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These days, savvy business owners recognize that Google and SEO are the keys to modern marketing. While there are several ways to attract visitors and potential customers to your site, for local businesses, ranking well in the Google local map pack is very important. According to one recent study, 80 percent of local intent searches yield a conversion. To learn how your business can best capture local traffic, here’s everything you need to know about how to rank in the Google local map pack.

What is the Google Local Map Pack?

When someone executes a local intent search using Google, they are shown local listings which closely relate to their query. The “local map pack” includes the three results displayed in local searches at the top of the SERPS, directly beneath the Google Map.

Why is the Local Map Pack Important?

Ranking well in local listings is essential for businesses that want to capture local search traffic. According to one study, 86% of users find businesses they’re looking for through Google Maps. Additionally, 78% of local searches result in an offline purchase. The higher you can rank in local listings, the more likely a user will visit your business.

Beyond simply ranking in Google Maps results, or even in regular search engine listings, showing up in the local map pack can help ensure maximum visibility for potential customers searching for businesses like yours locally. As these listings are right at the top of the SERPs, local users are more likely to click on them than listings that are in the regular listings or even within the Google Maps application.

How to Rank in the Local Map Pack

Ranking high in Google local map packs may seem like a challenge at first, but things become a lot less daunting once you understand the basics. There are nine main ranking factors which determine rankings in Google local map packs, including:

Google My Business Signals

A good place to start in the optimization process is with your business listings. You must make sure that you give as much information as possible, and all of it has to be accurate. Your business’s Google My Business is one of the most important listings for local map pack rankings.

Some things you can do to optimize your GMB listing include:

  • Creating and claiming your local business in GMB
  • Verifying your business
  • Inputting all necessary information
  • Adding photos
  • Downloading the GMB app

Check out our blog on Google My Business Optimization Tips for more help!

Review Signals

Reviews help potential customers know how others’ experiences with a business have gone, and they are an important factor in the Google Maps ranking system. Search engines know that potential customers want to see positive reviews and tend to favor businesses with a greater number and higher rating reviews in local listings—so it’s important to start building as many great reviews as you can, especially Google Reviews.

On-Page Signals

On-page signals are important, as Google uses these to determine which sites are user-friendly, credible, and most relevant to user searches. Here’s what you can do to optimize your on-page signals for ranking in Google local map pack:

  • Optimize title tags and meta descriptions following best practices
  • Make sure your site loads fast
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Utilize a contact page
  • Use a clickable phone number to gather more calls
  • Include testimonials

Citation Signals

When your business’s NAP information (name, address, and phone number) is mentioned on local business directories, websites, apps, and social media platforms, Google considers these mentions citation signals. The goal is to get as many citations as possible, as these citations help to show Google that your site is credible.

Having consistent NAP information across all of your citations is important, so be sure to update all of your listings when a change is made. If your NAP information is not consistent across platforms, customers may be misled, and confusion could lead to loss of both confidence and revenue. Reach out to directories when you’d like to make changes, and ensure there are no duplicate listings out there.

Behavioral Signals

Behavioral signals are a part of local search that not many understand, yet they’re very important when it comes to ranking on Google local map pack. While nobody outside Google knows the details of its algorithm, the following behavioral signals likely play important roles:

  • Google uses distance to determine local rankings, calculating how far a searcher is from the closest relevant business. So, if two equally optimized sites came up in the results page, the closer one would rank higher.
  • Click-Through Rate. Websites that have strong click-through rates are preferred by Google’s ranking algorithm, as engagement with a site is taken as a sign of credibility. To improve site CTR, create accurate and engaging title tags and meta descriptions.

Social Signals

Engagement with your business on social media platforms can bolster your site’s credibility with search engines. If you manage your online reputation well and your profiles are detailed across platforms, your social signals will help you rank in Google local map pack.

Proximity

Unlike national listings, there are additional factors that Google’s local algorithm takes into account when ranking sites in both Google Maps and the local map pack. Proximity is one of these factors. Search engines tend to give priority for businesses closer to user or closer to the center of the location that is being searched for. It is important to understand this when planning your marketing strategies. For instance, if your business is located in a smaller suburban area outside of a major metro area, you may want to gear your marketing and keyword strategy to target that smaller suburban area rather than the major metro area.

Improve Your Local Rankings with ClickGiant

As you can see, there are many factors that influence local map pack rankings. If you need assistance optimizing your business’s website for local search, ClickGiant can help. At ClickGiant, we develop custom SEO strategies that can help improve your brand’s exposure online, increase quality traffic to your site, and convert visitors into customers. Contact us today to learn more.

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