Understand When The Google Map Pack Shows Up and How To Get Your Website Ranked In The Map Pack
We’re all familiar with the Google Map Pack, right? Google map pack is the general term used to describe the location based results you see on a Google search results page, where it lists local businesses and identifies their location on a map with little place marker icons. Well, if you want your business to get in front of new customers, you need to be ranking in the Google map pack! In this episode we’ll talk about how to determine which keywords will trigger that map pack to show up (not all will). We’ll also dig into how you can optimize your website for the keywords that trigger the map pack, to make sure you are showing up here for local searches!
- You need to be in the Google map pack if you want to be found for local search results on Google
- The Google map pack is group of businesses that appear in a box at the top of the search results page
- The map pack does not show up for every search term you want to target
- You need to find out which search terms the map pack is showing up for, and optimize for those keywords
- Find the qualifier and superlative keywords that you can add to your services to trigger the map pack to show up
- You need to have a Google My Business listing to show up in the Google map pack search results
- Be sure to do Google searches from multiple IP’s and from multiple physical locations to understand the differences by location
- Thanks for Listening!
Here is the transcription from Episode 29 What Is The Google Map Pack and SEO Tricks To Get Your Website To Show Up In The Map Pack;
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics with Jesse Dolan and Bob Brennan here as
we are each week bringing you some tips and tricks to hopefully help your
business get found more online.
This week we’re going to be talking about Google Map results or the Google
map pack, Google My Places, things like that. It’s been called lots of things over
the past few years. What we’re talking about is getting that map pack to pop
when you’re doing some searches and to be found on the map pack.
Because really nowadays you want to do SEO on your website, and you want
your website to rank good organically, but what are we trying to do? We want
to be in the map pack.
Bob: Yes. Map packs, one of our clients pointed this out today, map packs I would say
three, four years ago wasn’t as important. The reason it’s important today is,
guess what? 80% of the searches are done on your phone. When that map pack
shows up, people are going to respond to that because that occupies most of
the real estate in your phone.
Jesse Dolan: Your whole first screen, if not more for scrolling.
Bob: As important as SEO is, this is just as important. That’s why we’re really digging
into this topic. People are like, “Ugh, enough of the map packs.” Guess what?
Jesse Dolan: It’s the main thing. I think our first episode we kicked this whole thing off with
was how to create a GMB listing. That’s how important it is, you’ve got to get in
that to even be in this game. Everything else after that is about tying your
website and your GMB together quite frankly.
What we’re going to be talking about today is how to pick the right search terms
to be found on the map pack, how to get yourself then found for those search
terms, and things along those lines.
First and foremost is you need to be identifying what keywords to go after. Now
we’ve talked in previous episodes about you want to have your niche pages out
there, your main Google My Business category as keywords.
Then after that, there’s still a lot of searches that people are going to be doing
that don’t exactly match up as an exact match to those keywords that you’re
picking. How do you get found for these other things?
We were just talking about the example of Audi transmission repair. If you want
to be found for that search, you can’t just make a page for Audi transmission
repair. I’m sorry, you can make a page for Audi transmission repair, but that’s
not the only thing you’re going to want to target. You want to show up for what
people are searching for in Google.
Really an easy way to go after that, and I’m sure there’s automated tools out
there that will do some of the stuff that we’re talking about, we’re not naïve to
those. We just like to default to doing this manual. It only takes a few minutes,
you’re only going to do this maybe twice a year, three times a year to revisit
these topics. This gets you the exact information right from the horse’s mouth.
You’re just going to do some searching. Pull up the old Google machine and do
some actually searching for things that you want to be found for. There’s your
main keyword, in this case we’re talking Audi transmission repair. Then what are
people searching for?
Are they just going Audi transmission repair near me, things like that? That’s
probably one of them, but those qualifiers or those superlatives that describe it.
