grow in the estate sale industry. When analyzing opportunities, we find that very few estate sale companies are concentrating on local search results and the competitive advantage it can give their company. Instead, it’s often ignored or forgotten about. The companies that start concentrating on local search will have a first mover advantage over their competition. For example, imagine if every time a potential customer types “estate sale company in Detroit” into Google, and your company is one of the top three that shows in the local search pack. Imagine that you have 30 reviews and your next closest competition has four. The potential for gaining new customers is fantastic.
If you want to learn more about local search, see our Grow article on the topic. Also, check out Moz.com. They offer great information to get you started.