Google Map Optimization
A Complete Guide to Google Maps Ranking and Optimization For Your Business
Google Maps Optimization can have a dramatic impact on your business. So if you are looking at a Digital Marketing Strategy, you have to consider a GMB Ranking as part of that.
You probably already know that showing up high in the Google Maps ranking can dramatically impact your new customers and inquiries. But do you know that it is not always about who is closest geographically? There are dozens of factors that come into consideration when Google decides who shows up in the “snack pack” on Google Maps – some of these factors are the same as for a website, some of them different.
Is Map Ranking for You?
Certainly not every business needs this service. If you run an e-commerce store or a travel destination, a global manufacturer, or any business where your customers will not look for you or find you on maps, then you would not need this service.
On the other hand, if you service local clients for things like HVAC, Flooring, Retail, Restaurants, Medical, Tree Services, Landscaping, Auto Repair, and so many more – then Maps can be your single best way to attract new business. People like dealing with local businesses that have a local listing where they can see how far away they are from their house, check reviews, call directly, etc. If you want to attract more of these people to your business, then you should definitely try to rank on Google Maps.
Want to Rank Better?
If you want to show up more often and higher, you have to put some effort into it, or hire someone to do the work for you. You absolutely MUST claim and verify your business on GMB first and foremost. If you haven’t done this yet, let us know so we can get started right away. You can always do this yourself, if you prefer. A quick google search and they will tell you exactly how to do that here. This will be a vital step to success on Maps. Check out our GMB Pricing here to see the deals we have going on right now to help you show up more often and get more calls. There are things you or we can do to make your business more visible to prospects.
Below, we provide a step by step guide on how you can better rank on Maps and do it all yourself, or mostly at least. Or even better, sign up for our SPECIAL for New Clients where you can have us do ALL of the heavy lifting for you.
Yes, they matter on Maps (they matter everywhere to be honest), and we can help there too, if needed.
Yes and no. We have actually seen businesses rank WITHOUT a website, but we have had more success ranking businesses with quality websites and solid on site SEO completed already. Want to check yours? Head over to our free website auditing tool here where you can run a quick check on your website. Keep in mind that a 100% score is not necessarily the goal here, but you need to make sure that the basics are in place and you score at least a 75%. If you are below that, let us know and we will be happy to provide you with a quote to complete your onsite SEO as well.
Website relevance is what causes the search engines to rank web pages in their results pages when someone performs a keyword search. The more relevance you have, the higher your placement. Relevance is generally comprised of four main items – Coding, Content, Link Popularity and Traffic Rank. Sure, there are 100’s of things the search engines consider but if you learn to master these four, you will have great placement which means MORE VISIBILITY!
We specialize in more visibility for less cost! What business owner wouldn’t want that? Then the next question is, why us, how are we different and what do we do to achieve more traffic for less cost. Very simply, we raise your relevance for your main target market, improve your organic placement in the search engines (on the left side of the page) which drives more traffic to your site! Why does it cost less? Our clients typically spend a fraction with us compared to what they were spending on their PPC campaign. What they were spending in 2-3 months is the same amount they spend with us over the course of 12 months and they usually see 5 times the traffic! More visibility and less cost!
Sound too good to be true? Not necessarily. We encourage all potential clients to call us and visit with us about our approach to organic placement and how we’ve helped over 10,000 clients get more visibility with less cost. We want to educate you on your options so you can make the best decision for you and your business going forward. We don’t “sell” anything here, our clients have chosen us to partner with them because we provide proven results, every time.
The reason your website does not rank as high as you would like is because your site is not optimized for the search engine spiders. They are confused about what you do and therefore do not “index” you properly. It is really just that simple. We have built a tool for you to test your site and see how the search engines see you. It emulates a search engine spider coming to your site and scores you on how well your site is formatted. If you score poorly, you are not getting the traffic and subsequent sales you could be getting from your website and you are a perfect candidate for search engine optimization.
