This is the second in our series of posts that discuss the 2023 Google Local Ranking Factors. In the prior post, I used two terms, Google 3-Pack and Google Organic Search results, and I wanted to discuss and explain the differences between the two.
The Google 3-Pack is the primary and dominant form of local search results for Google. The formula used on the results page, rank businesses for a geographic region based on the users search query. The major factors that go into the results are prominence, relevance and proximity. The results are shown as unpaid listings on the search results page.
Other factors that are taken into account and are relevant to the search results are inbound links, your on-site SEO and your domain authority. The results will show you which businesses in your geographic region match up best with your search criteria. An example of this would be the search "dentist near me."
You will find that paid ads are displayed at the top of the list and Google does indicate that they are sponsored ads. However directly below the ads you will see the organic results based on the search criteria, not by who paid more.
We consider this to be the modern referral process as opposed to asking your neighbor. In today's digital world, you don't have to ask your neighbor who's the dentist that most in the area use. You search online and the Google 3-Pack search results page will give you that information.
On the other hand, organic search results is the second term that we're going to talk about. Organic search is really used to research and learn from subject subject matter experts on particular topics. An example of this would be the following search "what are the symptoms of a cavity?" The search results will bring back relevant web pages and or web content that answers the question that you have entered into the search criteria box on Google.
In these results, you will not see paid ads, just organic results Google's formula determined best match up with the search criteria and have taken advantage of the tools at their disposal to give Google the signals that this is what is important. You will need to follow SEO best practices for on-site to boost your Search Engine Results Page placement.
If you see the term SERP somewhere, it stands for Search Engine Results page. You are going to want to use page titles, your "H" tags, label your photos appropriately with title "ALT" references, and make sure that it's clear to Google what topics you are trying communicate to your audience.
If you take these steps and get good search results, you will become the subject matter expert, according to Google, for those who search on that topic as your pages will come at the top or near the top of the page on similar topics searches for your service and or product. This helps establish you as the expert in your market for the products and services that people may be looking for.
We post a blog for each of the 7 major factors that determine how you come back in search results in both the 3-Pack and for Google organic results.
If you are interested in seeing how your business is doing in the eyes of Google, click here to receive a complimentary SnapShot Report.