GBP Optimization

Google 3-Pack: How to Locally Optimize Your Online Presence

If you’re a local small business, optimizing your online presence for local clientele should be a top priority.

Alejandro Lopez de HaroJune 07, 202310 min read
Quick summary
  • Businesses that rank in the Google 3-pack are more likely to have more purchases.
  • Getting on the Google 3-pack should be incorporated into a local SEO strategy.
  • Semrush’s Listing Management tool helps small companies win more business from local SEO without a huge investment.

One of the best ways to increase traffic to your brick-and-mortar store is by enhancing your local Google SERPs presence. More specifically, optimizing to get in the Google 3-Pack. 
In this post, we’ll tell you what the Google 3-pack is and how to incorporate it into your organic strategy so you can get more more traffic online and locally. 
Now, let’s get local.

What is a Google 3-Pack?

The Google 3-Pack is the top three local business listings in Google SERPs. Typically, the results a user sees depend greatly on the business location, search query, and the user’s proximity to those business locations. 
So if you are looking for “cupcakes in New York City,” you’ll get the top three best results and cupcake shops to visit.


You can always narrow your search further. For example, if you search “cupcakes in upper Manhattan,” you’ll get different results than you did searching for cupcakes in New York City.


Of all Google searches, 46% are locally focused. This is why optimizing for local search is of the utmost importance for your business.

Benefits of Being In the Google 3-Pack

Of those who search locally, 
44% clicked on a local pack. Showing up in Google 3-Pack listings means you’ll get more visibility. And more visibility means more clicks. 
Being in Google 3-Pack listings can help influence buying decisions. People who find you in the local pack are more likely to make a direct purchase shortly after. So making your business easier to find is key to more conversions. 
Appearing in a Google 3-Pack instantly shows customers:

  • Business information
  • Directions and Google Maps
  • Reviews and overall rating
  • FAQs and their answers
  • Hours of operation and busy times
  • Service or product price range (e.g., $, $$, or $$$$)
  • Photos
  • Menus

Mobile users can also call the business directly from a Google 3-Pack and share the location with others as well as see additional details about what kind of establishment you are. 
For example, if you are a sports bar that serves food, you can include extra details like service options, highlights, what you’re famous for, offerings (food and beverage), ADA accessibility information, and several other details.

How to Get Into the Google 3-Pack

Now that you understand the Google 3-Pack and its benefits, we’ll show you how to improve your local presence practically. 
To get started, claim your Google Business Profile (GBP). 
Then, take these 15 actions to help boost your local search rankings to make it into Google 3-Pack. Before doing anything, make sure your Google Business Profile Google Business Profile is up to date. At a base level, this may include updating your business hours, phone number, and address. 
If you have a Listing Management tool, you can easily update your GBP and any other listings existing across the internet, which helps save time. After updating your GBP, you must manage and maintain your listing weekly, possibly daily. Letting it just sit may result in ranking losses. 
Staying as active as possible on Google Business Profile may look like:

  • Updating holiday hours
  • Adding photos from events
  • Continously making posts and offers
  • Responding to reviews
  • Answering questions
  • Watching your competitors

Remember, you want to nurture and protect your Google local 3-Pack standings because it drastically increases your local visibility. If you lose ranking because competitors are staying more active, it may result in losing business. Google doesn’t factor in your social media activity when ranking your site. But staying active on social media does influence your SEO because it creates brand exposure. 
So if you remain inactive or don’t have a social media account, now’s the time to put in some effort. 
Google will show users businesses that are more active with their online presence. 
And when your social media accounts are active, their rank rises in Google searches, contributing significantly to your Google 3-Pack ranking. 
Magnolia Bakery in New York is a great example. When you search for this business, you’ll notice its Facebook and Instagram accounts are on the first page of SERPs.


The more reviews you have, the more likely you are to end up in the Google 3-Pack. Getting reviews can be difficult, but there are ways to encourage your customers to leave positive five-star ratings to help boost your business on Google.

