If customers can’t find you on Google…chances are they won’t find you in real life.
Where does your business rank on Google when you enter your business category or service + your city into the search bar? E.g. Floral Service Des Moines Iowa.
Does your business come up on the first page?
Is it part of the “pack” of business that Google displays along with a map?
The picture above is a screenshot I took of my search for “Spokane flower delivery.”
You can see the ads along the right side of the page, and there were ads above the map as well, but I didn’t include those in the screenshot.
What Google displays as part of its Local Search results is the map that is dotted with a variety of businesses, and what search enthusiasts often call “the pack” or “snack pack.” That is the small list of businesses highlighted below the map. (See picture)
For “flower delivery” Google displays 3 local businesses in the pack. Its a tasty little 3-pack snack pack.
Why do only 3 Local Businesses show up on Google Results?
According to an article by Jennifer Slegg at moz.com it was in August of 2015 that Google changed the number of local businesses it displays in the pack. Google used to display 7 businesses as part of its local snack pack, but within 24 hours they changed it to only 3!
Its the kind of thing most of us don’t really even notice or think about. I didn’t even notice until I started taking an interest in how online search affects local businesses.
Its kind of funny because if you search for “New York City Pharmacy” and you only get 3 results in the snack pack. It makes even the largest metropolis seem like a one-horse town.
Is Local Search Results something your business should worry about?
More and more people are using the internet – especially on mobile devices – to find local businesses.
You may have a great business, but if you do a poor job of having an online presence you won’t show up in the top Google search results.
To the average internet users this can imply that your business is inferior to the businesses that are displayed in the snack pack, and on the first page of Google results.
Of course this doesn’t make it true. It doesn’t mean you are inferior to those other businesses but THAT IS the perception that internet users may get. And it’s their perception that counts.
Most people trust the Google results. They assume that the search results are the best ones.
But hey, thats only people that use the internet. And how many of them are there these days anyway? (Insert sarcastic tone 🙂
How to Show up in Google Local Business Pack Results
Remember my screenshot above – there are a lot more than 3 flower delivery stores in Spokane, so why do these 3 show up?
How can you get your business to show up in “The Pack”?
I was listening to a podcast called “The Agents of Change with Rich Brooks” and he was interviewing an SEO guy named Andrew Shotland. You can find the link here to the blog post.
(In case you don’t know that term “SEO” it stands for Search Engine Optimization. It basically means making sure your website and content is set up to make it easier for Google and other search engines to find and display your website.)
And what Andrew Shotland mentions is that you need to have your “NAP” prominently and consistently displayed correctly.
NAP stands for
So on your website make sure you have your contact page updated, and all other references to your NAP should be consistent. For example, if you’ve moved recently and your contact page has your proper NAP, but the About Us page, or your blog pages have your old address then Google doesn’t like this. (You do have your blog up right?)
I’m a pharmacist (in Canada) and a lot of my interest is in Pharmacies and local search results. So if you wonder why I’m mentioning a bunch of pharmacy searches thats why. But this topic pertains to all local businesses.
I want you to search for pharmacies in your city.
If I search for Pharmacy Edmonton lets look at the results.
You can see I’ve cut off part of the map itself, then right below that we have our 3 pack snack pack of Local results. But what do you notice right below that.
Thats right – business directories. You get YellowPages and CanPages. (CanPages is a division of YellowPages)
(Plus notice the other 2 search results in the top 4 are both pharmacies that appear in the 3-pack Local search results below the map.)
In search engine marketing and SEO they call listings in businesses directories like these citations. Citations for your business.
You want to have your business listed on these business directory sites. And you want to make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number is correct and consistent across all the directories you list in.
Check out this link to sign your business up for a FREE business listing with YellowPages Canada.
What other business directories could you list your NAP on? Are there local city directories? Chamber of Commerces?
I’m still learning about this stuff, and I don’t claim to know Google’s Algorithm but these are some steps you can take right now to help improve the local search results for your business. Get found by those eager, searching customers.