Bob: Best Audi transmission shop or whatever case, that may not show up because
it’s too niche. All the variations you can think of, and then along with that just
pick on the transmission industry. If there’s a specific model that is problematic
that you’re good at and you make the most money on, shoot, that’s what you
need to go after.
You said once or twice a year, I would do this every quarter or somewhere
between 30 and 90 days because it’s changing.
Jesse Dolan: You’re right, you could do it every week. I would say at the very least if you’re
not at least doing it twice a year, that’s kind of the minimum for sure. What the
heck, it’s a dynamic result.
As proof of what we’re talking about there, what we really mean by this is to do
these searches and just experiment in your head. Type it into Google, go over
and over again these different searches and variations, you’re looking for the
map pack to pop.
If you type in best Audi repair near me, you’re going to get some results. No
matter what you’re searching for, you’re going to get some sort of results page.
If you don’t see that map pack on the page, we want to ignore that keyword.
That’s the main thing that we’re talking about here.
What we’re looking to do is to identify keywords and these phraseologies that
trigger the map pack. Again, there is probably some automation out there to
help you discover these things, but we want to do it manually. Like you’re
saying, stuff changes.
We’re going to get into a lot of the manual versions that we want to do here,
like when and where and different devices. The algorithm now with Google,
there’s so many points of data that they take into consideration. You don’t just
want to do this from your desk or your cubicle, or wherever you’re primarily
work and manage your website. You’re going to want to really expand that out
to see how these results change where you’re at.
Now within your page, let’s just take that Audi transmission repair, that’s
probably going to be your page. Let’s just say that it is,
Bobsautorepair.com/auditransmissiorepair. That is your page, you want that
page to be found.
As you’re doing these searches, maybe you’re going to show up. Your page
might already be optimized and you’re going to pop up in somebody’s map pack
listings. Don’t worry about that then. Don’t write that phrase down, you’re
covered for that one.
You’re going to be wanting to record the phrases that you don’t show up for.
Best Audi transmission repair, cheapest could be on depending on your deal. If
you’re looking for Audi transmission repair, you might not be looking for the
cheapest as an example. Best, cheapest, quickest, nearest; those different
Bob: Even try maybe different models. Audi Quattro transmission or something like
that. Another thing kind of taking it back a step or two in this all has to line up
with your services that you have.
In the previous or what have you, we talked about the pages that reflect your
services. You’re going to have let’s say five to ten of those pages, or whatever
the case is.
Another way to break it down is to go into the Google Analytics and say, “What
are the top searches?” You may find out for whatever reason, Audi Quattro
transmission repair ranks higher and has more searches than just plain Jane
Audi transmission repair.
Jesse Dolan: Absolutely.
Bob: Sorry if we’re nerding out about cars, it’s just one example. You really could
spend time and hours and stuff messing with that. In small business I think it’s
even more important that you’re strategic about it, that you’re taking the time
to do this so you’re not just busy.
I think at the end of the day when you get this done, you can make the phone
ring as much as you want, it’s really making it ring for the specific stuff that you
want to do work for.
Jesse Dolan: If you guys heard me typing here, I was looking for this plugin that we use too.
it’s “People also search for”, let me see what the actual name of this plugin is.
Keywords Everywhere, there it goes. It was escaping me.
For Google Chrome, we use it and it actually embeds some of that Google
search data for you right in the web page. As you’re doing these searches,
you’re going to see the actual map pack or not and record that, but it’s also
going to give you what people also search for that’s related to it. It’s going to
give you that volume.
It’s not exactly going to the Google keyword tool to get the number of searches
for that exact keyword, but it gets you thinking along these lines. The name of
the game that we’re talking here is going as many searches for as many of these
variations. Like you’re saying, you’re getting models in there, brands in there,
just other variations on this niche that you’re focused on to find out what’s
popping for the map pack.
Then we want to record those keywords. Any tools to help you come up with
different keywords to try and explore, and then you also want to rank those.