  • Rewarding them for reviewing your business (e.g. $5 gift card, 10% of coupon, etc)
  • Asking them in person toprovide a review
  • Sending email follow-ups after their visit
  • Launching a “Leave a Review” campaign
  • Adding a Google reviews page on your website
  • Placing a Google review link or QR code in your website footer and email signature

Make it easy for customers to leave a Google review. But also, remind them how easy it is to leave you a review. It takes just a moment of their time and will help you in the long run. Responding to reviews is just as important as getting reviews. It shows Google Business Profile visitors that you care about your customers. And it improves your reputation. 
Here is a good example from Buttercup BakeShop.


Make a point to respond to all negative or positive reviews with genuine care and respect for the customer. You can create a pre-written response, but it’s best to customize responses so they speak to the customer’s feedback. Here are some tips on responding to a review:

  • Properly address them by their name
  • Take time to thank them for their feedback
  • Repeat back the issue or praise
  • Apologize for any inconvenience
  • Apologize for any inconvenience
  • Offer a way for them to contact you (if there is an issue)
  • Apologize for any inconvenience
  • Offer a way for them to contact you (if there is an issue)

Handling reviews individually shows people you are listening to your customers, willing to solve problems, and striving to earn their trust. 
Responding to feedback can be challenging, so if you need time before responding, that’s OK. Take a break and return to it later, but do your best to respond as soon as possible.
You can also use a review management tool, like the one from Semrush. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you may lose customers. 
A mobile-friendly website is crucial to your website’s SEO and helps users stay on page longer. The more engaged a user is with your website, the better your rankings in Google search and the Google 3-Pack. 
Mobile-friendly websites are faster, which makes it easier and more convenient for users to consume your content and make buying decisions. 
Ultimately, having a mobile-friendly website is a positive signal to Google, and they will rank you accordingly. You want to be as transparent with your customers as possible, and photos and videos act as lovely visual aids for your business.


Uploading high-resolution photos and videos can set you apart from competitors and highlight your business (e.g., logos, products, services, menus, storefronts, branding). 
When uploading photos, they should be:

  • A JPG or PNG
  • Between 10 KB and 5 MB in size
  • At least 250 x 250 px in resolution

When uploading videos, they should be:

  • Up to 30 seconds long
  • At least 720p or higher
  • And up to 75 MB in file size

Make sure your videos and photos are in-focus and don’t have many alterations. After adding a few of these, you are likely to attract more customers. 
Pro Tip: Photos and videos are also easy to add when using a good Listing Management tool, Another great Google Business Profile feature is adding the products and services you offer. 
For example, Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery took time to add all the different baked goods they offer. When you click on each photo, you’ll see a description of the item. 
And if they just can’t avert their eyes from a mouth-watering Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, customers can use the convenient click-to-call button at the top to make an immediate purchase.


Just like you need keywords for a webpage, you’ll need them for a Google Business Profile as well. 
Your GBP allows you to properly categorize what kind of business you are so you show up in more relevant searches.


But optimizing your listing doesn’t stop there. Do some keyword research, and incorporate the most relevant keywords in your GBP. Include keywords in

  • Business name title
  • Business description
  • Q&As
  • Google posts

If you’re a new cupcake shop competing with the big leagues, implementing keywords in your GBP may look something like this:

 Old versionNew version
Business NameBaked Sweet TreatsBaked Sweet Treats | Handmade Cupcakes in Upper Manhattan
Business DescriptionVisit our location todayVisit our cupcake shop in New York City for sweet flavorful cupcake creations

In the example above, we incorporated a few different keywords (“cupcakes in upper Manhattan” and “cupcake shop in New York”) to attract multiple search queries while also stating exactly who they are as a business. 
It’s important to create a good balance of keywords in your name and bio. Avoid stuffing too many keywords or Google may ping you for it. Google Posts are another great way to show customers and Google that you are active and dedicated to your business. 
Google Posts allow you to share news updates, blog posts, photos, recipes, menus, offers, and other promotions that may attract potential customers. 
This helps you communicate directly and transparently with your customers while promoting and keeping your business up to date. 
Sprinkles New York does a great job of including posts in the example below:


