Optimizing for the Google 3-Pack

What is Google 3-Pack?

The 3-Pack is Google’s method used to display the top three results for local SERP results. It references the user’s location to make the search more relevant. For instance, if a user searched “restaurants near me”, Google 3-Pack would display three restaurants near the user’s current location.

Google 3-Pack has undergone a couple of major changes, first in August of 2015 when the Google 7-Pack was cut down to three, creating the 3-Pack. At the time, the update placed more emphasis on links to the brand’s business websites. The way information was displayed also changed, making it easier for mobile users to navigate the 3-Pack by showing addresses and business hours, rather than phone numbers.

In December 2021, Google 3-Pack saw another major update. Google described the update as a rebalancing of its three key ranking factors for 3-Pack results: proximity, relevance and prominence. The rather rapid impacts to results made it clear that the rebalancing was to place greater emphasis on proximity as a factor. The 2021 update also integrated the results with a map.

How do I rank locally on Google?

You cannot optimize specifically for Google 3-Pack because businesses that appear on Google 3-Pack are location dependent. In other words, the local SEO results change depending on the searcher’s location.

However, you can optimize your web presence in a way that will increase your chances of appearing in the 3-Pack.

How to optimize your web presence to increase likelihood of showing in the Google 3-Pack.

  1. Make sure your Google Business Profile is filled in and up-to-date. This is the easiest component for you to control and is weighted heavily – about 25% – in your ranking potential.
  2. Solicit customer reviews on your Google Business Profile. Receiving multiple positive reviews can be beneficial when it comes to boosting your visibility, both as a ranking factor (prominence), and because Google reviews and stars will be plainly visible to users on the 3-Pack.
  3. Make sure your listings throughout the web are accurate and consistent. This includes business name, address, and phone number (NAP).
  4. Cultivate locally relevant links to boost your visibility. There are a number of ways you can cultivate reputable links, such as sponsoring local nonprofits and events or joining a Chamber of Commerce.
  5. Build standard backlinks to raise your organic rank. Backlinks are best cultivated through outstanding, well-distributed content that attracts readers.
  6. Build a strong presence on social media and other platforms to establish yourself as a Google local listing with loyal followers.
  7. Improve the user experience (UX) on your website, as Google favors better experiences. Since 2015, for example, Google has rolled out updates asking websites to be responsive and allow better usability for the mobile experience.

Appearing in the Google 3-Pack attracts attention to your brand and encourages people to engage with you. Keep these guidelines in mind when you create your web presence to maximize your chances of appearing on these lists.