Google Map Pack, or “The Local Pack,” refers to the top positions in Google’s local search results, which lists businesses and their locations as place markers on a map.
When people conduct Google searches, Map Pack is often a deciding factor in where they shop and what they buy.
Why Is Google Map Pack Important?
The Google Maps Pack displays a summary, the overall star rating, Google reviews, the address, opening hours, photos, and pricing info of a business.
It consists of the most highly ranked businesses in a location, which is why being ranked on it is as competitive as it is coveted.
According to researchers, 87% of mobile phone users conduct at least one online search every day with searches for “local” + “business” seeing an increase of more than 80% and searches for “best place to buy” an increase by more than 70% within the last two years alone.
While being part of the Google Map Pack is important for all businesses, it is especially important for local ones.
That’s because those are the ones most frequented by users searching for certain products or services near them.
How Google Map Pack Works
You don’t have to include a city, country, or specific local keyword when searching for a local business. Google’s algorithm automatically shows you the search results of businesses located near you.
For example, when you search for an “auto mechanic” in Los Angeles, Google will show you a Map Pack for your location.
That means that as a business owner optimizing your keywords with your location included isn’t essential.
However, keep in mind that using “store + city” in your keywords will help you appear in results that competitors didn’t optimize their site or listing for.
How to Track Google Map Pack Rankings
If you want to rank on the Google Map Pack, you have to first check where you currently rank and track your Map Pack rankings for some time.
The difficulty is that local SEO leads to very different Google Map Pack results, depending on a user’s location. Results can differ from just one mile to the next.
For example, if you were to search for a “speakeasy” in Manhattan, you’ll get specific results depending on where you are standing.
If you walk just a few blocks, you’ll get completely different results. Thus, whenever you track local rankings from a certain location, you won’t really know where you rank in the real world.
Local Falcon or Local Viking are tools that can help you with more detailed map tracking and allow you to find out where you rank within your city or area.
To get started with map pack ranking tracking, choose a business name and a keyword that you want to check rankings for. Then, determine the radius you want to track. Now, when you check, you’ll get an interface that displays rankings for different locations throughout the city.
Next, use the tool to also uncover areas where you don’t rank well but technically should. Find out which competitors are outranking you, where they are located and why they are ranked so high.
However, keep in mind that sometimes they’re just ranked high because they are closer to a user searching for them.
How to Improve Organic Ranking on Google with Local SEO Keywords
While some elements like backlinks may increase your chance to rank in organic results, other factors like NAPs (Name, Address, Phone) are only relevant for Google Map Pack rankings.
In short: the Map Pack has its own algorithm and unique set of rules.
If you want to dominate Google Maps 3 pack, you need to optimize your site for local organic rankings by following these tips:
- Use your focus keyword in the title tag
- Also, use it in your URL
- Add backlinks to your website
How to Appear in Map Pack Results
If you’re a local business, you’re probably wondering how to rank in Google Map Pack.
Since it’s Google’s algorithms that determine which businesses appear as part of a Map Pack, you can improve your chances of being featured by:
- Creating or claiming your Google Business Profile listing
- Generating positive online reviews and responding to each one of them
- Building citations which are mentions of your business name on reputable sites
How to Rank Higher on Google Maps
Whether you’re part of Google’s Map Pack or not, you will want to rank high on Google Maps, even if you just appear among the traditional search results.
The higher you rank on Google Maps the more likely a consumer will choose you over your competitors when searching for products and services you offer.
Here are 9 ways how you can improve your ranking:
1. Add Your Business to Google Maps
Without being listed on Google Maps, you cannot rank at all. So make sure your business name and address appear on the site.
2. Claim Your Google Maps Business Listing
Next, claim your listing to be able to provide more details about your business. You can do that with a Google Business account.
If you haven’t signed up for one, do that at https://business.google.com/create and follow the prompts. Now, go to Google Maps and click “Claim this business” and follow the steps.
3. Complete Your Google Maps Business Listing
Once you have a Google Maps business listing and a Google Business account linked to it, you can optimize them to increase your chances of ranking higher in local search results.
Do that by filling out as much information as possible, including your business name, address, phone number, business hours, and photos.
4. Garner Google Reviews
When customers love your business, Google Maps will automatically rank you higher. That’s why you should always provide a great experience and encourage customers to leave a review by sending them a review request link.
The more (positive) reviews you have, the better your ranking.
5. Consolidate Your Google Maps Listings
It’s absolutely crucial that all your business information is consistent across all websites and social media channels.
In addition, you must ensure that you only have one Google Maps listing, as having multiple locations and phone numbers will lead Google to discredit you.
6. Post Regularly to Your Google Maps Business Listing
Just like on Facebook or LinkedIn, you can publish posts on your Google Maps business listing. Being active on Google Maps by posting updates lets Google know that you’re managing your listing, which it takes into account when ranking you.
In addition, you can use this to advertise your latest offers to your target market for free.
7. Have a Responsive Website
Your Google Maps business listing has a link to your website, so you have to ensure that your website is responsive and functions well on all types of devices.
Keep in mind that more than 50% of Google searches are conducted on mobile devices, so you don’t want to lead mobile users to an unresponsive website or one that loads slowly.
8. Add Local SEO Keywords to Your Website
You can also use your website to improve your Google Maps ranking by optimizing it for local SEO keywords. Not only will this help you rank higher in Google Search, but also impact your ranking on Google Maps business.
Tools like SEMRush can help you find relevant location-based keywords that you can then incorporate with best SEO practices across the text and images of the pages on your site.
9. Embed a Google Map on Your Website
Lastly, embed a Google map on your website. Not only does this help to show website visitors where you are located, but it will also improve your Google Map ranking as it confirms to Google where you are located.
To embed a Google Map on your site, go to Google Maps and look for your business name. Then, select “Share” in your listing and click on “Embed a map.” Now, copy and paste the link that shows up and insert it on your website.
Advanced Local SEO Tip: Use Your Location in a Headline
This insider tip can make a stark difference in your local organic rankings! A website visitor won’t spend any time on your site unless they know 100% that it offers what they’re looking for.
Immediately let them know that you are serving their area by using your location as an SEO keyword in an H1 headline at the top of your page.
Once they know they are in the right place, they are more likely to more thoroughly look into your business and consider visiting and buying from you.
As you can see from our guide, it’s incredibly important that you optimize and manage your Google Business profile and your Google Maps listing.
Not only will this improve your chances of ranking higher in Google Maps, but it can also land you a coveted spot on Google Map Pack which will undoubtedly lead to more foot traffic and, with it, more sales.