As a marketing strategist and business owner, one of your vital tools is the Google Map Pack. With Google Maps, you can easily find potential customers in any location and track their movements. However, to truly maximize the potential of this powerful tool, you need to understand how to use the various features of the Google Map Pack.
The first thing to understand about the Google Map Pack is that local businesses, not chains, are given priority. That’s because Google wants to show its users the most relevant and practical Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for their specific location. Therefore, if you’re a local business, you must make sure that your listing is as complete and accurate as possible.
One way to do this is to claim your business listing on Google My Business. That will allow you to add important information about your business, such as your hours of operation, contact information, and pictures. Claiming your listing also enables you to respond to customer reviews, which can be extremely helpful in managing your online reputation.
As a marketing strategist, one of the best ways to ensure that your clients’ businesses appear in the Google Map Pack is to help them optimize their listings for local SEO. That can be done by including relevant keywords in their business name, category, and description. Optimizing their listing will help ensure that their business appears in the Map Pack when potential customers Google search for the products or services they offer.
If you want to get more out of your Google My Business listing, consider investing in Google Ads. By running a Local Service Ads campaign, you can target potential customers with a search intent for businesses like yours in your local area or local communities.
Local intent keywords are essential to success in Google My Business and local SEO. If you’re not sure which ranking keywords to target, consider using a keyword research tool like Google Ads Keyword Planner.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the essential elements of the Google Map Pack that every business owner should know.
Google Local Pack AKA Google Map Pack
The Google Local Pack is a collection of three businesses that appear in a box at the top of the search results page when someone searches for a local business.
The Map Pack is different from other types of SERP features– it’s not triggered by specific keywords. Instead, it’s determined by Google algorithms, which accounts for factors like the searcher’s location, the type of query, and the relevance of the businesses to the query.
Here are some essential things to know about the Google Local Pack:
- The Local Pack only appears for certain kinds of queries: Generally, the Local Pack only appears for queries that are likely to be seeking local businesses, like “HVAC business near me” or “plumber in Seattle.”
- Businesses appearing in the Local Pack are determined by Google’s algorithm: The businesses that appear in the Local Pack are not determined by any sort of payment to Google. Instead, they are determined based on several factors designed to surface the most relevant and convenient results for the searcher. Some of these factors include the business’s location, relevance to the query, and visible reviews.
- The Local Pack businesses display in order of relevance: The businesses in the Local Pack display according to many factors, but relevance is one of the most important. The more relevant a business is to the query, the higher it will appear in the results.
- The number of reviews a business has impacts its ranking: One factor influencing a business’s ranking in the Local Pack is its number of reviews. Google uses reviews as one signal of a business’s quality, so businesses with more reviews tend to rank higher than those with fewer reviews.
- Including keywords in your business name is one of the ways to get a higher ranking: Another factor that can influence your keywords rankings in the Local Pack is whether or not your business name includes keywords relevant to the query. If your business name uses relevant keywords, it’s more likely to appear in the Local Pack results for queries that provide those keywords.
You can check your rank in Google Maps by opening up Google Maps and searching for your business name. Your business’s ranking will appear in the search results alongside the number of reviews it has. You can also check your google rank in the Local Pack results by doing a Google search for keywords relevant to your business. When your business ranks in the Local Pack, it appears above the organic search results.
Local Search Essentials
Here are a few significant online consumer purchasing and local search marketing statistics concerning Google’s Map Pack:
- 78 percent of offline purchases originate from local mobile searches.
- 86 percent of Google Maps users use it to locate a company.
- 61 percent of mobile-search users are likelier to contact local companies with mobile-friendly websites.
- 88 percent of consumers trust online evaluations as much as they would a personal suggestion from a friend.
- 18 percent of local smartphone searches result in a sale within 24 hours.
- Mobile searches utilizing “near me” and “today/tonight” have increased by 900 percent. For example, “HVAC near me” and “AC repair near me tonight.”
- Over 55 percent of consumers run a search before scheduling an appointment in the majority of home services verticals.
Essentially, this is the bottomline: If you don’t have your business listed on Google Maps, you’re missing out on valuable traffic and potential customers. As a business owner and marketing strategist, awareness of the basics gets your business listed on Google Maps.
Unpacking the Map
The Google Map Pack is the name given to the group of three local businesses that appear on the first page of a Google search in response to certain queries. For example, if you search for “landscaping near me,” you’ll see a map with three landscaping businesses listed beneath it, along with their star rating, address, and phone number.
This grouping is also sometimes called the Local 3-Pack or Snack Pack, as it’s designed to give users a “snackable” amount of information about nearby businesses that match their query.
The Map Pack only appears for certain types of searches, namely those related to local businesses and services. So, if you’re searching for something that doesn’t fall into that category– say, the origins of wombats – you won’t see a Map Pack.
Google’s algorithm determines the businesses appearing in the Map Pack, which looks at several factors to decide which businesses are the most relevant and helpful for a given search.
These factors include things like business location, relevance, and whether or not the business has been verified by Google.
It’s essential to understand how the Map Pack works and how you can optimize your website to appear in it. That way, you can ensure your business is getting in front of prospects searching for products or services that you offer.
Map Pack and its Features
The old Map Pack features include:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Rating (based on customer reviews)
- Categories (type of business)
But now, the new Map Pack features include the old features and:
- Price range (for restaurants only)
- Hours of operation
- Website link
As you can see, the new Map Pack features provide searchers with more information about a business than the old Map Pack. It’s valuable for business owners because it allows them to include more information about their business on their website.
