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Chapter Two:Breaking Down Local SERPs

To enhance your understanding of local SEO, we’ll take a look at how businesses appear in the search engine results page (SERP) during a local search.

Let’s start with a local intent-based search: “Tacos near me.” (Roughly 18,000 people search for this each month.)

Depending on the type of device you are searching from, you may see different results. For this example, we will show the desktop and mobile version of the SERP.

The differences between the two interfaces highlight how important mobile is for local businesses, since an increasing number of searches are conducted on mobile devices.

Figure 2.1 - “tacos near me” desktop search results page.

We can see that since I’m currently searching from Buffalo, NY, I’m receiving localized results for restaurants that serve tacos in my vicinity.

A map sits on top of the search results page with all the known Mexican restaurants listed in my area.

Below the map are the top three results featured in what is commonly referred to as the “local pack” or “local 3-pack.” Visibility in the local pack can be huge for businesses as it serves as an interactive way for users to find what they are looking for. Google first serves up what it determines are the most relevant results based on the search. Users are then able to sort the results by a variety of characteristics. In this example, the local pack allows us to filter by rating, price and hours. This is one of the primary sections we will be working to optimize.

Figure 2.2 - “tacos near me” mobile search results page.

After which comes the organic listings. The top result on this search is from Yelp, a review page of the “Best Tacos Near Me,” then a result from Grubhub, followed by the website of a locally owned Mexican food chain.

You will also notice that many of these results are review-focused, including the results in the local pack. Reviews will continue to be an essential part of local business success, as star ratings, the number of reviews, frequency and review responses all play a role in local search performance.

Now, the way that these results display is dependent on the exact query, the user’s location, and the searcher’s intent. But, standing out from the competition starts with an optimized Google profile and a strong local SEO strategy.

Next, we will look at an overview of the local SEO ranking factors that help your business garner attention from potential customers.

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