What is the Google Places Pack?
The Google Places pack is one of the most important places for local businesses - like your vet practice - to show in Google Search Results (SERPS). It looks like this on a desktop:
And similar on a mobile. At the moment, Places Packs will typically show when people are looking for a local service, such as "vets". They don't even need to type in the area if they are there themselves, as most of the time the phone or computer will pick up the location automatically.
The Places Pack is popular with people searching for a local service as it shows the places on a map, it pulls in Google reviews about the business and it provides links to their website if the person searching wants more information.
This is why it's very important that your practice is in the pack. Currently the pack shows three businesses with a link to show 'More Places' at the bottom. You obviously want to be in the top three if you can!
How to get in the Google Places Pack Option A - Organically
You need to optimise your Google My Business listing (that's what Google calls their business profiles now - previously Google Places) in the same way you'd optimise your website. Think reviews, photos, well written copy, a completed profile, links to your website and social media profiles etc - the lot.
How to get in the Google Places Pack Option B - Paid Ads
So this is the news! It appears that Google are rolling out paid ads in the Places Pack:
See where it says 'Ad' in the top two places. In the UK these ads are currently only showing when the user clicks the "More Places" link but in America they are showing in the main three. Therefore in our opinion that's the way it'll be going here too soon enough.
The Good News
If you're not showing in the pack no matter how much you optimise your listing, then now you can!
The Bad News
- If you're already showing organically, you may be bumped down.
- It's a pretty popular place to be, so bids for the Google Ads could get pricey!
- Also notice in the image above - the first ad is the same as the first organic listing. That practice will pay if people click on the Google ad, but won't if they click on the organic listing - so is it worth them having the ad at all? Well whether having Google Ads also improve your listing organically is a much debated topic and a whole different blog post!
Stay Tuned for Google Updates
We'll keep you updated on our Facebook page when more changes happen so keep your eyes peeled!