Some tips for business owners who want to take advantage of the new Map Pack features:
- Include your business name, phone number, and categories on your website.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, as searchers will likely be looking up your business on their smartphones.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google Business listing to improve your rating.
- Include photos of your business on your website and Google Business listing.
- Add prices to your restaurant’s menu, if applicable.
- Include your hours of operation on your website and Google Business listing.
- Add a link to your website on your Google Business listing.
- Ensure your website’s NAP (name, address, phone number) information is accurate and up-to-date.
If you’re not already doing so, now is the time to optimize your website for the new Google Map Pack features. By doing so, you’ll be certain that your business is visible to potential customers and take advantage of the increased traffic that the new features will likely bring.
Also, think about the ranking factors that will determine whether or not your business appears in the Map Pack. Here are some of the vital factors to keep in mind in terms of on- and off-page SEO:
On-page SEO: Optimize your website for the keywords you want to rank for. That includes having relevant and keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions and ensuring that your website’s NAP information (name, address, and phone number) is accurate and up-to-date.
Off-page SEO: In addition to on-page optimization, you’ll also need to focus on building high-quality backlinks to your website. You can do this through guest blogging, directory submissions, and other link-building strategies.
Google Business Profile SEO
You’ll also want to optimize your Google Maps listing to be top rank in the Google Map Pack, and that includes your Google Business Profile. A few of the factors that you’ll need to keep in mind about your Google Business Profile for SEO purposes include:
- GBP (Google Business Profile) Optimization: Your Google Business Profile is one of the most important ranking factors for the Map Pack. Complete all the fields and include relevant keywords in your business description. You should also add photos and videos to your profile to make it more engaging.
- Google Reviews: Getting positive reviews from customers can help you rank higher in the Map Pack. Ask your satisfied customers to leave a review on your Google Business Profile.
- GBP Updates: Keep your business profile up-to-date by regularly making changes and additions. That signals to Google that you are an active business, which can help your Map Pack ranking.
- Behavioral Signals: Google looks at various behavioral signals to determine the ranking of a business in the Map Pack. That includes click-through rate (CTR), time on site, and bounce rate.
Google Maps Off-Page SEO
You’ll also want to know Google Maps off-page SEO techniques to improve your ranking. Here are a few things you can do:
- Citations: Citations are mentions of your business on other websites. The more high-quality citations you have, the better. You can use a tool like Moz Local to help you find and manage your citations.
- Website SEO: Optimize your website for relevant keywords. That will help your website rank higher in general search results, leading to more clicks and traffic to your site.
- Backlinks: Get high-quality backlinks from other websites. It helps Google see your site as more authoritative, leading to a higher ranking in the Map Pack.
- Social Signals: Increase your social media activity and engagement. It helps Google see that your business is active and popular, leading to a higher ranking in the Map Pack.
Update Essential – The “Vicinity Update”
The vicinity update is an important Google Maps update that rolled out in early 2019. This update changed the way Google ranks businesses in the Map Pack. It’s now essential for businesses to be within proximity to the searcher to rank high.
It significantly impacts local business and local SEO. How? Well, let’s say you own a business trying to rank in the Map Pack for a specific location, but your business is not in that vicinity. You’re not going to rank as high as businesses that are.
To beat this, many businesses are using virtual offices or locations to appear closer to searchers than they actually are.
Google says: “Proximity of the business address to the user is still a very strong signal, but what’s changed is we no longer require businesses to be physically located within the city center to rank highly.”
That means if you want your business to rank highly in the Map Pack, it’s pertinent to have a physical location close to your target market. If you don’t have a physical location, you can use a virtual office or address to appear closer to searchers.
Your business should rank in the Google Map Pack as part of your digital marketing strategy. That’s because:
- The Map Pack prominently displays at the top of SERPs: For example, let’s say you’re a Plumber. If someone in your target market searches “Plumber near me,” your business could appear in the Map Pack displayed above the fold. That means searchers don’t have to scroll down to see it, making it more likely that searchers will notice and click on your listing.
- It’s an excellent way to improve your CTR: Your Plumbing company’s listing in the Map Pack appears above the fold and includes your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). That makes it easy for searchers to find your contact information and click to call or visit your website.
- It can help you attract local customers: The Map Pack is designed to show searchers the businesses closest to them. So, if someone searches for “Plumbing repair near me,” your business could appear in the results even if you’re not the most well-known Plumber company in town.
What is the Google 3-Pack?
As mentioned earlier, the Google 3-pack is the name given to the map results that appear on the first page of a Google search. When a searcher enters a query that triggers local results, Google displays a map with three local businesses that match the searcher’s query. The businesses display in order of prominence, which accounts for factors like reviews and overall web presence.
The businesses that appear in the 3-pack get preferential treatment with CTR and organic reach. In fact, studies have shown that appearing in the 3-pack can result in a significant increase in CTR. Google 3-pack specifically has 44 to 61 percent of the total clicks of local searches in Google.
It’s clear if your residential home service company wants to attract local customers, you need to be certain it’s appearing in the Google Maps 3-pack.
Does your residential home service business need help? Wizard of Ads™ has the tools to take your business to the next level. We are marketing strategists who know how to up your SEO game and get you in front of more customers. Book a call.