Search for a local business or service in Google and you'll see 3 local businesses displayed in the search results, directly below the paid ads.
These search results are often referred to as the 'Snack Pack' or 'Google Map Pack'.
For example, search for 'roofer in Southampton' and you'll see the top 3 roofing businesses that are based within the Southampton area. However, perform a similar search from an address in Bournemouth and leave off the location keyword, you will see only the roofers in Bournemouth, relevant to your location.
Why is it important to appear in the Google map pack?
It's vital that as a local business you appear in the top 3 to get the most clicks through to your business page. Nearly 60% of all local business searches are completed on a mobile device, with the top positions getting the majority of the phone calls and website clicks. 44% of local searches are on the top 3 positions of the local Google map pack.
If your business doesn't rank in the map pack you'll be missing out on new customer calls and potential leads from your website.
As you can see from the stats below the Google map pack receives the largest majority of the clicks on page 1 search results:
How do I appear in the local map pack?
Firstly you need to have a Google MyBusiness page with a verified address. This essentially means telling Google you are a genuine business with a real location. It's free to create a business page. To verify your location you'll need to request a pin code from Google, in the form of a postcard which arrives promptly. Once received simply input the code to verify your business location.
How do I rank higher in the map pack?
In order to outrank your competitors, your Google MyBusiness page needs to be well optimised. This means completing all available form fields, including business name, address, phone number (NAP) and website. It's amazing how many business pages we see that don't have their website linked. You should also add your opening hours and relevant photos of your business. Photos can include your logo, place of work, any services that you offer. Basically as much information as possible!
To help boost your rankings in the local search results include your company name, address and phone number to the footer of your website. It should appear exactly as it does on the Google MyBusiness page and other online directories. We can't stress enough how important consistency is for this. If you serve a wider area or multiple cities you should create separate pages to target these locations.
Selecting the right Google MyBusiness categories
When you create your Google MyBusiness page make sure you select the correct categories for your service. You can choose from a primary category and multiple additional categories to help define your company.
Add your business to local website directories (citations)
To dominate in local search results adding your business to the appropriate directory such as Yelp, Bing and many others. Again, it's important that the information you include is consistent. Many directories are free but there's also paid for listings. Try to get your company added to directories which are related to your industry. However, don't always trust the directory. You should look for the quality of the site by checking the domain authority and spam score.
Positive online customer reviews
Receiving positive online reviews is the number one advantage that you will have over your competitors. According to the latest research, 92% of consumers in 'buying mode' read reviews to determine the quality of a local business or product before making a purchase decision. Your customers can leave reviews on Google, Facebook (if you have a business page) and online directories.
How do I appear in the local map pack?
We find the best way to incentivise a review is upfront at the point of purchase and not actually after the sale. Asking for a review after the service can seem like an afterthought and many customers can forget and not get around to it. For local tradesmen, we suggest giving your customer a postcard asking for a review with simple instructions. We can design and print this for you.
It's clear optimising your Google MyBusiness page and appearing top in the local search results is important for companies and services. It can be time-consuming to work on all of this which is why we recommend using a local SEO agency like ourselves. We have the expertise to rank you higher so you receive more phone calls and generate more business.