The major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are looking for relevance in your website for what you do and where you do it. The sites you see on the front page of the search engine now are deemed to be the most relevant by the search engine spiders. When your website lacks relevance, you lack natural search engine placement. Without relevance and placement, you resort to pay-per-click or sponsored link advertising to get the search engine traffic you so desperately need.
If you are currently paying for sponsored links in Google or Yahoo you are diving into a shallow pool sharing up to 20% of the traffic for the entire page. If you are not in the top two or three spots for your pay-per-click campaigns, you are seeing very little traffic to your site. Studies show that 80-85% of internet searchers click on natural listings on the left side of the page. There is an alternative to diving into the shallow end of the pool!
We will increase the overall relevance of your site and get you multiple first and second page placements on your most prominent keyword phrases. We offer several search engine optimization plans to fit your needs. Call us if you are serious about increasing your ranking, your traffic and your sales generated from your site. We have optimized over 40,000 websites for our clients. Trust the professionals with proven, guaranteed results!
FIRST: To understand Google Business Ranking you need to understand the concept of NAP (Name, Address, And Phone Number).
This is how Google identifies that different properties are talking about your site, and in turn how it decides to rank it. It is imperative that these be as consistent as possible.
For example generic NAP is
1112 Ivy Dr Charlotte, NC, 28211 704-555-1212
Notice how, instead of typing out Drive I just put Dr. You want to be as specific with those details as possible.
Ok so now that you have your NAP you are going to want to make sure it is visible on your website. Depending upon the layout of your website this will generally go in the footer or sidebar.
The next step to optimizing your website is to have a Google Map embedded somewhere on your site. To do this you go to http://google.com/maps search for the address of your business, click Share, then click Embed the copy the embed code and place in a page on your website. (if you don’t know how to do an embed just google it)
The last step to optimizing your website for Google business ranking is Schema. Schema is a complex topic and could be a course unto itself so I am not going to dig to deeply into here. Essentially you want to use the local business schema type that identifies to Google that your site is a local business.
Here is a sample template, below, you can use just plug in the appropriate information for your business and paste this in your site above the tag.
That’s about it for your site! Its really not that much and should only take a few minutes.
Google My Business Setup
This is the most important thing to get right. Nothing else will work if this isn’t done properly. Don’t let that scare you though there isn’t a ton to it. To sign up for Google my business is a fairly simple process. Go to https://google.com/business
Sign up with the Google Account you want to use with it. Follow the steps and add your business (it is very straight forward but if you need help Google can walk you through it). Once you enter your business information (remember to make sure you use the exact NAP you will be using throughout your campaign) Google will send you a verification postcard in the mail with a code on it. Come back, input the code and your business will be verified with Google.
Now on to the important stuff to rank in Google Maps.
Once you get signed up and verified you will have a dashboard available. You’ll notice a few key things.
At the top have the exact NAP I mentioned earlier. I can’t stress this point enough that those have to be consistent.
You will also notice that I have my category listed as “Internet Marketing Service” (or whatever the service is) you want to get as close as possible to your type of business when you are picking this during setup.
The last thing we want to do here is to upload as many images as GMB will allow you (I phrase it that way because the amount changes pretty regularly).
Before uploading the pictures however you want to geo-tag them. Essentially this means that you are going to alter the properties of the image so that Google knows what business it belongs.
There are a number of ways to do this but the easiest one I have found is to go to http://geotag.online sign up for a free account and use it to geo-tag your images. All you have to to is enter in the address, and upload the images. It will then geo-tag them and give you a .zip file with your newly tagged images. You can do up to 20 at a time. This is by far the easiest method I have found for geo-tagging.
That’s about it for step #1! It seems like a lot but you should really be able to knock out most of this in a couple of hours work and this is, by far the most tedious part of ranking in Google Maps.
A citation is any site other than you own that has your NAP and a link back to your website. These build a network of powerful sites that tell Google that you have a legitimate business that deserves attention.
When I say foundational I mean citations that everyone should have regardless of what type of business you have. These include sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and YP.com
I suggest everyone go through and create these for yourself at least once but after that it is best to outsource them as it is a long and tedious process and one you can’t afford to get wrong if you want to rank in Google maps.
