Chances are that at some point in your search history, you have typed a query into the search bar that generated a box area with a map and several results that are marked on said map. This is Google’s Local Pack, or Google’s Local Pack of Recommendations, and it is Google’s personal recommendations for you based on the keywords you typed in and the exact location you are searching from.
The Local Pack shows up above the rest of the organic search result listings and below any advertisement listings that may be at the top of the page.
Below you will see an example of the Local Pack that was generated when I typed “ice cream shops near me” into Google. As mentioned, the Local Pack contains a map and three listings. These listings display rating details, some contact information, and usually a picture as well. The listings can be seen on the map and are clickable like any other search result listings.
In the past, Google’s Local Pack was comprised of five to seven listings, allowing for more local businesses to show up in your results even if they wouldn’t rank high organically on their own. However, in August 2015 Google instituted a change. Since then, only three listings show up per Local Pack.
Why Does This Matter?
The Local Pack is very important for businesses because it appears before the rest of the organic results and being featured in the Local Pack shows that Google gives your business authority.
Being in the Local Pack is an incomparable opportunity to garner the attention of the people in your area who are your prospective clients.
How To Get In Google’s Local Pack
There is no exact formula for how Google chooses what local businesses to feature in its ever-changing Local Packs. Obviously, the actual location the user is searching from is the biggest contributor to the results. However, use of Google services and thorough SEO are major factors.
By nature, Google favors its own services, and therefore will show more authority and preference to sites that utilize them. In terms of the Local Pack, you will want to make sure that you:
- Optimize and verify your Google My Business page
- Optimize and claim your Google Maps Listing
- Acquire as many positive Google Reviews as possible
In terms of SEO, there are a lot of ways you can prime your website for Local Pack success. Some suggestions include:
- Optimize site content for local search (including easily accessible, accurate information for each of your locations)
- Optimize off-site content for local search (including establishing a strong presence on relevant local directories)
- Get as many local backlinks (links to your website displayed on other sites) as possible
- Earn reviews on local, relevant sites such as Yelp
The Great Im-Packed
Yes, I realize that was a cheesy pun, and a bit of a stretch. But it was intended to get one important point across. And that’s this: ranking in Google’s Local Pack can highly impact your business – sending not only more traffic, but the right kind of traffic to your site. Ranking in the Local Pack will allow you to be seen by people in your area who are interested in your products or services. So optimize your various Google services and SEO plan with consistent, authoritative, local-search-oriented information today!