Google Local PackFor many local business owners, Google search and the “Google Local Pack” are two of the most important drivers of new customers.

The Power of Local Search Engine Marketing

If you are not familiar with Search Engine Marketing (SEM), it is the practice of getting visibility and driving traffic from search engines via both paid (pay per click / sponsored) or free (organic) efforts.

With over 88% of Americans connected to the Internet and over 68% of adults in the United States owning a Smartphone – online search, especially on Google, has become the preferred choice for finding new local businesses.

As a result, smart business owners have been working hard to make sure that their business is listed prominently on Google Local search results.

What this means is that being highly visible on the first page of results on Google Local, or the “Google Local Pack” as it’s commonly referred to, has become an absolute necessity for many business owners (and rapidly becoming even more critical each day.)

Google Local 3-Pack

In a move designed to increase the relevancy of the search results delivered, Google reduced their Google Local Pack search results on August 7th from a maximum total of 7 listings to only 3 results.

Now, in place of the additional previous 4 listings, Google has added new information about the top 3 listings including images, reviews and prices.

You will still be able to view more listings by clicking on the option that says “More places” but the next page of results and all the following pages, show a sea of additional options making it very difficult for any business to truly “stand out”.

Sponsored Listings

In a further business move by Google and to further expand on the power of their Google Adwords program, business owners now have the option to advertise their business as one of the 3 Google Local spots by including it as a paid sponsored placement.

This move effectively reduces the available number of organic/free search results available on which to promote a business to only 2.

What this means is that unless a business owner makes sure to stay up to date with their local SEO and keeps their online presence fully updated according to Google’s standards – they stand to lose one of the most important digital marketing opportunities available to them.

Are You on the Top 3?

Is your business currently listed as one of the top 3 Google Local Pack results?

Or perhaps, was your business previously listed on the top 7 results of the Google Local Pack, and now it has dropped off the first page?

Let me know in the comments below!