As the amount of local “near me” searches has exploded in recent years, Google has further emphasized the importance of its Map Pack. What exactly is Google Map Pack, and how can it help your small business get found in Google local search results? Learn more in our guide below!
What’s the Google Map Pack?
The Google Map Pack, also referred to as the Google 3-Pack, appears at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) for local Google searches. The pack includes three businesses that Google believes best match what the searcher is looking for based on relevance, distance, and prominence. Because it appears in a whopping 93% of searches with local intent, ranking in the Google Map Pack greatly increases online visibility.
Why the Google Map Pack Matters
So why is it important that your small business shows up in the Google Map Pack? Well, not only is it a great way to outrank competitors and get more visibility in search engine results, but it can also connect you with local customers. Here are some of the top benefits of being found in the Google Map Pack.
More Prominence = More Clicks
The top three search results on a Google SERP receive 75% of clicks. In other words, if your business appears near the top of the results, it’s more likely that a searcher will interact with your business by clicking on your website URL, calling your listed phone number, or getting directions to your business.
Local Results Show Above Organic Results
Because it’s the first thing a user sees in SERPs, the Google 3-Pack immediately catches attention. The Map Pack appears at the very top of search engine results, so searchers can find information they need before ever reaching organic search results.
3-Pack Dominates Mobile Searches
Google’s Local Pack takes up more screen space on smartphone searches, pushing organic results even further down. When searchers see your local business first on mobile, they’re more likely to choose you. Given that three out of four consumers who conduct a local search on a mobile device visit a business within a day, they’re also more likely to stop by your business and potentially make a purchase.
Being More Visible Inspires Confidence
Google is the most-used search engine, and searchers take its recommendations seriously. When a searcher sees your business at the top of a Google search page, they’re more likely to connect with your business because Google has recognized and displayed you as one of the best options for their particular need.
Showcases Customer Ratings
After your business name, the first thing a searcher sees in the Map Pack is your Google business star-rating. If you’ve earned a high rating, potential customers unfamiliar with your business are more likely to trust your products or services because your ratings show that customers have been happy with your work.
How to Improve Your Google Pack Ranking
Remember, Google’s local search results hinge on three major factors: distance, relevance, and prominence. You can’t do much to control the first, as it’s dependent on where the search is being conducted. But there are steps you can take to prove to Google that you’re a reliable business that can meet specific customer needs. Consider these steps to improve your local search optimization efforts.
Utilize Local Keywords
Keywords help Google understand what your business offers so that it can show you in relevant local search results. Using words and phrases related to your business and its services throughout your website, your Google My Business profile, and other online local business listings can help more customers find you.
Build Accurate & Consistent Citations
A local citation refers to anywhere your business’ NAP data (name, address, phone number) appears online. These are most commonly found with local listings on online business directories like Yelp, Bing Places, Facebook, and Yext. The more citations you create, the more trust you can build with Google. However, your citations must be accurate and consistent.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Your Google My Business profile is among the most impactful aspects of local SEO efforts. Once you’ve claimed your business and set up your account, there are several steps you can take to optimize your profile and make it stand out to Google.
- Verify your business with Google.
- Ensure that business information—especially NAP data—on your profile matches all other listings on the web. Incorrect listings could hurt your business.
- Choose a business category and applicable attributes.
- Include up-to-date photos of your business and products/services.
- Update operating hours and include special hours for holidays and other special occasions.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Nearly 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as a recommendation from people they know. Positive online reviews and ratings not only increase online visibility, but strong ratings are also one of the top reasons why searchers click on results in Google’s Local Pack. Ask customers to leave business reviews, and do your best to respond to all reviews you receive—even the negative reviews!