Google Maps: Hints to Get in the 3-Pack
Google Maps and Great Rankings
Are Google Maps important? Has Google My Business changed? There’s a Google Business Profile? What is this stuff all about? Let’s dive in and find out.
Once upon a time in Google land, they had a 7-pack at the top of local search results. Was your business listed in that 7-pack? If so, congratulations. That was prime internet real estate.
Times have changed. Back in 2015, Google shrank the map pack. Since then, it has been a 3-pack. This was all part of Google My Business (GMB). Have you done a local search such as “business and city” or “restaurants near me?” Then you have seen that 3-pack at the top of the search results.
As you can imagine, reducing the map pack had a massive effect
on local SEO. If you think it was tough to be one among 7, being one among three can seem as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest. Don’t despair. I have good news. Just like climbing Everest, getting your business in the 3-pack can be done.
And change is afoot. This year, 2022, Google My Business is now called Google Business Profile or GBP. GBP and Maps are still interconnected. In fact, now your biz profile is managed completely via search and maps. Though some of the “mechanics” of it have changed, the process remains about the same.
The Google Maps Process
Like any worthwhile online marketing, it is a process. The process to show up in the top 3 in Google’s maps listing takes time. It also requires both skills and knowledge to accomplish this goal. Doing things right can shrink the needed timeline. Plus, you might get to jump past your competitors and land on that choice Google real estate.
You see, getting top rankings means you get noticed. The 3-Pack, without a doubt, qualifies as “top rankings.” The most targeted kind of marketing today is showing up when potential customers are searching for the goods and services that you offer when they are in your area. However, if you want to get that “top billing,” it can be a rocky road. You have to know what you’re doing to achieve that success.
Never fear, I’m here to help. I’ve put together three helpful hints that will get you started on the path to 3-Pack success!
1. Citations-You Need More
Google favors those who have lots of good friends. That is where citations come into play. Citations are when your business gets mentioned or “listed” anywhere online. Your business name, plus some other pertinent information about your business, needs to be mentioned for it to be a “citation.”
Citations equal validation to Google. The more your company is mentioned by other businesses the more Google views your business positively. That can equal higher rankings. What is nice in this particular instance is that you do not need that other source to link back to your business!
Please remember that a citation is your business name plus additional information. This extra information could be your business address or phone number. It could also be your website URL.
The next point about citations is vital. To be counted as a citation, the information must precisely match the information you have on your Google My Business, now Business Profile, listing.
To search engines, citations help prove that you are a real company. Citations originating from quality sources can help your local search listings improve.
2. Photos with Your Listings are Important
People who are searching online love photos. The higher the quality of your images on your Google local listing profile, the more people searching will like it. Having MORE high-quality images will help even more.
We can even go beyond Google. You’ve most likely heard of Yelp or have used Yelp. Well, they have published advice on what is needed to optimize your business listings on their site. Yes, they say that photos make a big, big difference. Building on the importance of photographs, research from Review Trackers shows that consumers spend 2.5 times more time on listings that feature photos.
3. Reviews: You want a lot
Reviews are important. They function as “social proof.” Getting good reviews means you get noticed online. Your potential customers want to read reviews about your business. Think of reviews as word-of-mouth referrals.
People also love to write reviews about businesses that they have enjoyed patronizing. Look out as they will also write about bad experiences.
Google understands the importance of reviews to their users. They are well aware. Google’s search engine endeavors to promote the best local businesses to their searchers. Positive online reviews written by real customers of businesses are an important way that Google can determine which businesses are among the best. Want better rankings? Of course. Do all that you can to encourage your customers to leave reviews!
The Challenge of Maps and Local Search
Does this sound like a challenge? I’m not going to sugar coat it. Showing up in Google’s 3-pack is much tougher than it was getting in the 7-pack. Makes sense, right? With fewer spots, there’s more competition.
The tips I’ve provided will help you. But the work is ongoing. Local search changes. Google is continually trying to improve the quality of the results served to people using their search engine. You have to be vigilant and make sure that your company’s information is correct. If there are changes, you have to update.
I’ll close with a couple of final bits of advice. Within your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing, be smart and accurate when using categories. Also, be strategic in selecting and using keywords in your GBP profile. Both of these will help “power up” your listing and get you a better position in Google maps.
As always, Infobankmedia SEO is here to help with maps, GBP, and all your digital marketing needs. This article has been updated on February 2, 2022.