Success in Local SEO Just Got Harder with Google’s Launch of the Snack Pack!
You have enough trouble running your business, and you don’t need Google making it harder to market your business online — but that’s what happened with the recent launch of the Snack Pack. Local SEO guru Mike Blumenthal has been tracking Google’s introduction of the new format for local search results listings, and he described the differences between the Snack Pack and previous pack listings in a blog post last week. A day later in an article by Jennifer Slegg, The SEM Post posted a detailed description of the changes. Linda Buquet also has an excellent discussion about the local pack changes in the Local Search Forum.
What’s the Snack Pack in Local Search?
Until last week, Google would display a group of its business listings on the first page of search results. Sometimes there were just a few (3 pack) and in local areas with lots of competition there might be ten listings (10 pack). This is a screenshot of a 7 pack result for “divorce lawyers fort bend county” and it’s easy to see all the information displayed about local businesses in the Google listings.
My client, the Covington Law Firm, had a link to the Firm’s Google+ page, a link to the Google review, the complete Firm address, the business phone number and a link to the Firm’s website. You could visit the Covington Law Firm website by just clicking the Covington Law Firm, PLLC, link at the top of the Firm’s entry in the listing. Clicking the link to the Covington Law Firm Google+ page would take the visitor to a series of posts placed on the Google+ page over the last several years. There was lots of information available for Internet searchers to use in making a decision to choose the Covington Law Firm!
Now the Snack Pack has cut out much of that information and cut the number of law firm listings displayed to Internet visitors. Here’s the Snack Pack listing for the same search today.
The link to the Firm’s Google+ page is gone and the link to the website is only through the “website” icon. The complete address and phone number were displayed in the 7-pack above, but only the street name (with no street number or city name) is displayed in the new Snack Pack. To get directions to the office, you need to click on Google’s “directions” icon. The operating hours are the only new information added to the Snack Pack.
What Should You Do to Rank in the Snack Pack World of Local SEO?
This is what I recommend to my clients to succeed in the new Google search results.
- Work Harder on Your Website Ranking. There’s an obvious correlation between a first page and top of the first page ranking and inclusion in the Snack Pack. In the Snack Pack screenshot above, my client and the Broussard Law Firm are also doing well in organic website rankings. So if you want to appear in the limited prime search results real estate of the Snack Pack, you’ll have to up your game. You’ll have to work harder on your website and keep working on it if you want your listing in the Snack Pack.
- Keep Asking Your Customers for Google Reviews. In the Snack Pack example above, the Law Firm of Lester Van Slyke has many more Google reviews than the other divorce law firms in Fort Bend County, and that’s probably why this law firm is in the Snack Pack. You should keep working to collect feedback and reviews from your customers, and you should try to direct your customers to leave reviews on Google.
- Don’t Abandon Google+. Your Google+ or Google My Business listing still appears in searches for your business name and in some other searches too. Your Google business listing also furnishes the location, website, phone and operating hours information to the Snack Pack, so don’t abandon your Google+ listings. Keep posting to your Google+ listings and keep the information current through your Google My Business Dashboard!
I’ll review your website and business listings without charge if you own a small business with good reviews in the US. Call me at 713-234-6346 for a Local SEO review today!