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  1. #1
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    Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    This case study was a bit of a mind bender (at least to me) and I wanted to start a discussion around it to see if there are any differences you notice that I missed.

    Full case is here: Brief change suggests local SEO ranking factors are different for branded queries

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    Re: Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    Interesting Joy.

    I wonder how much this actually changes in the vertical. I would be curious to see the differences between a service area business and a brick and mortor.


    We don't see those differences in the 3 pack for auto dealer searches - Make Dealer or New car Dealer searches look the same.

    For my dealers that do rank in the local pack for non-branded terms, location and organic ranking factors make the most impact. Location is top still for a factor, while the organic SEO strategy is second.
    -----
    CDK Global SEO Specialist & Local Listings Guru

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    Re: Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    Branded packs do show up all the time though for non-branded queries. In the same sense, I've seen it the opposite way where Google shows a non-branded pack for a branded term.

    Another example:

    Crossfit Houston (a brand search) - returns a branded pack
    Crossfit Eugene (a brand search - returns a non-branded pack

    So Google gets it wrong a lot. "Handyman" is also not a branded search, yet everywhere you pull it up, you get a branded pack.

    I think it's critical to know certain elements matter more for one vs the other because depending on what boat your client is in, you'd want to focus on the factors that matter most for the type of pack they want to be in.

    Also for big chains, like State Farm or Crossfit, the # of searches for the brand often WAY exceeds the # of searches for the category and therefore optimizing for the brand is super important to deliver a good ROI.

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    Re: Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    Very interesting Joy, I think you are spot on on the factors that are different, but I think that is primarily because the entire underlying way that SERP is returned is different. Basically it's not an issue of the factors themselves being different but the entire framework for how the SERP is returned is different.

    Consider this, when you do a keyword (non-branded) search Google is looking to answer your query by providing results based on their understanding of relevance and prominence. When you do a branded search though, and Google recognizes it as a branded search, they are returning entity specific results (hence, how they know and return a branded SERP, they know you are looking for an entity).

    Basically it's PageRank vs. HummingBird/RankBrain, if that makes any sense. I've been deep in massive amounts of ranking factor data for months so I may just be speaking in tongues at this point.

    Though again, I'm unconvinced brands themselves should care about optimizing for branded searches. This is much more of an issue in franchise/proprietor models as those are the people who care. Most brands don't want to get into picking winners among locations or fanchisees.
    Dan Leibson
    Vice President of Local & Product
    Local SEO Guide Inc.
    @danleibson
    + Dan Leibson

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    Re: Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    I have a client who has a similar issue. A search for 'self storage nuneaton' shows a brand pack which is very strange. Has anyone found a way to 'break' a brand pack?

    I have been in situations where a client's competitor dominates the search results with a one pack for a non-branded search term. I can usually break these by building more website authority and fixing some of the local seo elements
    Marketing Team Leader & Local SEO Consultant
    Bowler Hat - Birmingham, UK.
    Blog of Ryan Scollon

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    Re: Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    Hi,

    I was wondering if these Google My Business items affect local pack results and the impact of each. And as a whole, does having a more active Google My Business profile coordinate with ranking on Google Local Search Results better and/or Google Organic Results:
    • # of followers
    • Total Views
    • # of reviews
    • Average REview Rating
    • Custom GMB URL
    • 100% optimized
    • Virtual Tour
    • Connected YouTube Channel
    • # of youtube videos
    • Total # of youtube views
    • # of photos
    • Likes/+1s on photos
    • # of comments on photos
    • Duplicates
    • Frequent Posts
    • Responses

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    Re: Ranking Factors for Branded 3-Packs are Different than Non-Branded Packs

    Quote Originally Posted by AwesomeDynamic View Post
    Hi,

    I was wondering if these Google My Business items affect local pack results and the impact of each. And as a whole, does having a more active Google My Business profile coordinate with ranking on Google Local Search Results better and/or Google Organic Results:
    • # of followers
    • Total Views
    • # of reviews
    • Average REview Rating
    • Custom GMB URL
    • 100% optimized
    • Virtual Tour
    • Connected YouTube Channel
    • # of youtube videos
    • Total # of youtube views
    • # of photos
    • Likes/+1s on photos
    • # of comments on photos
    • Duplicates
    • Frequent Posts
    • Responses
    Organic ranking impacts the ranking of the 3-pack but not the other way around. So ranking high in the 3-pack doesn't help increase your organic ranking but ranking high organically has a strong impact on your ranking in the 3-pack.

    As for the other factors you mentioned, this is based on my experience:

    • # of followers - Little/No impact
    • Total Views - There is a correlation in the sense that higher ranked listings have more views.
    • # of reviews - Big ranking factor
    • Average Review Rating - not a ranking factor except that it might trigger the spam filter
    • Custom GMB URL - not a ranking factor
    • 100% optimized - small impact on ranking
    • Virtual Tour - could have an impact on ranking if it helps CTR
    • Connected YouTube Channel - Used to impact ranking, haven't seen any recent cases where it did though.
    • # of youtube videos - if they list your NAP and link to your website they can help ranking
    • Total # of youtube views - not sure
    • # of photos - helps ranking because it increases CTR
    • Likes/+1s on photos - as far as I have seen, little/no impact
    • # of comments on photos - Not sure I've ever even seen a photo with a comment. Would say it doesn't impact.
    • Duplicates - Can have negative impact if you have duplicate listings.
    • Frequent Posts - little/no impact unless the posts get a ton of engagement
    • Responses - little/no impact


    You can also see more of these in the Local Search Ranking Factors Survey - https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

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