Local SEO: What is the 3-Pack? Why Does It Matter?

by Oliver Neely January 24, 2016
January 24, 2016

Looking to improve your local search ranking? If you’re a local business with a website, you need to know about the 3 pack.

Getting in the coveted 3-pack will help you reach more local customers, stand out from your competitors and get more out of search marketing (in less time).

What is the 3 packThe 3-pack (formally known as the 7-pack to make things more confusing), is found in local Google searches (See right).

If a local search returns a 3-pack, it will always appear at the top of the page, usually alongside a map. For businesses looking to reach more customers through Google Search, it makes sense to optimize for this prized peace of search engine real-estate.
Not only do these results appear at the top, they stand out too. The 3 pack fits perfectly on a mobile screen, and since around 50% of mobile searches have local intent, what more reasons could you ask for?

How can I rank in the 3 pack?

Getting your website in the local 3 pack is not like ordinary SEO. For a start listings in the 3-pack are based on Google places listings.

In the 3 pack Google ranks businesses, not websites. This makes the process simpler, but how can you get your business listed here?

These are some of the steps you can take to increase your chance of appearing in the 3 pack:

  • Submit your business to Google My Business – Make sure that your listings are accurate and complete.

    • Add a detailed description of your business with relevant links.
    • Choose an appropriate category for your business.
    • Complete your profile with images and branding.
    • Include a local phone number and address that is consistent with your website and all directories. This is also referred to as NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number).

  • Focus on reviews – While reviews are not essential to rank in the 3 pack, in competitive markets they will certainly help.
  • Focus on local backlinks – Earn links from local authority sites, such as local news sites, blogs, other businesses. Local directories are an easy way of earning plenty of local backlinks that can help improve your search position.
  • Optimize your site locally – Make it easy for Google to understand where your business is located and the area you service. Your site should include local keywords throughout, including your page titles, headings, descriptions & content. Just don’t overdo it, listing dozens of places is considered spam and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Be consistent with your NAP – Mentions of your business name, address and phone number are helpful, with or without a link to your website. Make sure your social media profiles include your NAP as well as all directory listings. Multiple phone numbers and addresses are an easy way to confuse Google, keep it consistent, especially if you change your phone number or address!

Note that once you are in the 3-pack, you can easily fall out of it again. Like ordinary SEO you need to keep at it to stay at the top. Don’t assume that you’re completely home free once you get there.

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