This is to clarify some terms used to describe Google’s local business results which are important for an understanding of our local SEO services.
Google’s local pack & local organic results
Google’s local pack results and local organic results (see screenshot below) are shown when the location or proximity between the searcher and the business address is either explicit or implicit in the search query.
So, if somebody searches in Google using the search query solicitors in camberley, then Google will show a local pack including up to three local businesses because location is explicit in the query. Under these circumstances, the local pack is likely to appear regardless of where the searcher is based. However, if the searcher does not include the location in their search query i.e. they search using just solicitors but they are based in or near Camberley, then location is implied because the searcher is looking for a business which is of a local type so Google is likely to show a local pack also under these circumstances. Google will also show local businesses in the main organic results which are called local organic because these results also depend on many local factors. People in different locations may see entirely different results.
Google’s ABC branded local pack
The ABC branded pack is so similar to the regular unbranded local pack that you probably wouldn’t spot the difference unless it was pointed out. Here’s what it looks like.
Joy Hawkins of www.sterlingsky.ca wrote an interesting article on Search Engine Land about the different emphasis that might be placed on local ranking factors by Google when ranking businesses in the ABC branded pack versus the unbranded local pack.
Google’s local teaser (aka “the snack pack”)
The local teaser is similar to the local pack but has no links to the website or directions. In their place there is an image. If you click on any of the large rectangular boxes for any business, it takes you to the local finder where you will see a list of local businesses on the left of the local map, together with an expanded panel about the business you selected. In that panel of information, there are links to the business’s website and directions.
Google’s knowledge panel
Google’s knowledge panel is the expanded display about an organisation that is sometimes shown to the right of the main search results. It is likely to appear when that business is highly relevant to the search query for example when a user searches using the business name. It also appears under other circumstances. The knowledge panel contains links to the business’s website, driving directions, reviews, other profiles on the web etc.
Google’s local finder
Google’s local finder may show more local businesses than are shown in the local pack on page one of Google’s search results. The local finder shows a list of local businesses to the left hand side of a local map on which the businesses are displayed with map markers. The summary of each business in the list includes links to their website (if they have one), driving directions and reviews. A link to the local finder is located at the bottom of the local pack and this is highlighted in the first screenshot above.
Google maps search
Google maps search is not the same as using the local finder above and does not produce exactly the same results. Maps search is selected using the link to maps as shown in the screenshot below.
Below is an example of the results shown for a local search conducted using Google maps.
Most of the above search results contain links to the business’s website. Website visits generated from the local pack, local maps, local finder and knowledge panel can be tracked and reported separately from website visits generated from organic and local organic search results in order better to evaluate the effectiveness of Local SEO.