Imagine this: you’re searching for a barbeque restaurant on Google. You’re trying to find one that’s near you and has good reviews. When you hit search, you see three businesses that pop up at the top of the search results page.
Likely, you’re going to go to one of these three establishments. They’re close and they have good ratings.
Do you know what just happened? Google just affected your choices by placing three businesses at the forefront of your search results.
We call the set of these three businesses the “Google 3-Pack.” And, if Google lists your business there, it could change everything for the better. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is the Google 3-Pack?
The Google 3-Pack refers to the top three listings that you see on Google. Just like you receive three paid advertisements at the top of the page, you can see the three top business listings from Google Maps.
If you’re a local business, this is one of the important lists.
Taking advantage of Google Maps marketing is important for getting your name out there. In fact, 97% of consumers search online to find a business near them.
But, getting your business to the top of the list makes all the difference in how many customers see your listing and decide to invest in your business.
The Google 3-Pack also makes it easier for potential customers to call your business, visit your website, and see how close you are to their current location. This instantly connects them to your business and makes it easier for them to get in touch with you.
But, the key here is that you need to actually get on the list. Then, you can reap all of the benefits.
How to Rank in the Google 3-Pack
Ranking in the Google 3-Pack may not happen overnight, but the work that you’re going to put in will be worth it in the long run. Just like you have to optimize a website, you need to optimize your Google Maps listing.
There are a few factors that affect your listing in Google Maps. However, there are three critical factors that you must consider beyond location and relevancy:
Let’s run through how you can boost both of these criteria to bring your business into the Google 3-Pack.
Relevance refers to your business’ placement in the Google search results for the particular thing that the customer is searching for. If your business shows up on the first page of Google’s search results, your relevance is high. Therefore, your likelihood of showing up in the Google 3-Pack is high.
We should note that Google Maps isn’t ranking your website against other websites. Rather, it’s ranking your business itself.
In order to increase your visibility, you need to claim and optimize your Google My Business profile. Follow these steps to get your profile optimized for Google Maps marketing:
- Claim your business’ profile on Google My Business
- Categorize your business appropriately
- Add inviting pictures of your establishment
- Include your business’ branding within your profile
- Include more information, like the business address and phone number
- Ensure that all of the information about your business is correct on this and other platforms
- Invite others to link to your business page
The more complete your profile is, the better. Many companies don’t do enough with their Google pages. The good thing is that you can’t do too much, so get to work on optimizing your Google My Business profile.
This one is fairly simple. Google wants to send its searchers to places that are nearby. Therefore, your location in relation to the customer is important.
However, places that are close yet farther away than competitors could still rank higher in the results.
The third factor that you need to take into consideration is prominence, which customer reviews affect. Every business owner knows that their customers’ opinions matter. But, it matters more than you may think.
The more good reviews you have, the more Google finds you credible. The more credibility you have, the higher you’re going to rank in search.
Google doesn’t want to send its users to businesses that no one likes. They want to showcase great businesses that locals love.
So, you need to encourage customers to leave reviews. Even better, you should encourage them to leave five stars.
It isn’t enough to have a million reviews. You need to have as many positive reviews as you can get if you want Google to rank you higher.
So, follow these steps to get great reviews:
- Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by offering a QR code when they visit
- Create customer incentives for those who do leave reviews
- Respond to every single review that your company gets, especially if it’s a negative review
- Share positive customer reviews on your website, Google profile, and in your business
- Use your social media to let people know about your Google profile
- Tell customers that you’re looking for honest feedback
Start racking up reviews today and improve your business’ reputation.
The Bottom Line
As you’re adding more and more to your business profile, you are increasing the likelihood that your business will end up in one of the top three spots. Google wants you to fill out more information so that they will have more information to give searchers. Therefore, they are more likely to show businesses that provide more useful information.
The bottom line is that your business will rank higher if your profile contains more details.
So, the more reviews, posts, photos, and details, the more likely Google will rank your business higher.
The Importance of the Google 3-Pack
As we’ve discussed, the Google 3-Pack can make a world’s difference in the popularity and success of your business. If your business is listed in one of those top three spots, you’re more likely to get customers.
But, the importance of the Google 3-Pack goes much further than this. Your listing on Google Maps brings potential customers to your profile. This tells them everything they need to know about your business.
