Brief change suggests local SEO ranking factors are different for branded queries
What are the differences between branded and non-branded local packs in Google, and how might ranking factors be weighted differently for each? Columnist Joy Hawkins shares her observations.
I had a unique experience a couple months ago that confirmed that Google weights local ranking factors differently for branded search terms than they do for non-branded ones.
Before I explain what happened, I need to first clarify that there are currently two different kinds of local 3-packs (branded vs. non-branded), and my conclusion is that the ranking factors for these are not the same.
Branded vs. non-branded 3-pack
The branded 3-pack is generally what you get when you search things like “sears dallas” or “starbucks seattle” or “state farm chicago.” (However, I frequently see Google showing branded 3-packs for non-branded queries. I’ve always concluded this means that Google somehow “thinks” the query is a branded search when it’s really not.)
You’ll get a non-branded 3-pack when you search generic categories like “shopping mall chicago” or “auto insurance baltimore.”
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