You can’t have a page that goes after 78 variations on these keywords. If you
come up with a bunch that pop in the map pack, you’re going to want to try to
pick maybe that three or five variations or long tail descriptions of these
keywords and incorporate them into your page.
Let’s reset here. You’re doing Audi transmission repair, looking for a bunch of
different model version, superlatives about best, cheapest, fastest, whatever. At
the end of the day, you want to come up with maybe three to five, or even
upwards of ten or so of those variations and pick those as things you’re going to
incorporate into your page for Audi transmission repair.
What you’re trying to do, and again the disclaimer here is record those for ones
you’re not always showing on the map pack for. We’re doing this research to
figure out what triggers the map pack, where am I not listed in that map pack
trigger, and I want to get listed there. You know what I mean?
If these are high volume keywords and this is triggering the map pack, I want to
be playing in that space. Come up with that list, then you’re going to go back to
your webpage that’s Audi transmission repair. You’re going to try to incorporate
these phrases in there.
If there’s a qualified word, let’s just say best Audi repair near me was a phrase
that popped the map pack and you’re not showing up for that. You’re going to
want to go back to your Audi transmission repair page and you’re going to want
to create a H2 or a H3 heading somewhere, or maybe have a bullet pointed list.
If you’re going to do a bullet pointed list in this context, I’d make that a H3. I’d
make all those bullet points an H3 for this. Start putting in there, “Best Audi
transmission repair in town.”
You’re not going to want to use that Audi transmission repair too much on your
page. Even though we’re mixing in some words before and after that, that’s still
that phrase. It’s going to show up on your page too many times then.
Bob: It will over-optimize it.
Jesse Dolan: It will over-optimize. You can say things like, “Best service in town”, or, “We’re
the quickest turnaround.” You want to find ways to incorporate those qualifier
words that were part of that map pack search to trigger it into your page.
That’s going to send those signals to Google; “They do Audi transmission repair,
they’re the best as rated by X, Y, Z. They’re the quickest, average turnaround
time is X.” Things like that because those results in the Google map pack, those
people that are showing up there, if it’s not you, they’re not just matching that
exact keyword phrase in there.
That’s Google and their AI deciding, “Oh, somebody’s searching for Audi
transmission repair. What’s their intent? They’re looking for somebody who’s
maybe the best or the fastest.” They’re getting all these inferences.
What you want to do is on your page for this niche, is you want to be using
those same keywords and that same phraseology that’s making that map pack
trigger. Now you’ve told Google, “I do this service”, or, “I sell this product” and
you’re mixing in those qualifying keywords that make the map pack pop. One
plus one equals two in that regard and you’re going to start showing up in that
Predicators for this, of course you have to have a Google map business listing
already. You have to have that tied to your website and all those other great
things we talked about in episode one. In episode six and seven we talk about
how to develop good optimized pages.
This is assuming you have that foundation already for getting that good stuff out
there. Then incorporate these searches into your repertoire to make sure you’re
showing up in the map pack.
Let’s make the assumption you’re just doing this from your desk and doing these
searches. I think you should probably speak to people about doing these
searches in multiple locations. There’s different modes, I know one of your
favorite, is it I Search?
Bob: It’s I Search. I Search, it’s kind of interesting. You go out, you’ve got to plug in
your country, and then you’ve got to plug in your search term, and then you’ve
got to plug in the city. Then it comes back with more of an agnostic search.
Obviously Google’s going to take your search history and all your other things
and serve something up. That search isn’t gospel, but it’s maybe the baseline of
what Google starts out with.
You were going to go on a description of maybe how to do different types of
searches outside of that. There’s Incognito as well, which was the Google, I
don’t even know. Can you tell the listeners how to get to that point?
Jesse Dolan: When you’re in Chrome, you basically start a new tab or switch to private or
Incognito Mode pretty easy. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes. We’ll put
a link to I Search as well in the show notes. It’s free, completely free.
