Google Map Pack — also called Google Local Pack — is a feature that appears on Google search engine result pages when someone searches for products and services in their area. For example, a search user who types in “best places to drink in Austin, TX” on Google will see three business listings for bars in the city based on those bars’ distance from the user and relevance to the user. Getting your business features on Google local search results is critical because it can generate more clickthroughs to your website and increase awareness and sales. Learn more about Google Map Pack in this glossary entry.

How Does Google Local Pack Work?

Google Map Pack appears at the top of Google’s search engine results when someone types in a query with local intent. This feature includes a map based on the search user’s location and three business listings. At the bottom of the Map Pack, users can click the “Find more places” button to access additional local business listings.

Google is constantly changing its algorithm for Map Pack. The search engine used to display seven businesses before changing it to three. Google will also tailor its results as it learns more about the search user looking for information in their area. For example, a business might appear in a Map Pack after a user has visited that place.

There are various ways to increase your chances of appearing in a Map Pack. However, it can be difficult to appear as the first result of the three listings that display for searches. Google doesn’t reveal any information about how it determines the order of these three results and might switch its positioning for businesses depending on exactly what a user is searching for at that particular time. For example, Google might list a retail store specializing in menswear first in a Map Pack for “cheapest clothes in Austin, TX” if a user searched for men’s clothing earlier in the day. However, it might show that store in the second or third ranking (or not in a Map Pack at all) a few weeks later when a user types in the same search term.

Why is Google Map Pack Important?

Google Local Pack for SEO is important for searchers because it helps them find businesses based on their queries. The name, address, opening hours, and average customer review score (based on Google’s star rating system for location businesses) all appear at the top of a results page without the user having to click elsewhere. These individuals can find places that might interest them quickly, reducing the time it takes to access local services.

Google Map Pack is also important for businesses because it increases awareness about their products and services and encourages search users to click on their website and learn more information. Though Google tailors each of its Map Packs to individual search users, businesses that appear on multiple “packs” can generate an incredible amount of traffic.

mexican restaurant in san francisco google search results

Appearing on Google Map Pack

There are several ways you can appear on Google Local Pack for SEO:

Update your business listing on Google

Google typically only recommends companies with a complete business listing that includes up-to-date contact details, operating hours, health and safety information, and so on. The search engine is also more likely to suggest a business with lots of photos in its listing.

You can update the information in your Google business listing at any time. Just log into your Google My Business account and make changes. If you haven’t created a listing on the platform, you can claim your business and create a profile for your company.

Make sure information is consistent

Google might penalize a site and prevent it from appearing in a Map Back if it contains inconsistent information across different platforms. For example, if an address is spelled “1 Main Street, Springfield” on a website and “1 Main St, Springfield” in a Google business listing. So make sure your business information is the same in different places. That means consistent info about opening hours, customer policies, contact phone numbers, and other elements of your business.

Carrying out a search engine optimization audit to ensure your information is correct and consistent is essential before trying to rank for a Map Pack. You can complete this process yourself or get an SEO or performance marketing agency like Upgrow to do it for you.

Encourage customers to leave positive reviews

One of the ranking factors for Google’s Map Pack is a healthy number of positive reviews. Your business is more likely to appear in local search results if you have lots of four- and five-star reviews from customers, suggesting to search users you are a genuine company.

If you don’t have a lot of reviews or several bad ones, encourage customers to lead positive feedback on Google after purchasing a product or service. You might remind them to leave a review in an email or on social media.