Google local 3-pack, or simply Google 3-pack is a result for local searches. It shows the top three most relevant businesses that are based on a user’s location. For local business owners, this is where you want to be. Read our definitive local SEO guide to learn how you can rank on this impressive Google feature.
As people rely more heavily on search engines to find answers for most of their questions, Google is becoming a big part of how users discover products and services in their area.
For local businesses, this means you need to build visibility online. And lucky for you, Google has also created a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to manage their online presence called Google My Business (GMB).
However, to truly succeed in local SEO, Google Local 3-Pack is the most valuable SERP real estate that you should be aiming for.
First, let’s understand what exactly is a Google 3-Pack.
What is Google 3-Pack?
Google 3-Pack is a list of the first 3 businesses that pop up in the search results when you do local searches, including keywords like near me or terms referring to a specific location, such as an Italian restaurant in New York.
These results are derived from Google My Business listings and only appear when Google understands that you are looking for local businesses.
As you can see, the Google Local 3-pack is displayed above other organic listings, which makes it one of the most desirable estates on Google’s result page for local businesses.
This local pack feature was introduced as early as 2014 in Google’s Pigeon update. The goal was to provide more relevant results for queries that include localized keywords.
Initially, the local pack started with 10 results but was later cut down to show only seven, and finally, in August 2015 was reduced to the current Google 3-Pack. These changes were made to provide a better user experience and optimize search results for hyper-local areas.
While this has made it more competitive for local businesses, ranking on the Google 3-Pack is definitely worth the effort.
Importance of Google 3-Pack
The Local 3-Pack appears in the #1 position 93% of the time when a local search is performed, and among all Google’s searches conducted 46% have local intent. This gives small businesses a chance to outrank even national or global organizations for local-related searches!
Not just any searches; these are searches made by users with high purchasing intent. This can potentially bring you a higher return on investment than any other marketing strategy.
According to a case study done by Moz that analyzed where users were clicking when they arrived at local search results, the team found that:
- 44% of people clicked on a result in the Local Pack
- 8% chose to load more local results
- 19% clicked on the paid result
- 29% clicked on the organic listings.
This shows how influential ranking in the Google 3-Pack can be in bringing success to local businesses. It’s the most prominent feature in SERP, and people have to scroll down to reach the #1 organic ranking.
To understand how you can benefit from it, let’s quickly go through its anatomy.
Google Local 3-Pack Anatomy
The standard Local 3-Pack displays the most important details that most users searching for a business would like to know, and this includes:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Opening hours
- Website link
- Business location and direction
All this information can be easily updated in your Google My Business profile and is meant to help users find the most relevant results to take action.
How to Rank on Google 3-Pack
Given how Google Local 3-pack results broadly vary based on a searcher’s proximity to the location, it can be difficult to consistently rank for the feature.
Luckily, that’s not all there is to it.
Besides proximity, there are other significant factors that Google takes into consideration when deciding what businesses should rank in the Local 3-Pack, and they are:
Based on these ranking factors, here are some local optimization tactics you can use to tip the scale in your favor.
1. Get Positive Reviews for Your Business
Great reviews can bolster users’ confidence. They act as word-of-mouth recommendations and are very useful for convincing potential customers that your products or services are right for them.
Most people form an opinion about your business after reading your online reviews. So make sure to solicit as many positive customer reviews as possible. The key here is to provide extraordinary service and nudge your users to leave a review.
You can do this by including a “Review Us” call-to-action after their purchase and lead them to your GMB Review URL. This will get your reviews to feature on your business profile, showing up on Google Map and Local-Pack results.
Testimonials are a strong signal to Google and can be a strong optimization tactic to tell if your business is trustworthy. So, more importantly, remember to manage your reviews in your GMB listing and respond to both positive and negative reviews.
2. Ensure Your NAP Citations are Accurate
Then again, Google My Business and your website are not the only places where your potential customers might be looking for you.
Just do a quick Google search on your brand, and you might find your business mentioned on review sites like TripAdvisor and Trustpilot or online directories like Yelp and Foursquare.
Though having your business internet profiles can help bring in more customers to your business, before anything, you need to make sure that your NAP is consistent and accurate across all profiles.
What is NAP? Short for “Name, Address, and Phone number”, NAP is an important Google ranking signal representing the vital business information potential customers use to find or contact you.
The more NAP citations you have, the better for your business as they build up your authority and act as signals to tell Google your business is relevant.
Especially if the information is accurate and consistent, Google will trust the validity of the data and increase your chances of ranking in the Local 3-Packs.
However, do note that Google takes this seriously. If your NAP details are not consistent, they might mislead customers and lead to loss of revenue and reputation, which will result in a big minus with Google.