These are all just different things you want to do to make sure … If you’re
searching for the same thing day after day, week after week, Google’s algorithm
is developing this ecosystem around you for what it’s going to show you in the
results that you’re wanting to see. You want to make sure you’re not tainting
yourself by seeing that stuff and then attack it going after that result.
The things we’re going to be talking about right here is different ways to do the
research to get a fresh look or come at it from a different perspective, to not
have that tainted history from Google. We’ll link to I Search, show you how to
do that Incognito Mode.
In addition to that, your IP address plays a role in this, that’s one of the signals.
Something that we recommend for everyone to do, most people have a smart
phone nowadays. It can be a hotspot. Let’s just say if you’re at the home or at
the office, you’re on the wifi or the ethernet, you’re on the company network or
even a home network at home; switch to your hotspot.
Let’s just say if you’re on your phone and your phone is on the wifi right now,
turn your wifi off so you’re not still leveraging your same network. You want to
be going off the cell data. Turn your wifi off on your phone, then turn your
hotspot on. On an iPhone it will say, “Do you want to turn your wifi back on?”
Yes, you don’t want to be connected to your wifi but you need wifi on to do this;
not to get too technical there.
End of the day, hook in through your hotspot. Let’s say your laptop through your
phone, and then do a search. Even just do the search on your dang phone too
for that matter. What you’re trying to do is get on a different network, from a
different location, and different IP address because that will show you some
different results as well.
Within that, do I Search again. Go out Incognito Mode, don’t do Incognito
Mode. Just see these differences for these same search terms, what’s making
the map pack pop, are you listed or not, and things like that.
Another cool tip to tell people is you’re out and about somewhere, whatever,
you’re at the dentist waiting; do some searches. Especially if these are cities that
you want to be popping in. If your business is located let’s say in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, you want to be found in Minneapolis and you’re physically located
in Minneapolis, that’s cool. You do some searches, you’re finding yourself, that’s
Now you go to one of the suburbs and maybe you’re looking to get your car
fixed in Minneapolis when you’re in there later, but you’re searching from day
Plymouth, which is a suburb of Minneapolis. You want to make sure that when
people are searching for the service in Minneapolis from Plymouth, when
they’re physically located in Plymouth, that you still pop.
If you get the chance to be in Plymouth, now don’t go drive there. You don’t
want to waste your day just to check this out, be cognizant and aware as you’re
out and about, “Hey, I got a few minutes. I can do some quick searching on my
phone or pull out my laptop”, and just see how that results compare.
It might cause you to navigate a little bit differently from what you’re doing. If
you’re finding you’re having great results in Minneapolis searching locally but
you’re not when you’re in a suburb, what do I do? How do I get myself to pop
when somebody’s searching from Plymouth?
It’s just really testing. Again, there’s probably some automated tools, Google it,
find them, go for it. We don’t have any that we’re going to recommend our
endorse just because for us this has just been the best way. It doesn’t take a lot
of time to do this.
It might sound pretty intensive as I was breaking it down, once you do this once
and you understand the process, it becomes something that you can just do to
kill two or three minutes here and there. Check up on things and get some new
ideas, it’s pretty easy to do.
There you go, that’s probably it for this week. That’s your homework
assignment, do some searching from different devices, try Incognito, try I
Search. Just see if you’re getting some different results. You’re going to get
different results, we shouldn’t even say if you are. You’re going to get different
results. That’s the whole point of doing the exercise.
Hopefully you can use these tips to find some new search terms that you’re not
showing up for. Get yourself on that map pack; if you want to have success,
that’s where you’ve got to be. Hopefully this helps you get there.
Check out the show notes below for resource links, guides, and a link to watch the episode in video format!
To share your thoughts:
- Send us a comment or question in the section below.
- Share this show on Facebook.
To help out the show:
- Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.
- Subscribe on iTunes.
- Subscribe on Google Play.
- Subscribe on Stitcher.
Listen to the episode however you like with the audio file.
Note: some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.