Rejoice…The Local Pack Is Near Me!
As a Project Manager here at Whitespark, I’m usually knee deep in implementing a bunch of SEO strategies for our LocalSpark clients. I’m usually not the guy around here that digs into the algorithm to see what has changed from one update to another. Let’s just say I’m not the one around here that’s going to tell you something new about the algo. I leave that sort of research and discovery to Darren and Phil.
But on this day I found myself doing a number of searches for a Realtor we’re working with to see if anything was triggering the local pack, and lo and behold, I stumbled upon something that even Darren thought was worthy of a post. What’s the saying…even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while?
Prior to the algo update on July 25th, there were many broad real estate keyword phrases that would trigger the local pack. Keywords like “real estate Minneapolis” or “realtors Minneapolis” would trigger the local pack all day long. That is no longer the case since the update. It seems like nothing triggers the local pack for real estate agents…well at least not until my recent discovery anyway.
Enter the Phrase “Near Me”
Out of curiosity I started to plug in a bunch of long-tail keyword phrases that I know get at least *some* searches based on some previous PPC work I did for clients. One of those common long-tail phrases was “near me” as in “real estate agents near me” or “emergency plumbers near me” or “mold remediation near me.” You get the point. Guess what I found when I did these searches? The coveted local pack! Take a look:
Other long-tail terms I discovered that triggered the local pack was “find a” and “find” as in “find a realtor” or “find emergency plumber.” Take a look:
Darren wanted me to try some searches with zip codes but those didn’t trigger the pack. Literally the only terms I found that triggered the pack were phrases with “near me” and “find” or “find a” in them. I’m sure there are other long tail phrases that trigger the pack that I didn’t test but they are certainly far and few between.
What about Mobile Searches?
I was really hoping the broad terms would still produce the local pack on my iPhone but no such luck. In fact, the mobile searches I conducted mirrored the desktop results. Broad phrases such as “real estate agents Minneapolis” didn’t trigger the pack but “real estate agents near me” did.
What Is the Take Away Here?
I have no idea…lol. I’ll leave that thinking and analysis to Darren, Phil, and the rest of you thought leaders in our space. What it means to me is that I can at least tell our local SEO clients that they can still be found locally for some long-tail keywords.
We have been talking internally what we’re going to do if this latest algo change doesn’t get fixed soon. After all, our bread and butter is in the local SEO space so if we’re working with a client where the typical broad keyword phrases no longer trigger the local pack, such as the case with Realtors, what are we supposed to tell them?
“Relax, we’ll just get you ranked organically. You’ll *only* be competing against Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and a handful of other major brands. No problem.” At least for now we can tell these clients there is still some presence locally. Sure it’s limited exposure right now, but it beats nothing!
What does any of this tell you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear your take!