The local pack (also called the 3-pack or a snack-pack) is the small block of businesses listed under a map in the search results. The purpose of the special display is to show the top local businesses in close proximity to the searcher. You’ll see these when you search for certain types of businesses, primarily one search engines believe has the intention of looking for a local business.
This is one way search engines attempt to serve relevant information to their searchers, and provides opportunities for high rankings for local businesses. Search engines use a wide range of factors to determine which are the select few businesses that display in here, as often these businesses get a healthy share of calls, visits to the store or visits to their website.
Local packs typically show below the ads block and before the organic listing. In some locations in the USA, they show below Google Ads and the Local Services Ads (formerly Home Services Unit).
Listings do *not* need to be claimed (verified) to show in the local pack, nor do they need to have a website (although Google provides one for free).
Local Pack types
There are two types of local packs – branded and category. Branded searches are what they sound like – you’re searching for a business by a brand name. Category is when you’re doing a more generic search and don’t have a particular company in mind.
The differences between brand and category local packs are subtle; the big give-away is the lettering beside the name on Brand packs. You’ll also notice category local packs have review ratings, and slightly more filters (grey text between map & listings).
In the above examples you’ll also see images on the right – whether images show or not is based on the type of business searched. For example, restaurants will show images, plumbers will not.
Local Pack business types
There are two kinds of results you will find in local packs – ads and organic. It’s a mini-search result in itself! Just like they do in normal search results, Ads show on top (making the local pack a 4-pack), and organic listings below.
Of the businesses listed, they will be either Service Area Businesses (SABs) or Local Shopfronts.
Since SABs hide their address, there is no specific marker on the map for them, nor is there a directions icon.