Local 3-Pack Checklist: Your Ultimate Guide to Google’s 3-Pack

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With AI chat assistants like ChatGPT seemingly eating Google’s lunch, it’s hard not to ask yourself, “Does anyone really Google anymore?” While ChatGPT is definitely providing users with a new tool to find answers, one aspect of search behavior that hasn’t yet been addressed by the artificially intelligent chat is local search! We’re referring to queries like “mediterranean near me” or “restaurants in covina.” You’re definitely not asking ChatGPT for local restaurant recommendations. Therefore, Google’s local search algorithms are still alive and kicking!

In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about breaking into Google’s local 3-pack and boosting your rankings in local search

What is the Google local 3-pack?

The Google local 3-pack is the first three rankings you see in Google’s map widget in search results. This widget is shown on search results that Google considers to be locally based. These are usually searches with location modifiers like “restaurants in [City Name]” but they can also be very broad searches like “digital marketing agency.” In the screenshot below, you can see what a local 3-pack would look like in search results. 

The local 3-pack contains various bits of information related to a business. If you look at the screenshot, you’ll find a variety of information contained within this widget like:

  • Business name
  • Average review rating, as well as, the number of reviews
  • Primary business category
  • Age of the business
  • Business address
  • Your business phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Website and directions

Additionally, Google will display a map on the right side of the widget which shows the businesses’ proximity to your location. 

How Google determines local rankings

According to Google, local rankings are based on three primary factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. Before you embark on your journey to land in the local 3-pack, it’s important to understand each of these rankings factors. Here’s the breakdown:

Relevance: This factor refers to how well a business matches the searcher’s query. For example, if you search “pepperoni pizza,” Google should serve you a list of pizza places. 

Distance: This factor refers to the distance between the business and the searcher’s location. Google will also take into account the distance from the city location with a searcher’s query (e.g., pizza in New York City) to the searcher’s approximate location.

Prominence: The prominence ranking factor refers to the “authority” of a business. Google factors in a variety of factors like reviews, brand mentions, articles, and links. Additionally, the local search algorithm will take cues from the business website’s search engine rankings to determine how to rank a local listing.

Benefits of being in the local 3-pack

You could probably already tell what the benefit of ranking within Google’s local 3-pack might be… increased visibility! According to sources cited by WebFX, 68% of individuals like to click on Google 3-pack results. These are the kind of odds that ultimately help influence the purchase decisions of local residents who are searching for your business. 

On top of increasing your chances of gaining foot traffic, being in Google’s 3-pack helps boost the credibility of your business. It gives the searcher an instant look into what your business looks like through shared photos, frequently asked questions about it, and reviews from other customers.

How to rank in the local 3-pack

Ranking within the local 3-pack is more difficult than you might think. However, with the right advice, and our Local 3-pack checklist, you can improve your chances of shooting straight to the Snack Pack as they used to call it. So, let’s dive into some actionable insight that can help your Google Business Profile land at the top of local search results.

Claim your listing

The first order of business should be to claim your Google Business Listing if you haven’t already! Claiming your GBP is easy, all you need to do is visit this page here and click “Manage now.”

Once clicked, you’ll then be prompted to type in your business’s name and follow the instructions outlined by Google. This step is very hard to mess up!

Complete your business profile entirely

Once you’ve fully claimed your business listing, you will want to be sure that you fill out each field in your business profile entirely. There are probably over 50 fields that you can edit once you’ve claimed your business listing, but just to give you an idea, here’s what you can edit:

  • Business name
  • Business category (Primary and Secondary)
  • Description
  • Opening date
  • Contact information (Phone number, website, social profiles, etc.)
  • Business address
  • Service area
  • Business hours
  • Special hours (Drive through, Breakfast, Lunch, Delivery, etc.)
  • Business attributes (Veteran-owned, Latino-owned, etc.)
  • Additional business attributes (Accessible parking, Gender-neutral restroom, Language assistance, etc.)

Optimize your business name

Your business name is the first area you can optimize in your business listing. When optimizing your business name, you should stick to using your official name. Otherwise, you can risk getting suspended by Google. However, from our experience, a lot of Google Business listings tend to keyword stuff and benefit from it. For example:

So, while there is some room for adding keywords, you should aim for being a little more subtle than that! Be tasteful, but try to stick as close to your official business name as possible. 

