How to Rank in the Local Pack in 2023: Key Ranking Factors for Home Services Businesses
Local search is a vitally important digital marketing tactic for home services businesses. It’s how potential customers who are located in your service area and interested in the services you offer find your business online.
There are two key areas within the local search landscape that you need to consider when optimizing your website for organic (non-paid) local search:
The local pack
The local pack features the three best-performing and most relevant Google Business Profiles (GPB) for every local search. It is located directly below Google’s two paid advertising sections (PPC ads and Local Services Ads). Organic listings are located further down on the results page and are listed in order of relevance to the search.
Both play a role in your website's overall performance and lead generation. However, traffic coming from your GBP is more commercially oriented than traffic coming from your organic listings and lead performance appears to be significantly better when the lead comes from your GBP.
Getting your GBP into the local pack in 2023 will almost inevitably lead to more leads and better conversion rates. There are many factors that contribute to how well you rank in the local pack, but today we are going to focus on three of the most important local pack ranking factors for home services businesses, based on Whitespark’s 2023 local search ranking factors report and our own findings.
1. Primary GBP Category Is Correct
The single most important local pack ranking factor is your primary GBP category. If you are an insulation contractor, for example, your primary GBP category almost certainly needs to be set to “Insulation Contractor” for you to rank in the local pack.
For businesses with a seasonal focus, like HVAC contractors, setting the correct primary category is more of a challenge. We have found that changing your category based on the season is the best approach. So to continue the HVAC example, in the summer, set your primary GBP category to “Air Conditioning Contractor” and in the winter, switch it to “Heating Contractor.”
2. Distance Between Your Business and the Searcher
A searcher’s physical proximity to the address listed in your GBP is a key factor for ranking in the local pack. This is unfortunate for the better building industry because it is not incredibly relevant to home services businesses—you are traveling to your customers, not the other way around, and proximity is likely not the most important factor they consider when choosing a local contractor. There’s nothing you can do to control where searchers are located, but it’s important to be aware of the fact that their physical location does play a role in local search.
3. The Address Listed in Your GBP Is Genuine
Using a false address, virtual office, PO box, or UPS Mail Store as your business’s address within your GBP is a negative ranking factor for local search. This means using a false address of any kind will have a detrimental effect on your ability to rank within the local pack. This is a challenge for many small home services businesses that may be operating out of a home office or garage, but it is something Google pays close attention to. Setting up a small office with a genuine business address and listing that address in your GBP can go a long way in boosting your local rankings.