Google first introduced localized results back in 2004, and those results have since evolved into a localized map pack results everyone has come to know. Called the Local Map Pack (although rarely known as that), this feature is one that every local business must optimize for if they want to appear in geo-related results. In order to appear in these results, you must have a Google My Business listing.
What is the Local Map Pack?
The Local Map Pack is a search feature that appears on the first page of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) for geo-related searches. The feature includes a map of local businesses that are relevant to the user’s search, along with three highlighted listings of businesses on the map. There were originally seven highlighted listings, but that’s been cut down to three with an option for users to view more.
Searched: Dispensaries Hollywood, CA
How to Optimize Your Business for the Local Map Pack?
In addition to general search engine optimization best practices, you can take the following steps to further optimize for Google’s Local Map Pack:
- Complete the steps necessary to claim ownership of your business in Google My Business listings
- Provide as much information about your business as you’re able to (e.g. address, business category, key attributes), and keep this information current if anything changes
- Verify your business’ location through Google’s verification process
- Add photographs to your business listings, especially photos of the storefront, interior, menu (if applicable) and other features
- Respond to online reviews that are left on Google, showing engagement and customer service
Implement these practices, and you should see your business improve in the Local Map Pack listings. Establish a position in those listings, and an increase in highly relevant, local search traffic should follow.
What Businesses Need to Optimize Google’s Local Map Pack
Google’s Local Map Pack is important to any business that attracts local customers, which encompasses a wide variety of businesses. Retailers, restaurants, professionals, service companies, medical providers and almost any other business with a brick-and-mortar facility should be optimizing for this feature.
For these businesses, optimizing for the Local Map Pack may be even more important than optimizing for the general results listings. Google reports that 46 percent of all searches have a localized aspect, and the Local Map Pack is shown for the vast majority of these features. Without a presence on the feature’s map and listings, many local businesses will be overshadowed by nearby competitors.
The local businesses that do rank on the Local Map Pack can expect to see a boost in their organic search traffic. The feature appears above the first general SERP listing, ensuring that the three local businesses are highly visible on the pages. It also appears in addition to the general SERP listings, so businesses can rank both in the Local Map Pack and later on in the general listings.
How does Google pick which businesses to display in the local map pack?
Google draws from its business listings when selecting which three listings to show in its Local Map Pack. The algorithm chooses relevant, local business listings to determine what listings should be shown. This algorithm is, of course, based on numerous factors beyond mere inclusion in the business listings. Being in the official listings is a necessary criterion, however. Using the practices above to optimize your Google My Business is the best way to be found on localized map pack results.