In other words, your placement in the Google 3-Pack is the key to getting customers to find out more about your business. If your business is listed in one of the top three spots, it’s more likely that customers are going to click on your business to learn more about it.
This is where you can wow the searchers.
That’s why you need to add more and more information to your Google profile. It’s your time to show potential customers that you are everything they’re looking for.
How to Impress Customers With Your Google Profile
It’s not enough to get in the top three. Most customers are going to click on your business profile to determine whether or not they really want to go. So, you need to make sure that you’re putting together the best profile among you and your competitors.
To start off, you need to submit all of the information possible. This includes your business name, address(es), phone number(s), open hours, and more. And, you need to update this information as applicable.
If you have multiple locations, you should keep each location updated as well. If you put the phone number for location A under location B, you’re going to confuse and frustrate customers.
With all of this information, you should include the products and/or services that your organization provides. If you’re reporting goods and services for a restaurant, you should list your full menu on your Google My Business page.
As you’re filling in all of this information, you need to remember to include keywords. Include the city that you’re located in, the kinds of goods and services you have, and the category that your business is under. You can include these keywords in your business description.
Choosing the Right Photos
If you’re looking for something to spice up your Google My Business page, all you need to do is add photos. Businesses who put photos on their Google listings receive 42% more requests for directions. And, they also receive 35% more clickthroughs to their websites.
If you’re not putting photos up, you’re missing out on more business.
If you’re wondering what kind of photos you should post, look at these tips:
- Post a minimum of three, strong exterior images of the building that show potential customers what the building looks like at different times of day and what the building may look like while they’re walking up to it
- Post a minimum of three interior photos to give potential customers a look at what the vibe is indoors
- Post photos of products and services that you sell
- Post a minimum of three photos that show team members and management
- Bars, restaurants, and cafes should post photos of their most popular foods and drinks
- Hotels should upload images of their guest rooms
You should ensure that all of these photos are high-quality images that will draw consumers in. Poor-quality photos are not professional and may drive potential customers away.
It may be worth it to hire a professional photographer if you feel like you can’t get the right shots.
Take Advantage of Posts
Your Google business page isn’t quite a form of social media, but you can post announcements, photos, and more. So, it’s similar to another social media platform that your business should keep up with.
With that in mind, you should be updating your Google business page often. Make important announcements and keep your potential and current customers in the know.
It’s especially important to post time-related updates and holiday news. Customers are going to see whether or not your hours are changing for an upcoming holiday. They would also be interested in whether or not your business is doing something special for that holiday.
You can also post menu updates and special sales. This is the place to communicate with your customers and give them all of the nitty-gritty updates that they may not see or know about otherwise.
It may not seem important, but you may also want to include employee shoutouts or customer giveaways here, too.
All in all, you should treat your posts on your Google business page as a part of your social media strategy. If it’s important enough to post on Instagram, it’s important enough to post here.
Show Off Your Attributes
Google business profiles have a few new settings and characteristics. Google calls these ‘attributes.’
Business attributes describe several aspects of the business. They may tell customers whether or not the business is woman-owned or black-owned. They may tell customers if there is outdoor seating or a delivery option.
These attributes tell customers all of the fine details about your establishment that they wouldn’t know unless they’ve already been a few times. Here are some more details that potential customers can find out about your business:
- Whether or not it is family-friendly
- Whether or not you offer inside dining, outdoor dining, delivery, take-out, etc.
- Health and safety information
- What kind of theme your establishment has
- Any notable products or services
- What makes your business popular
- Disability and accessibility information
- Whether or not your establishment offers alcohol
- What kind of cuisine restaurants offer
- What meals restaurants serve
- What kind of atmosphere your establishment has
- The typical crowd that goes to your establishment
- What kind of payments you take
The list goes on and on. These details can help potential customers know what kind of establishment they’re looking at. Plus, it makes it easier to choose where they want to go.
Having all of this information is great for potential customers who need to know more about your business. Before they had this information, customers had to make a lot of guesses. Or, they would have to go to a business to figure out more information about it.
So, if you want to give your customers more information about your business, you need to keep things updated. If you aren’t updating important information often, you’re likely going to confuse customers.
We should also note that 25% of the top-ranking factors for the Google 3 Pack come from signals from Google My Business.
Why Do Consumers Trust the Google 3-Pack?
As you now know, Google generates three businesses to showcase in the Google 3-Pack. The platform chooses these three businesses based on several criteria. These criteria include location, relevancy, reviews, and more.