SEO your site

Yup, you heard that right SEO your site! You might be thinking why would optimizing my website help my Google Business Profile? Well, believe it or not, the two properties are closely linked together. By optimizing your website, you enable Google the opportunity to crawl your website more efficiently and ultimately understand more about your business and what keywords you should be ranking for. Because of this, the fruits of optimization will also trickle down to your Google Business Profile. A great starting point for optimizing your website for search engines is our Beginner’s Guide to Technical SEO

Get reviews

According to a study by Whitespark, the eighth highest ranking factor for local 3-pack rankings is Google reviews. Getting reviews on your Google Business listing is critically important for rankings and building trust and credibility with prospective customers. To get more reviews, you should set up processes in place to collect more reviews for your business. For example, encourage your employees to gently nudge customers to leave a review after they’ve had a great experience. Alternatively, if you have the cash flow to purchase software to help you solicit reviews, you can use tools like BirdEye to help contact customers who’ve had a great experience with your business.

NAP management

A major ranking factor for Local SEO is consistency. In order to boost your search visibility, you should aim to maintain accurate business information across all of your business listings. In the world of SEO, that’s what we call NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Management. With NAP management or listing management software, you can easily keep your business information up to date across hundreds of listings. 

Case study: Rocket Plumbing

Rocket Plumbing is a plumbing services company with three locations in the Chicago area. They approached Redefine for a brand-new local search strategy that could allow them to rank for high value keywords in their region. Through on-page optimizations like striking distance analyses and local optimizations such as Google Business audits, we were able to help Rocket Plumbing rank for keywords like “emergency plumber” and “plumber near me.” Within approximately one year’s worth of work, here are the year-over-year results Rocket Plumbing has realized from their Google Business:

  • Phone calls from their listing have increased by 20%
  • Total actions have increased 9% over the previous year

Below you will find a snapshot of Rocket Plumbing’s rankings increase for their Google Business listing in Chicago.

Local SEO tools that we recommend

As you embark on your journey to getting your business in the local 3-pack, you are probably going to need a few tools to help you get there. While there are tons of SEO tools to choose from you really only need 1 or 3 but, we’ll provide you with a brief list of our favorites.

Google Business

This tool is mandatory! It’s free to set up, so go to Google Business to get started. If you have a local business, you should start by claiming your profile first before thinking about any of these others tools.

Google Search Console

If your business has a website, then you should probably create a Google Search Console property for it. Search Console is essentially Google’s search engine software that helps you track performance as well as troubleshoot errors that may be preventing your website from ranking in search results. This tool isn’t mandatory but it’ll help give you a little more insight into how your website is performing and what keywords it is ranking for.

Local Falcon

Local Falcon is a local SEO software company that allows you to track keyword rankings on a block-by-block level. Your proximity to the business lo heavily influences rankings for local searchcation, so Local Falcon gives you a bit of a peek into where you are ranking at a hyperlocal level. Their software will tell you where you are ranking outside of your doorstep and where you are ranking two blocks away. Its reporting is very helpful for understanding your ranking growth over time. 

Semrush

If there is any tool that you should pay for, we’d recommend Semrush. Semrush is an all-in-one tool designed specifically for search engine optimization. With its software, you can perform nearly every SEO task in the book, like auditing your website, conducting keyword research, or even scheduling Google Business posts! 

Get in the 3-Pack!

Remember, the local 3-pack is more than just a search result; it’s a powerful gateway to connect with local customers actively seeking your services or products. By staying proactive, keeping your business information up-to-date, and engaging with your customers through reviews and optimized content, you’ll be well on your way to reaping the benefits of increased local search visibility. So, start implementing these strategies today, and watch your business grow in the competitive local search landscape. If you run into issues or just need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to contact the local SEO experts at Redefine.

Author avatar
Jason Martinez
Jason is a Cal Poly Pomona Alum, extreme fan of marketing, and social media advocate. As a Brand Marketing Manager at Redefine Marketing Group, he is responsible for the development and execution of strategy for reputation management, link building, and social media marketing for both the agency and its clients.
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