When speaking to clients, often they know about paid search ads and SEO for organic search results. But I am amazed how many are unaware that you can turn Google Maps (or the Google 3 pack) into your best and most reliable lead generation tool. And for good reason.
In 2017, Advanced Web Rankings released a study showing a whopping 47.79% of all search traffic went to the top 3 businesses listed in Google Maps. Making the Google 3 pack a must have for small businesses, but it is also the single fastest way to get on page one and start generating leads.
So How to Rank Your Business in the Google 3 Pack?
So now that we understand why ranking in the 3 pack of Google Maps is so important, let’s cover the how. We have researched and studied the best methods and streamlined them down to the top 7 areas that will have the best impact on your Google Maps ranking.
1. Fully Optimize your Google My Business (GMB)
So often I find businesses with incomplete information in their GMB profile. Skipping necessary information, providing the wrong information or worse yet, entering false information will only hurt your rankings. With that said, and taking this a step further, the simple advice is to FILL OUT EVERYTHING. The more you enter, the more Google will trust your business and give you that extra push to rank above everyone else. If you are in a competitive city or industry, you can guarantee your competitors are already doing this.
Name / Address / Phone Number (N.A.P.)
When first starting your GMB account, this is pretty easy. But often businesses will move down the street change phone numbers etc. Making sure that your business name, address, and phone number are exact matches (and always updated) is critical to your success. I will touch on the importance of having your N.A.P. data being an exact match later. Another important factor is using your main keyword in your business name. If your business name is John Smith LLC and you are a business consultant, your GMB should be John Smith LLC, Business Consultant. Many businesses miss this piece, doing this is an easy way to outrank most competitors.
Optimize Your Listing Description
Your description needs to be more than just listing out your services or pricing. Take your time and create a read-worthy high-level overview of who and what you are. Make sure you utilize the main keyword(s) you are targeting for your search results as well. As an example, if you are a roofer in the Dallas Texas market, use ‘Dallas Roofer’ somewhere in your description.
Within your GMB account, there are multiple categories for you to enter in information. Starting with your service areas, list each city or town that you service. Your business hours are also equally important. But the focus here is the services section. We recommend you perform your keyword research before completing this section. Once you have your targeted keywords, match your services with your list to optimize your GMB listing. If done correctly, users can quickly see what you do and call you directly from there!
We all know the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, this is no exception. Adding high-quality photos of your office, the work you do, your employees, and more all help with your rankings and engaging your audience. But did you know this little trick? By changing the file name of your photos, you can boost your rankings. Yup, in the world of local SEO even the file name of a photo can give you an advantage. As an example, if your business name is Smile Perfect Dentist and you are in Chicago, the file name of your lobby should be Smile Perfect Dentist Chicago IL Lobby. Naming photos with relevant keywords and the city/state can help your map ranking.
2. Build Niche and Local Related Citations
I mentioned earlier that having an exact match matters, and here is why. Let’s pretend our business name is Joe’s restaurant. I am going to guess that there are a ton of Joe’s restaurants in the U.S., so how does Google know which one is mine? You guessed it, by the name, address, and phone number. And if you happen to be in a city with a business that has a similar name standing out just got more complicated. Enter citations. A citation is listing your business on reputable listing websites. The more you have with exact matches, the easier it is for Google to find and rank your business.
Selecting the appropriate niche listing sites are equally important. Having a plumbing business listed on a travel-related listing website does your business no favors. While quantity does matter, for citations relevancy is more important. Anchor text, linking domain authority and linking domain quantity are all important factors when building your citations.
3. Embed a Google Map on Your Website
If you have not guessed it by now, Google loves it when you use their tools and resources. For that reason, embedding a google map view of your location on your website is a must. Add this to your contact us or about us page along with the exact name, address and phone number listed in your GMB profile. Even businesses without a physical address can do this, click here to learn how to embed a Google Map.
4. Get More Reviews!
If you did not know, profiles with reviews get more attention. We know that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends, but how does that impact Google Map rankings?
According to a recent study by Moz, review signals are the 3rd highest factor in local search and map rankings. Meaning, your local SEO and review management process is very important to your business. Standing out online is as simple as asking your clients for their feedback. Not only does this show your prospective clients that people love you, but it also shows both the client and Google that you are an engaged and trustworthy business.
5. Create Posts
I hope you have been paying attention, if Google has an outward facing tool…. use it. Utilizing the post feature within your GMB account is no exception. Not only is this a great way for users to see what special offers you have running or learn more about your business, but it can also help influence your Google Maps rankings. But don’t post just to post. Just like with any social media account, be smart with your messaging and be engaging. Your goal is to provide value with each of your messages and utilize yet another free tool to market your business.
6. Get a Press Release Written to Improve Your Google Maps Ranking
Early on, I referenced the importance of inbound links in both volume and domain authority. A great way to build up these links is from press releases. Doing this gets your business name listed on multiple news websites and, if well-written and newsworthy, can get you real high-quality links and social signals. Adding in press releases into your overall SEO strategy is well worth your time. You reach new clients quickly and help boost your online presence is a simple and effective manner.
Have you tried any of these tactics to help you rank higher on google maps? For some business owners, doing this themselves is part of running their day-to-day business operations. For many, this can be a difficult task. Having a partner that has the experience and knowledge to help you rank could be the difference between a good or great year. Contact us today, and we can help your business win in 2019.