But, why do customers trust this list?
Just because Google lists three things at the top doesn’t mean that customers have to choose one of these businesses. But, they do.
In order to understand even further why the Google 3-Pack is crucial for your business, you need to understand why the selection of business draws customers in so easily.
Google Doesn’t Disappoint
It may seem impossible to get into the top three spots, but this is because of Google’s strong vetting process. They analyze each business individually and calculate where they belong on the list.
The algorithm knows what it’s doing.
Because Google has a history of bringing their searchers the best of the best, consumers trust the results that they get. Therefore, the top three map selections are automatically better choices because Google placed them in those rankings.
For local businesses, this means that appealing to Google also appeals to customers. So, if you want customers to choose your business, you need to take the time to appeal to Google’s algorithm.
But, it may not be exactly what it seems.
First Is the Worst, Second Is the Best, Third Is the Second-Best
Interestingly, the Google 3-Pack rankings are not what they seem. Being the first business doesn’t mean that you receive the most business. In fact, that business doesn’t even receive the most clicks.
According to a study that analyzed several industries, the business in second place received the most clicks:
- The business in Rank 1 receives a 104% increase in median clicks
- The business in Rank 2 receives a 123% increase in median clicks
- The business in Rank 3 receives a 112% increase in median clicks
From this data, you can also see that the business in third place receives more clicks than the business in first.
Although, each business in the Google 3-Pack received more than 100% increase in clicks. So, any rank brings the business to a higher advantage than businesses not featured in the Google 3-Pack.
However, it is notable that the same study shows that 36% of customers jump for the first result on the search engine results page. These individuals are less likely to look at reviews or locations. These are individuals who trust in the algorithm and believe that Google has picked out the best business for them to go to.
Besides the Rankings
The same study also shows us how customers make their decisions without the influence of the rankings:
- 64% of customers look for proximity
- 57% of customers look for brand familiarity
- 57% of customers look for high ratings
- 49% of customers look at the number of reviews
This data tells you what to focus on when you’re building your profile. Obviously, you can’t move the location of your business to follow wherever searchers are. But, you can build a recognizable brand and collect high ratings.
The key here is to focus on the factors that you can control.
By improving upon your reviews and creating a brand that people want to associate themselves with, you can bring in more customers. You may not be able to control where you are on Google’s list, but you can focus on making a customer-focused experience.
Your Ranking Will Come With Time
It may be frustrating to not see the results that you want right away. But, your ranking will come with time.
Google’s algorithm is constantly moving things sites and businesses around. So, you could jump in the rankings overnight. But, that’s very unlikely unless you make major changes to your business’ profile.
The bottom line is that we don’t want you to become discouraged. Trying to take on a digital marketing strategy like this by yourself is difficult. And, it can become irritating when you don’t see the results that you want.
However, you should know that every detail you post and every review that customers write matters. Each element serves to help your company grow in the long run.
So, you should keep working to get customers to write reviews. You should keep posting to let potential customers know about changes and announcements.
And, you should keep trying to get your business to the top. The higher up you are, the better your chances are.
Focus on Local
Google Maps runs on local SEO. Often, searchers type in specific locations or search near where they currently are. Therefore, Google wants to find businesses that fit that particular area.
While you can’t be everywhere at once, you can appeal to your closest, local audience.
To take advantage of locals that are near your business, you need to focus on these local SEO tips:
- Focus on optimizing your Google My Business profile because it is more important than your website
- Include your name, address, and phone number everywhere as Google looks for these details
- Get as many reviews on your profile as possible
- Continue practicing ‘normal’ SEO practices like using prominent keywords
Keep It Consistent
When in doubt, keep things consistent. Mastering normal and local SEO isn’t going to happen overnight, but you can keep details consistent easily.
Whether they’re on your Google profile, your business website, or a local listing, the details of your business should remain the same. Google isn’t going to recommend a business that has ten different renditions for one location.
Therefore, you need to revise any incorrect listings. If any other websites have incorrectly listed information, you need to get into contact with them, too. You should make sure that your business name is correct, the hours are correct, and other details are correct as well.
Every detail matters.
So, take the time to do some digging. Your Google ranking may be low because your profile is inconsistent on other websites.
