Google Map Pack and its features
How to rank on Google Map Pack
This post will hopefully help you with what the Google map pack listing is and how to get on it. Whenever you search for a service on Google, especially a local service, the top 3 results will show in a map style above the organic listings, without having to click through to them. It used to display 7 listings, but since 2015 ish, it’s now the top 3 listings.
Businesses such as local plumbers, builders, gardeners, electricians, dentists, hair salons, etc. are potentially affected by the map pack.
Given that the map pack appears on top, users tend to skip the organic results and click through to the businesses they are searching for on the map pack instead.
This post will cover what the map pack is and how to get ranking on it, let’s dive in.
Local Map Search – what does it look like?
If you type into Google “web design Carshalton“, then you may see something like below:
The map displays the physical locations to what you are searching for within your search proximity. Up to 50% of searches are now done on mobile devices and the same map pack is displayed is such hand held devices.
Along with the top 3 results, you can get a quick overview about them, reviews, opening times, contact details, etc. As mentioned earlier, without even clicking through to them, you already have some information about your search results even before clicking through to make contact.
The local map pack from Google has it’s own ranking criteria and system, so in order to rank within the top 3 map pack results, it may not be enough to just register your business online. You need to drive traffic and have users click onto your website, or it can vanish from the top 3 places in the map pack altogether.
Two key factors that come into play with the map pack: Google My Business & optimising your website for local SEO.
Build a Google My Business page – YESTERDAY!
1. Have a look to see if your business has already been added to the listings; if you see your business already appears in the business field, claim it as yours. If your business is not showing, then make sure to register it with Google My Business (GMB) and make sure you consider your postal address of your business as Google will post you something to the registered address to verify your GMB account.
2. Optimise your business listings, by following some simple steps:
- Business name – apart from not including any location spots or keywords in your business name, this part is straight forward.
- Category – make sure to choose wisely as Google will marry your business up to the chosen category and display it when search terms connect with these categories
- NAP info – nap info should be consistent and match the name, details, address, contact tel. no. etc of your website
- Reviews – get your users and/ or clients to leave you reviews, these are great for boosting your rankings and never, NEVER buy fake reviews
- Images – make sure to save the images with relevant file names e.g. web-design-carshalton.jpg and GEO tag it to your location as well
- Citations – have a look at your competitor’s citations and get your citations registered there too – nothing wrong with that. There’s also loads of places to get directory listings to help with your citations
Another great way to get traffic to your website and help with rankings is 2.0 websites. These are, you can call, mini websites, that have content which you can point keywords back to your website, but are predominantly built on DIY websites like e.g. WIX, blogger, WordPress.com, etc.
3. How Google determines local ranking – there are three elements to this, even listed by Google here, they are relevance, distance and prominence. This means that the content in your website must be optimized to search qeuries. Location wise, your business must be in the prioximity of the person that is searching for your business online. Over time, your business should also be well known to your customers and/or clients.
Once you’re in the 3 map pack – how to stay there
Keep on top of your NAP details, the fact that anyone can click on the “Suggest an edit” link on your GMB profile, may disrupt your NAP appearance, if this happens make sure to reach out to the GMB support team to get things rectified and always keep monitoring to keep on top of this anyway.
On top of the above way of keeping in the Google map pack listings, is to get there via Google ads.
If you’re still within the 3 map pack listings, after all your GMB features are up to date and you’re on top of your SEO, it’s an ongoing thing to stay there. It’s not a case of “Ok, I’ve done this bit and that bit – I can leave it now”, you’re practically committing top 3 position suicide. Your organic SEO is just as important and it all marries up with the work you carry out on your GMB and citations.