… And then there were two. Sam Cooke said “change gon’ come,” and so it goes. In recent weeks, Google has announced updates being deployed to their local search results features. Again. The updates are coming to the feature commonly referred to as the “Map Pack,” also referred to as the “Local 3 Pack.” Previously, the Local 3 Pack would display 3 local organic results beneath paid ads. That is no longer the case. Is your local SEO company keeping you informed? If not, read more about the new local search results below!

Rand Fishkin’s Tweet

Joy Hawkins Announcment (Local Search Pros)

Now, of 3 results of be shown on the front page of local searches, one of those positions will be occupied with a paid advertisement, shrinking the top organic search positions to two – the “Local 2 Pack.”

As you might imagine, this makes appearing on the front page of a local search increasingly difficult. The bottom line is this – it is more important than ever to focus on your search engine optimization. How do you get your business in to the coveted space of a front-page, top-2 result?

First, let’s try and understand exactly what Google’s “Local 2 Pack” means.

You will notice three listings at the top of your page when you Google something that the system recognizes as a local search. Just underneath the first position, which is a paid advertisement, you will presented with the top 2 organic results, or Local 2 Pack. Underneath those top results, you’ll notice an option for “More places,” which will expand to show users all of the local options relevant to the search when clicked, but not by default.

With new parameters come new struggles and goals for any business that relies on search engine marketing – basically every business. Where it was once much less difficult for a local business to be a front-page result in a crowd of seven and then more recently three, Google now has businesses competing to be in the top two – a much bigger challenge in getting your website in front of the eyes of consumers.

How to Get in to the Top 2 of the Google Local Pack:

Different markets pose different challenges for achieving top-2 status, but the basic rules are the same:

  1. Host an Outstanding Website

Google tries hard to make sure that they are referring searchers to websites that offer value in the form of meaningful content. Hosting industry and product-specific articles, images, videos and timely information motivates users to not only visit your site but to stay a while, contact you, and even buy your products online. Mobile optimization is also a must. Traffic begets more traffic.

Google is watching; improved organic search results and top-2 local pack status come to those whose websites go above and beyond the competition.

  1. Online Reviews

A crucial aspect of search engine optimization is garnering continuously positive online reviews surrounding your business.  A majority of business owners assume that offering great service will directly result in positive feedback online, but that is necessarily true. Offering unparalleled service is a start, but understanding the review process and consistently soliciting online feedback from your customers can make all the difference.

About reviews, Google offers a direct forum for users to provide feedback. You will notice that the online reviews are listed directly in the Local 2 Pack listing in the form of stars. At a glance, it is highly important for companies to have solid reviews listed here in Google.

It’s also very important to solicit online reviews on other sites as well. Yelp, Yahoo, Facebook, Bing, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List to name a few. Consistent and positive feedback on these other sites is registered by Google and can organically improve your position in search results as well.

  1. Location, Location, Location

Google delivers local search results based on where a search is coming from geographically, so your business’ brick and mortar location is still relevant, even in this day and age. A prominent location is typically seen as more relevant to more searchers.  Although e-commerce is increasingly indiscriminate of a buyer or seller’s location, the Local 2 Pack is not. It may not be worth the hassle of relocating your business, but it’s worth some consideration.

  1. Take Full Advantage of a Google ‘My Business’ Profile

Google’s ‘My Business’ service allows business marketers to get on Google’s good side by plugging all of their information in to the Google platform directly. See some best practices below.

  1. Have accurate and up-to-date information included in all relevant fields.
  2. Have an informative and fun company description that is optimized and provides useful links to other areas of your site.
  3. Use keyword phrases that are relevant to potential customers.
  4. Provide striking and representative images of your business’ location, products, and service.
  1. Consider Paid Placement

Make no mistake – Google is trying to drive more business to their Pay-per-click (paid ads) revenue stream by making it a more desirable position. We’ve discussed many of the organic routes to take in achieving all-star status in Google’s Local 2 Pack, but the potential of paid ads cannot be ignored. After all, the Local 2 Pack appears below the relevant paid advertisements. If you are a smaller local business competing in a more competitive market, it might be in your best interest to consult an online marketer and gain traction initially through some paid placement on Google. It’s not always cost-intensive, and usually worth it.

Though change can cause frustration at the start, there’s little sense in putting up a fight with Google. It’s in the best interest of business owners to inform themselves and adapt swiftly. Each change brings new opportunities for businesses and in-the-know marketers to capitalize. AVX experts are happy to consult on best methods for improving your SEO and the performance of your business. Don’t get left behind!

Get in Touch


"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.