If you are running a local business, you must definitely rank on Google Local Pack. This placement is very visible to users both on mobile phones and on computers. The three local business recommendations appear next to the map. They are enclosed in a rectangle and, thus, stand out from the rest of the search results.
Given this privileged placement, most of your competitors are also trying to get ranked in Google Local Pack. But, of course, only three links appear there. Thus, you must work smarter than your competitors so that Google picks your business over theirs for the 3-Pack.
What Are the Ranking Criteria for Google Local Pack?
While the Google algorithm is strict, it is also transparent. The internet giant has always shared clear details of how its system works and what companies need to do to rank. For local searches, Google has three main criteria in selecting the lucky 3 links shown to users in the Local Pack section:
In this article, we will share with you a few things you can do so that your website meets these criteria. However, before we start, we want to remind you that, just like other marketing and promotional activities, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of work. You must constantly revisit, review and update the information in your website and elsewhere.
1. Confirm Your Address in Google My Business
The first step for being eligible for ranking in Google Local Pack is to create a Google My Business listing. The second (and very important) step is to confirm and verify your company address.
There are three ways to do that. The most common method is by postcard. Once you request verification, Google will send a postcard to your business address, containing a unique verification code. Once you receive the postcard, you enter the code in Google My Business. Your business address is now confirmed.
In some cases, you may be able to verify your business by phone. If you see the phone icon active in the verification panel, click on it. A Google representative will call your business phone number for verification.
The third option is to use the Google account you used to verify your website in Google Search Console. You must be logged in with this account, and Google will verify your business automatically.
2. Search and Update Business Citations
Citations are listings of your business details on other websites. For example, if you run a gym, you may have included your business name, address, phone number and email in local directories for health and fitness.
Google relies on these citations to determine the relevance and distance for your business for a user’s search. However, you must search all these listings and make sure that the information they contain is accurate.
3. Include a Map on Your Contact Page
Using the Google Maps API, you can easily insert a map in your contact page, showing your exact location. This is, on one hand, helpful for potential clients who want to visit your offices.
On the other hand, the API integrates with the map shown on Google searches and helps the Google algorithm verify the proximity of your business to the user’s location.
4. Have a Clickable Phone Number on Your Website
You should include your phone number on every page of your website and make it clickable. For one, Google will be able to verify the relevance of your business faster and your site will rank higher in the Google Local Pack.
Secondly, according statistical data collected by Hubspot, 76% of local searches end with a phone call to the business. You really don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of turning a visit to your website into a potential sale.
5. Use Schema Language for Your Contact Details on the Website
Schema is a language protocol adopted by the three major search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo. It structures contact information (name, address, phone number) in an easy to read manner for search spiders.
Thus, the search engine will get stronger location signals from your website than from your competitors. Imagine this as the different strengths of WiFi signals. A website with Schema address is like the network with the highest quality signal.