The Importance of Reviews
We’ve brushed over this topic lightly, but we haven’t truly addressed just how much reviews can change your business’ Google profile. There are plenty of reasons that customers look towards reviews to tell them what they need to know about a business:
- Reviews are social proof of a business’s success
- Reviews make businesses more visible
- Reviews help businesses appear more trustworthy
- Reviews serve as conversations about your business
- Reviews help potential customers make decisions about your business
- Reviews positively impact sales
- Reviews provide open lines of communication
Let’s dive into why reviews are so important. As we’ve said, they contribute more to your Google profile, but they do so much more.
1. Social Proof
Consumers are more likely to look for reviews than trust their own intuition. Reading a customer review online is like receiving advice from a friend about a brand and its products.
Online reviews are the best resource that consumers have to learn more about a business and its products. Rather than hoping that one of their friends has shopped from the business they’re looking at, a consumer will look towards the reviews.
In order to encourage more reviews, you may want to consider sending an email to remind them to do so after a purchase. Or, you can put up signs about reviewing your business in your store.
2. More Visibility
A brand’s success is tied to a brand’s visibility. Reviews provide more content for a company. Therefore, these reviews make the brand more visible on search engines like Google.
Google’s algorithm looks for content related to a business in order to rank it against other businesses. Although, not all of these reviews are equal. If you’re receiving bad reviews, it will serve as a detriment.
Not every review is positive for your company’s visibility.
So, you should encourage all of your customers to leave reviews. But, you should be sure to patch up any negative comments that you see in your company’s reviews.
This means that you need to respond to every negative thing that people may have to say about your business. It may be that they reviewed the wrong business, or there was another misunderstanding.
Reviews give potential customers an idea of how trustworthy your business is in the eyes of other consumers. Therefore, they can get an idea of whether or not they trust you.
As we discussed earlier, this is the best gauge that consumers have for your business. Just because a business owner says they’re trustworthy doesn’t mean that it’s true. Therefore, these consumers depend on past customers to share their experiences so that they can see if you have lived up to your promises.
This is another reason why it’s important for you to respond to every review. By praising good reviews and addressing bad reviews, you’re showing potential customers that they can trust you to care about their business. At the same time, they can trust you to handle negative situations when they arise.
4. Consumer Conversations
It may sound scary, but consumers are able to have conversations about your company through the reviews. They may be asking questions about someone’s review or giving a one-sided rendition of their experience with your company.
This is common because 64% of consumers check a business’s reviews before visiting in person.
These interactions mirror conversations that consumers may have with family and friends about local businesses.
It’s important to encourage these conversations and keep an eye on them to make sure that they’re staying positive. If you find that you may be able to help an inquisitive consumer, you can jump into the conversation and give them the answers they’re looking for.
5. Driving Decisions
Reviews drive sales decisions for consumers. In fact, two-thirds of consumers believe that online reviews are an essential part of their shopping experience. And, they’re more likely to look at online reviews than ask a friend or family member.
So, having more reviews may give consumers more reasons to focus on your Google profile over others.
Companies with more reviews tend to have more trustworthy ratings. Thus, consumers who haven’t even purchased from the company yet are more likely to trust it.
So, those random negative comments that you may not think will affect other customers’ opinions about you are bound to have some kind of effect.
6. More Sales
Companies with overall positive reviews from their customers have increased sales numbers. In other words, those positive reviews
This proves that each business should focus on improving their reviews to serve the bottom line. Any old review isn’t good enough. The key here is positive reviews that show potential customers that you have a lot to offer your customers.
Reviews also affect sales in person. 78% of mobile local searches resulted in sales in person.
7. Online Communication
Reviews also serve as online communication between you and your customers. It’s a platform for you to show just how much you care for your customers and their experience with your business.
In fact, most consumers expect businesses to respond to their comments and reviews. This is especially if they had something poor to say about your business.
So, you should take the time to respond to reviews regularly. Thank positive reviewers and try to help negative reviewers.
Keep in mind that other people can see your responses, so they should be professional and helpful. In fact, you should state that you’re going to help the customer resolve their issue as soon as possible.
Optimize Your Listings
After reading all of this information about the Google 3-Pack, we’re sure that you’re excited to get to work on your Google ranking. Remember, the Google 3-Pack may not list your business overnight. But, the work that goes into your business’ ranking will be worth it.
However, if all of this feels overwhelming, feel free to contact us. We are experts in search engine optimization. Therefore, we know how to improve your ranking.
Get started today!