Jared

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Hello,

Another day; another rookie local SEO question. As always, you brilliant experts are who I come running to.

Anyway, here's my issue . . .

"Residential Solar Panels" -- from what I can gather, this isn't considered a localized keyword by Google. It doesn't bring up any local results for me, nor for anyone I've asked to check it.

Am I right that this keyword isn't localized, or am I doing something wrong?

If I am right, is there something I'm not getting as to why this keyword wouldn't be considered local by Google? It seems like there's strong local intent to me.

Also, are there any time-saving tips or methods for figuring out whether or not Google considers a keyword localized?

Thanks.
 
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I'd be interested in what the other pros have to say about this (especially Colan or Mike Blumenthal, I seem to remember seeing something from both on how to trigger a 3-pack where there wasn't one before, though I can't find anything from either at the moment).

For my two cents though... my understanding at least is that there are sort of two kinds of keywords that don't pull up a 3-pack. One is keywords that don't pull up a 3-pack even in the most high competition cities, and the other are just keywords that don't pull up a 3-pack for your particular city (though it does show for some other cities). I haven't done any work at all trying to get 3-packs appear where there weren't any there before, but I suspect it's at least easier if the 3-pack pops up for those keywords for some cities at least. https://adwords.google.com/apt/anon/AdPreview is a good way currently to see what pops up in other cities.

For what it's worth, residential solar panels didn't pop up much for me, but solar energy supplies did. Keyword research is always a huge deal when going into a new industry, blocking out a few hours is kind of a minimum, so definitely take your time with it and be thorough. Even if that keyword doesn't show a 3-pack, it doesn't mean that this isn't a valuable and viable way of getting your business out there... especially since 3-pack visibility is helped with organic SEO, so any work you do to get pages showing on non-3-pack areas will help you show better for the 3-pack stuff too.

If it doesn't look like the 3-pack is much of an option for you in your industry, you might have to think outside the box and explore other means of outreach instead. Pure organic SEO and adwords are the obvious choice for online at least, though in my city at least (Portland) there's a lot of solar power companies actually hitting the pavement with direct community outreach. Flyers, salesmen, direct mail, etc.

I suspect that your industry is a really interesting one from a marketing psychology perspective. The buyer cycle is probably fairly long, and the main entry points, questions, concerns, and reasons to take the plunge now vs 6 months from now are probably fairly nuanced. If there's no easy way to nab people at the moment they've decided to purchase, you might need to step back a few steps... those keywords earlier in the buyer cycle probably won't have a 3-pack showing for them either, so organic SEO with a lengthy autoresponder sequence while they're hemming and hawing might be a good way to go, or at least worth testing out. Direct outreach can be an awesome way too to get a bunch of market research done to help with that, and maybe pay for all that research with a few sales while you're at it. After all, nothing beats talking to a few hundred prospects when you're putting together a new outreach method.
 
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