Local search is a key component of a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. A critical part of local SEO is understanding the Google 3-Pack and how it works. Whenever a user searches online for a local service, Google includes a map among the organic search results.
The Google 3-Pack, or Local 3-Pack, refers to the map that displays places related to your search, as well as a list of three businesses with their name, address, and phone number data. The Local 3-Pack replaced the Local 7-Pack, which was used prior to August 2015. This article will explore how to get your business featured in the Local 3-Pack.
Optimizing for Google’s Local Pack
According to the SEO firm BrightEdge, “You cannot optimize specifically for the Google 3-Pack because businesses that appear on the Google 3-Pack are location dependent.” The search results will vary depending on where the searcher is located. The best way to increase your chances of appearing in the Google 3-Pack is to create a Google My Business page and optimize your website for local SEO.
Creating a Google My Business Page
Optimizing your Google My Business listing makes it look its best and ensures Google receives the best information. As you set up your GMB account, pay attention to the following fields.
• Business name.Ensure your company name is complete and is spelled correctly.
• Category.The category specifies how Google will match your business to a user’s search. It’s important to select the category that most closely matches your business.
• NAP.“NAP data” refers to Name, Address, and Phone Number. It’s critical to make sure your NAP data is up-to-date and consistent across all of your social media and other internet profiles. Google considers NAP data to be a ranking signal, and inconsistent NAP citations can hurt your SEO.
• Images.Photos will appear in Google Images as well as in your GMB listing. Companies who include photos on Google My Business “receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.”
Claim Your Other Online Profiles
Your potential customers may find you in a variety of places besides Google. Online review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, and social media sites such as Facebook, often appear in search results below the 3-pack. You can use these sites to attract even more customers.
To find websites where you need to claim a listing, try searching as your potential customers might. For example, Google “coffee shop in Cincinnati.” Identify the sites in the first few pages of search results, and claim your business listing on each platform you find. The process of claiming a listing will vary depending on the site.
Good reviews build trust with potential customers, and they’re also a key ranking factor for the Local 3-Pack. Also, 86% of users read reviews of local businesses, and 57% of consumers will only use a business if its reviews are four stars or higher. Here are several ways to encourage your customers to leave reviews.
• Include a “Review Us” page on your company’s website and link it to your Google My Business page.
• If you collect your customers’ contact information, send them reminders to leave a review.
• Respond to online reviews, whether they’re positive or negative.
Replying to reviews is one of the best ways to encourage customer engagement. When replying to positive reviews, thank the customer for the review and for visiting your business. For negative reviews, apologize for the issue, accept responsibility, and express your commitment to making the situation right. Replying to reviews shows customers you take their feedback seriously, which builds trust.
Don’t forget to reply to reviews on other platforms, not only those on your Google My Business page. Other review sites such as Yelp are important sources of information for your customers.
Build a Social Media Presence
In addition to Google My Business, make sure your company has a presence on social media. Building your online presence will establish your company as a trusted business with loyal followers. Facebook is the largest social network and many people use it to look up local businesses.
Quality backlinks are an important part of SEO. Local businesses should cultivate backlinks to boost their visibility and improve their organic search rankings. The best way to build backlinks is to consistently produce quality content. Not only will outstanding content attract users, it will also build your site’s authority. Authority is an important ranking factor to Google. When you produce quality content, other sites are more likely to link to it, raising your site’s authority.
When your company appears in Google’s Local 3-Pack, it attracts customers to your brand and boosts engagement. As you craft your website and build your online presence, use the guidelines in this article to maximize your chance of appearing in the Local 3-Pack.