We’re going to show you how to get into the local 3-pack.
First, why do we want to be in the local 3-pack?
Open up a new tab in your browser and do a search for the service that you offer. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If you’re like 90%+ of Google users, you skipped the paid results at the top, then saw a local map with three businesses there. You’ve heard that it can be incredibly difficult to get to #1 on Google, but these results are even higher than #1 and it’s not hard to rank rank there if you know what you’re doing. Want proof? Here is a search for a medical spa in Cherry Hill, NJ. Two weeks ago, result #2, Revamp Medical Spa (our client), didn’t even have an internet presence beyond a Facebook page. Now look where they are:
How would you like to place your business in that little 3-pack of local businesses? Our client even showed up higher than Anu, a business that has been around for several years and has 26 reviews. How is this possible?
You never even know how far “local” can actually be.
If you’re lucky, the “local 3-pack” can have an even bigger reach. Here’s a search for “PPC agency in NJ”
SEM Geeks are over an hour away from my office, yet here they are ranking in the “local” 3-pack. Get your business into this spot and you don’t know how far reaching the impact can be; we get phone calls from businesses located hours away from our office that we know found us through the 3-pack.
So, how do you get into the local 3-pack?
Step 1: Local Citations
The very first thing that you need to do is choose your NAP (name, address, and phone number). Are you located on Rt. 73, Route 73, or NJ-73? (these are all variations of the address of our office) Are you 12khz, LLC or 12khz SEO | Web Design | PPC? Does your phone number have dashes or periods? Do you use the main line or your personal office’s line? Frankly, the most important thing is that it must be consistent across your website and all of the local citations that you are going to claim.
Once you have picked your one consistent version of your address, claim your Google My Business profile. Complete the profile as thoroughly as you can (logo, photos, everything) and verify your listing (you’ll get a postcard in the mail). After that, there are hundreds of directories that you can list your site on, but having 300 directories pointing to your site can look spammy as hell, so only submit to the good ones. You can find a shortlist of the ones that you should definitely be on here and you can find a list that includes the “trust flow” (the trustworthiness/non-spamminess) of a large number of directories here.
I don’t want to scare you; if you don’t have time or the manpower to list your site on all of these directories, get on the big ones:
- Google My Business
- Homeadvisor (for contractors)
- Apple Maps
Sometimes, this is all that you have to do to rank in the local 3-pack. If you operate in more of a competitive market, you may have to do more.
Step 2: Create pages for each of your services and areas that you serve
We often see websites where a client may list all of his or her services on the home page or services page and call it a day. By creating individual landing pages for each of the services that you offer, you can tailor the message of why someone should hire you vs. someone else to perform that very service.
Below is a screenshot of the website of a brand new client that we started working with this week:
The first thing that we are going to do for this client is create individual pages for each of these services. Once there is a dedicated page for each service and a mention of the area served, this client will be much more likely to rank for “home appraiser for divorce settlements near me.” Odds are that none of his competitors have a page on their sites targeting that long tail keyword, which should make it much easier to rank for than “home appraisers.”
Areas of service
This is an area where you can be tempted to get spammy. Do not cut and paste the same exact page and change the name of the town. While this is not a common reason for a site to get penalized, it’s only a matter of time before Google decides to slap everyone that has put up 400 pages targeting every single town in the state with the same exact text. If you do create individual pages for each area you serve, be sure to make each page significantly different and you won’t run the risk of a future penalty. Nonetheless, if you do this right, you’re going to greatly increase your chances of popping up for someone doing a local search.
Step 3: Stay active on your Google My Business
Since the local 3-pack pulls data from Google My Business, it would only make sense to stay on top of it. Regularly adding photos and content to it makes Google happy, and they are likely to reward your efforts by delivering your results in local search.
- Solicit reviews from your clients and be sure to respond to each one
- Post images regularly—people love pictures, and so does Google
- Post pictures of you and your employees. You’ve heard the saying that people don’t buy services, they buy people.
- Add the virtual tour!!!
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