Recently, Google change their search results layout from their original 5-pack display to a 3-pack display. The change was predominantly due to the move towards optimising for mobile. As more and more consumers search for products in their location.
The change not only included a move from 5 places to 3 but also introduced Google maps as well as their move away from Google+ as a ranking factor. Competition is fierce on Google, with every company trying to get their site into the top ranks for customers to notice them. What’s more, Google keeps changing the rules meaning small businesses need to keep up with the changes regularly if they want their site to rank.
What is Google Maps 3 Pack?
Google Maps 3 Pack is all about local search. In the past, Google ranked between 5 to 7 local businesses, if that’s what customers were searching for. More recently, they’ve changed this to 3 local businesses. Why? Because it didn’t fit on a mobile. Now with the introduction of maps, Google can show you the three most trustworthy businesses within your location with a radius of around 0.5 miles.
How does this help businesses?
It’s pretty obvious how this helps consumers find local businesses, but what does it mean for small and large businesses alike? First of all, it is beneficial for companies with multiple businesses across the nation, as each of their stores can be found but it also meant businesses needed to boost their SEO efforts to get back into the local searches.
The goal being is to ensure that local people actively searching for your products and services can find you quickly and easily, even if you don’t show up in main searches. If you’re a small business aiming for additional walk-ins and click throughs to your website, Google’s local search changes may be your way in.
Getting to grips with SEO
Local search isn’t hard to optimise. In fact, it’s a lot easier than trying to optimise nationally. Google’s algorithms have made it easier for small businesses to get into the top 3 on local search as long as they do what they say they do. For example, if it’s a local garage, as long as your site, social media and business page all say that you are a local garage, then you’re likely to come up. It’s all about keeping your business message consistent so that Google recognises you as a legitimate business.
Here are a few tips to get your business showing on Google maps 3 Pack:
Having a Google Business page alone, doesn’t automatically get your business to rank in local search. However, it doesn’t take a lot of work to make sure that your Google Business page is fully optimised for your company to appear in 3-pack. Start off by claiming your listing if you haven’t created it yourself and ask Google to remove any duplicate listings. Making sure your business name, address and phone number are all displayed as they are on your websites and on all your citations helps to optimise it. Then choose your categories, making sure it remains consistent with your business offering. Complete as many field as possible including uploading pictures, your logo, business hours, website link and the correct email for people to get in touch. They key thing with local search, is to remain consistent not just with information but format too when it comes to phone numbers and addresses.
Google has used local search reviews more and more in their algorithms to determine which companies are more trustworthy. A lot of customers base their opinion on whether to follow a company based on their consumer reviews. Google reviews, specifically, help people to achieve one of the top places in the Google maps 3-pack in local search.
If you haven’t heard of NAP, it’s a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) term for Name, Address and Phone number. If you want your business to rank well in local search results, the consistency of these aspects helps them to determine you are who you say you are. In order to get this noticed by Google 3-pack, its important to add yourself as a business to company directories. It can be a slow and tedious process but adding your business to as many directories as possible, helps to build your citations. In return, your rankings go up too. Your NAP needs to be displayed exactly the same in each field, so that you can be identified properly as a legitimate business.
Another tactic of getting in Google’s 3 pack search is by getting backlinks from local businesses towards your website. In fact, this can sometimes be a lot easier than getting backlinks from online sources. This is due to the fact that small businesses in the area may actually be looking to do the same. If they’re not a competitor of yours but your business may align, it might be worth going and speaking to companies nearby you know to get some decent links Google can give you points for.
Google maps 3-pack is all about moving towards mobile search and voice recognition searching. That’s why when people ask questions, Google has also now introduced their question box on your search page to find the sites that are more closely aligned to your search. In order to rank higher on Google Maps 3-pack, having a responsive site that adapts to screen size can really help your standings.
If you understand SEO and what your business is about, it can be easy to get your business onto Google 3-Pack and get your business noticed. If you understand your keywords and what your local consumers are searching for, then getting onto Google’s 3 Pack can be one of the most cost-effective ways to get your business noticed amongst people actively searching for your products. It can be difficult but if you position yourself right and optimise as much as you can, there’s no reason why you can’t be found by the customers you want to come your way.