Surprisingly, citation inconsistencies are the #1 issue affecting local rankings. So make sure to check your online presence and claim all your online profiles to manage your NAP citations!
3. Local Link Building to Raise Your Ranking
Still, the source of site authority comes down to backlinks. For local SEO, link building requires more involvement from the local community to get a positive impact.
To boost the geographical aspect of your business website or webpage, you will require links from local websites, and that can be from the church homepage or the local high school down the road, and even neighborhood watch websites.
These sites don’t need to have a high domain authority to influence your rankings.
Instead, with these backlinks, you are letting Google know that your business is where it says it is and is also trusted by these other local institutions, which will help boost prominence.
Note that when building links, it is essential that you do it in a natural context. Make sure the content surrounding the link is relevant to that on the target page. Provide valuable local content for your readers instead of just placing a link.
4. Establish a Strong Social Media Presence
Of course, let’s not forget about social media. By building a strong presence on social media, you can establish yourself as an authoritative Google local listing through your loyal followers.
While there are many social media platforms to choose from, we recommend starting with a Facebook business page. It’s the largest social network and has a high chance to appear in search results for local-related searches.
Plus, some people prefer to look up or reach businesses on Facebook through their messaging app. So make sure you create and manage your social media profiles to build a solid online reputation truly.
5. Conduct On-Page Optimization
Essentially, local SEO is still built on SEO fundamentals. To improve your visibility on Google and other search engines, you need to conduct on-page SEO for your website.
The goal here is to rank high for location-related searches, and there are a few things that are particularly important if you want to rank in Google’s local 3-pack:
a. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Local searches made are now mostly done on smartphones or tablets. Naturally, this has led Google to prioritize responsive and mobile-friendly sites in rankings.
For local businesses, this means your website should be mobile-ready to meet users’ needs. Check if your website passes the mobile-friendly test or follow the suggestions to optimize.
b. Boost your website’s loading speed
Page loading speed is a major Google ranking factor. After all, it’s critical for your site to load as fast as possible to provide a good user experience.
To check your site loading speed, you can use Page Speed Insights, a free tool provided by Google. Just insert your site URL onto the platform, and it will automatically analyze your website if it passes the core web vital elements.
c. Make phone numbers clickable to get more calls
Do you know that 76% of all mobile searches end with a phone call? Today’s users have come to expect an intuitive experience when they visit your site.
By making the phone number clickable on your site, you are encouraging them to contact you. It’s easy to make your site’s phone number clickable; just add the tel: schema to your page’s HTML editor, like this:
You might be surprised, but a minor improvement like this can lead to a huge increase in calls as well as visits to your local business.
d. Create local content to boost relevance
Whether you are a small business or a giant corporation, you need to create content on your site to boost your online visibility.
Content is king, and it’s what gets you discovered in Google when people are searching for terms related to your business, industry, product, or service.
For local SEO, you can engage your potential and existing customers by developing quality local content. If you are active in a locality, you should be aware of the local market and know what customers are looking for.
To further refine your local content strategy, we recommend using our BiQ SEO Suite for your local content creation process.
First, by using our BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence, you can search based on city or country to find what local keywords most people are searching for.
Once you identify your target keywords, you can also use our BiQ Content Intelligence to create your local content. It is a real-time editor and will provide you with suggestions on improving your writing to make sure it is fully optimized.
After you have identified the targeted local keywords and created optimized content for your website, it is crucial to track and monitor the effectiveness of your keywords through local search rankings on Google SERP.
With this, we suggest you try the latest best local rank tracking tool in 2021 – Grid My Business.
Grid My Business is a local rank monitoring tool that will show you the local search rankings of your local business and your competitors’ on Google Maps in a grid view.
It supports all locations that can be found on Google Maps. Once you have finalized your targeted keywords, you can obtain more profound insights into your local rankings with Grid My Business.
This ultimate local rank tracking tool allows you to uncover ranking opportunities among your pool of competitors based on each specific search query.
You can identify local rankings of multiple search queries by performing a quick and easy bulk scan of up to 5 keywords per scan. It saves time saves money.
Besides that, you can also schedule an automated rank monitoring and obtain precise weekly updates of all your local search rankings in a comprehensive white-label report.
By having this report, you can easily keep track, monitor, and even have a side-to-side comparison with your local competitors. Thus, supporting your local SEO ahead of the competition.
Ultimately, local SEO is the most effective online marketing strategy for any brick-and-mortar business to attract nearby customers in your area.
When you rank in Google 3-Pack, the impact can be huge! You’ll not just get a ton of organic traffic to your site, but you’ll also reach eager visitors that are ready to buy your product or request your services.
So if you want to put your small business on the map, make sure to follow our guidelines and optimize to increase your chances of getting into the local 3-pack today!
Updated: 26 January 2022