If you are working to get your business noticed when local consumers -- your potential customers -- are using Google to search for businesses in your area, you need to appear in the Google Local 3-Pack.
Type ‘’kitchen cabinets near me” into Google and see what happens. You’ll get a list of kitchen cabinet companies in your area, the ones closest to you. These companies are listed on the page with their contact information in a special list, together with a map showing their locations.
And these listings are called THE LOCAL 3-PACK. The 3-Pack results appear below paid ads and above organic search results.
Wouldn’t you like your business to show up in this prime location? Of course, you would. You can’t buy your way in, but there are things you can do to make it happen.
When Does the Local 3-Pack Show Up?
Any time Google determines a search has “local intent”, it will show a Local 3-Pack on the results page. How does Google determine if a search has local intent? Generally speaking, the following types of searches have local intent:
- Search phrases that contain a geographic reference, such as a city name or zip code (like “kitchen cabinets in Lancaster, PA”)
- Search terms that contain the phrase “near me”
- Google uses your IP address and knows where you are
How to Get Your Business in on the 3-Pack Action
Claim Your Google My Business Profile. Or create one, if you haven’t already. Before you can show up in the 3-Pack, you have to have a Google My Business profile.
Optimize Your GMB Profile. Further, simply claiming your profile won’t be enough to make your business start appearing in the 3-Pack. You need to improve your business information as much as possible:
- Have accurate information: your NAP (name, address, phone number).
- Add lots of images of your business and the products and services you provide.
- Enter a long, informative company description that is linked to corresponding pages on your website.
- Optimize your description using keyword phrases that potential clients are searching for online.
It is also critical to make sure that your Google My Business Page is complete and accurate, and optimized for best results. Having one that is working correctly can have a big impact on not only traffic to a website, but for visitors to the actual physical location of the businesses as well. Put simply, a fully complete and working Google My Business page can increase the success, for both your online and offline operation.
Start Getting Reviews on Your GMB Profile
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to increase your chances of getting placed in Google’s Local 3-Pack is to get online reviews. As a business owner, you should be constantly asking for feedback from you customers.
When you get reviews on GMB, searchers can see the star ratings in the search results. Having a good star rating and lots of reviews not only increases your chances of getting into the top three of the local pack, but it also increases your chances of being selected from those three.
Get Local Reviews on Other Sites, Like Yelp
Online reviews on other sites, like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, etc., are also important. Google can “see” these reviews, and positive reviews on these sites increase your placement in the Local 3-pack as well.
Get Your Business Listed in Local Directories
Being active on local listings sites also contributes to good results in local search. Sites like churches and online community bulletin boards, as well as listings like the website for the local Chamber of Commerce, all show Google that your business is local and you’re active in your community. The more you appear in these listings, the more Google trusts your business.
Add New Listing Profiles Consistently
It’s important to add new profiles on the many available listing sites gradually over time. Some of the most familiar are:
- Yellow Pages
You don’t need to update them all at once. Gradually building out your local listing profiles looks natural to Google.
When Google sees new information on other sites that match your information on Google My Business and on your website, it verifies your authority as a genuine business and chances of your placement on the Local 3-Pack are increased.
Be Consistent Across the Web
Did you have a different address or phone number a few years ago? If you’ve been in business for a while, it’s very likely that you have outdated information floating out there in the Internet ether. When Google sees inconsistencies, the validity of your company gets called into question. Google questions whether you are still in business.
Having a consistent NAP (Name/Address/Phone Number) everywhere your business is listed is quite important because Google places a lot of weight on having that information accurate, correct and consistent.
Having your info in the correct format across many different sources gets you a higher ranking because Google can be sure that it has the right contact information for your business.
Be Mobile Friendly
When it comes to getting found in local search, a mobile-responsive website is not an option. Your website must be fully functional on all mobile devices – not only phones, but tablets. The Google Mobile First Index states that websites not optimized for mobiles are ‘excluded’ from mobile searches.
Look at these astonishing statistics that show how mobile search has surpassed desktop search in the past 5 years. The number of searches is shown are billions. Billions.
You want to do everything you can to appeal to mobile users.
Have a Great Website
The strength of your website has become more and more important to getting your business placed in the Local 3-Pack. Google wants to make sure that they are sending their searchers to websites that offer value. A site that ranks in the search engines but isn’t interesting to users won’t convert viewers to customers, which in the end is a waste of money on your part.
Thus, it’s imperative that you have a site that contains useful, meaningful, valuable content. This means that you should have great videos, articles, images, and information that potential customers will find helpful. You want to keep prospects on your site for as long as you can, include calls-to-action on each page that will encourage them to contact you, and motivate them to buy your products and services.
Some Things Change and Some Things Stay the Same
The way Google shows local search results has changed in the past few years. But some methods for increasing your visibility within local search have stayed consistent, and they’re not likely to change. Having a great website that provides prospects with useful information is not likely to go out of style. The value of getting regular online reviews isn’t going to disappear anytime soon either. In fact, it’s only going to become more competitive as businesses get better at asking for reviews.
Most importantly, your business must be listed in a complete, correct and fully optimized Google My Business page if you want your business to get found online in a local search. Your Google My Business page can increase your success, for both your online and offline operation.
If your business relies on local customers, the experts at DigitalMX can help you take the necessary steps to get your business into the Local 3-Pack and attract the ideal customers you need.