To outsource them you simply sign up for one of our plans.
Give us your business information and we can take care of the rest. This way you know you have someone that is trained and experienced in citation creation handling this for you and you can move on to other things. It is worth mentioning that you should use this service for the next step.
The trick to leveraging the power of citations is to first make sure you have the foundational citations, then find out what other citations the top 3 sites have and get as many of them for your site as possible. The easiest way to do this is to use a tool called http://whitespark.ca
What this will do is allow you to enter in the keyword you are wanting to rank for: Click Search and wait for it to finish and it will pull up the top Google map listing results.
You can see if found my results along with top competitors. If it didn’t pull your sites result it will let you audit your specific business as well. From here click on view sources on your competitors From there you compare it to the citations you have and just create the ones that you are missing. You can either create them yourself or have a plan like we have going.
Google Custom Maps is a powerful technique to rank in Google Maps it will also help your site with organic rankings, video & image rankings, and they will even rank in their own right. I am not going to go into a step by step tutorial on this as there are plenty of videos out there on this but essentially you go to https://www.google.com/maps/ click Create A New Map give it a name with your keyword or a variation of your keyword.
Put in your address and a description and save it. Also you want to make sure you make it public.
That probably sounds a bit complicated but it’s really not. It is time consuming however. And to take full advantage of this you are going to need about 100 – 130 of these. The best thing to do is to have someone do them for you. This service works really well and I strongly urge you to get it. This is a really powerful ranking tool and can really give you an edge on competitors that aren’t familiar with this technique.
Google reviews are also an important ranking factor. The number in parenthesis is the number or Google reviews each site has. It is important to have at least 5 (this is when the stars will appear) and more than your competitors.
You can get these through a variety of methods.
Ask your clients/customers to leave you a review. This is easy enough to ask; but getting them to follow through can be a challenge. Follow up is the key.
Ask friends and family to fill them out. – This is ok but Google doesn’t make this process as easy to do as it should and less savvy people will struggle with it. And it may get your reviews or your profile banned if they are deemed fake.
Get a service that specializes specifically in this to do it for you. I have only ever found one service that creates these in a believable way, and that makes reviews that actually stick. If you are having trouble getting reviews then I urge you to check out our Reputation Management program.
This is probably the easiest step but it is also the most expensive.
What I mean by local authority sites is things like your local Chamber Of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, donating to local charities that give you a link on their site, and any professional organizations that the site may be a part of (for example if it is a lawyer you can get a link from the state bar organization) and so on. Most of these are pretty costly but they hit like a truck and are well worth the investment.
Guest posts on high authority sites can be one of the most powerful way to rank you site in the organic search listings. But they also play a big role when you want to rank in Google Maps.
The key to leveraging Guest posts to rank in Google maps is to use exact match anchor texts. If you have relationships with other blogs etc, you can do this yourself but this can be time consuming. This is part of the service that we offer if you would like for us to do this for you.
The next how to rank in Google Maps factor is Google Map embeds. This is one of the easiest steps to accomplish but it packs a nice punch.
Earlier I showed you how to embed a map on your website; well this works the same way. Go to Google Maps to retrieve the embed code for your business. Then create posts on web 2.0s using your keyword as the title, include a link to your map with the NAP as the anchor text, and embed your map. This is extremely potent and can often give you the last nudge you need to get to the top of the map listings.
You can take the time to do this yourself or you can ask us for help!
This final step is a relatively new method but one that has produced incredible results so far.
It is a fairly intricate process that involves creating an optimized Google Map, embedding geo-tagged images, doing a Google entity stack, and adding a domain authority stack.
Its an elaborate and intricate process and if you do it wrong it can be harmful… but it is generally the last piece of the puzzle to push you up to the top of the map listing.
There you have it! A complete A – Z road-map on how to rank in Google Maps! I know that it probably sounds like a lot but you should be able to finish this process in a few weeks if you really focus on it.
If your particular situation is unique or you have done the whole process as described and you still aren’t ranking, or if you just need clarification on something please ask.