Here, users can see the post and immediately click “Order Online” if they are craving Snow Cute Vanilla cupcakes. 
If you want to automate posts, use a social media poster instead of logging into Google Business Profile. If you’re a business that gets the same call with the same question repeatedly, Google Business Profile’s Q&A section may be a great option for engaging with your customers. 
Some users may ask a question on Google Business Profile to learn more about your business and as a business owner, you have an opportunity to directly answer their questions.


If no one has asked any questions, you can also use the Q&A feature to add some FAQs and answer them for users who come to your listing. 
And it’s another opportunity to include some keywords to help boost your local SEO
For example, if a customer asks, “Do you have gluten-free cupcakes?” you can respond with, “Yes, We have gluten-free cupcakes in many flavors including chocolate, vanilla, carrot cake, and red velvet.” 
Answer user-asked questions as soon as possible. Google Business Profile allows anyone to answer a question. If you answer first, this helps avoid any misrepresentation. It’s common for local businesses to struggle with getting into the top positions in organic search right away. But not to worry. 
To help boost your rankings in search engines and get people to visit your website or storefront, you can run local ads.


Running local Google ads can give your business a spotlight for a short time. If you’re not sure how to launch a local ad campaign, hire a professional ad specialist to help you. One way to get your website to show up in Google search results pages, and the Google 3-Pack is to ensure your website is optimized for local search. 
For example, if you are a cupcake business that wants to focus on an area in New York or the city itself, the pages on your website need to be more locally focused. This will require some keyword research to see the exact phrase people are searching for online. 
An easy way to do this is to change your page title and title tags to “Cupcakes in Upper Manhattan” or “Cupcake Shop in New York City.” Be sure to include those same keywords in the text as well to really optimize the page. 
Below is a great example of local cupcake shops that have incorporated their location into their page titles.


Now, when people are searching for cupcakes in New York City, your business may show up in the results. Combined with all the other improvements you’re making to Google search, this will contribute to ranking in outstanding ways. See where you currently stand by running a a quick local listings audit.


Just type in your company name, click the orange button, and you’ll get a local listings report on your current local presence. 
The report details:

  • Your presence in top directories
  • Online listings
  • Review breakdowns
  • Local SEO competitive analysis

You can export the online listings portion of your report to see which listings are not present, which ones have issues, and which ones are present. 
And if you would like to boost your local SEO, a big green button sends you to the Listing Management tool where you can start getting even better rankings. Your business may appear in over 150 listings across the internet, including Google, Alexa, Apple, Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, and countless others. However, those who manage those listing sites don’t always change your information, even when you do. 
With a Listing Management tool, you can manage your business information across 70+ directories at once. This saves you tons of time and headaches.


The Listing Management tool allows you to:

  • Manage reviews
  • Monitor reputation
  • Maintain all listings simulatenously
  • Edit and distribute your business information
  • Resolve listing inconsistencies
  • Upload photos and videos
  • See Map Rank Trackers

Properly managing these listings with the Listing Management tool allows opportunities for your website to rank higher and show up in local listings. 
And, it’s easy! Your business may appear in over 150 listings across the internet, including Google, Alexa, Apple, Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, and countless others. However, those who manage those listing sites don’t always change your information, even when you do. 
With a Listing Management tool, you can manage your business information across 70+ directories at once. This saves you tons of time and headaches.

Check your
local listings for free

Lead Customers to You in Google 3-Pack Listings

Getting into the Google 3-Pack is rewarding and worth pursuing if you want more customers.
Using these simple solutions, you will likely see big changes in your local search rankings. The first step is understanding what’s missing from your profile and then improving your current presence across the web.
But most importantly, stay active and engaged to help win over the local crowd so your business can rise to the top of the Google 3-Pack and keep succeeding.
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