Yet again for September 2015 the local 3 pack search results remain tied to organic search results.
Here are a few obsevations which have held true the last several months of 2015:
- Some people would argue about correlation and what not. These people are wrong. Now, some niches do weird things, but, organic ranking is a major factor. In fact, 9 out of 10 times, organic ranking determines if a business will or will not be in the local search results. End. Of. Story.
- Next, I am seeing businesses rank in cities even if they are a few miles outside of the city tied to the search. This appears to occur randomly, but they must have a high number of reviews, a good review score, and #1 rankings.
- Reviews = IDK. All across the board I am seeing businesses with good organic rankings crush long established businesses with great reputations. then again, in other cities/niches, it appears that reviews are a big factor. This varies.
Some niches do weird things. Sometimes, you’ll go to look up “pizza” and the results follow none of the “rules” above. Nobody has the exact formula.
Speaking of pizza, for some types of queries, Google will show you what is closest, especially if you are mobile.
If you ask me, organic rankings are about 80% of the ranking factor but there are addition factors, including some unknowns. And, reviews are indeed a ranking factor of some sort.
Sorry if you read this article and got nothing out of it- it is fairly inconclusive, it really is just some observations that I was thinking of to myself at 2AM.
One thing is for sure though- ranking in organic search and having a wide variety of content remains extremely important.
Final note: No one thing here can be applied to each industry. If you’re in NYC on your phone and search for “hotel” you are going to get location based results. Also, again, different niches perform very differently. For many niches, such as lawyers, and other brick and mortar businesses which do business at their own location – my above, random observations apply.