How to Rank in the Google Map Pack
by Jason Suli
Local SEO isn’t only a way for small businesses to get visibility ahead of more prominent competitors. It is about producing highly-qualified leads from an individual in your close area who are close to making a buying decision. It’s also one of the efficient methods you’ve got for driving in-store visits from online search.
The internet is getting more flooded as it continuously expands. People are demanding more exact information because of the vast amount of information accessible to everyone. The great way to provide it to them is no other than on the local pack from Google My Business Local Listings with ranking your website.
Context is paramount, and one such parameter is geographical location. Where you are right now is a very critical aspect of search. It definitely wouldn’t be beneficial to anyone searching for a dentist if they have the address of a dental office that is two and half hours away.
No more than ever, the advent of smartphones capable of Geo-targeting search parameters based on your GPS location puts more emphasis on local listings as well. To make this happen, you should be showing up in the local pack results and Google Maps. Or else, you’ve got a concern. But before we learn the process, let’s quickly learn how Google listings work.
Local businesses utilize the “Google My Business” dashboard to organize their Google Maps listing that covers their reviews, photos, and description. Google search has something referred as “LOCAL PACK” that shows up in the search results every time there are relevant listings based on the query of the searcher.
The local pack can display a result of searching something in a particular location with or without adding keywords such as “near me” in the search queries. Without further delay, here are the ways on how you can rank in the Google Map pack.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING
Getting ranked high in the Google Places comes down to Google confirming that your business is genuine. It does this by identifying how often your business name, address and phone number (NAP) is listed or cited on the internet. It is the same as how backlinks serve for search engine optimization. The more you have, typically the better your search rankings will be.
Google My Business Listing is an easy and fast way to get your business out in front of clients in your area who need your products or services but might not be aware where to find you. Own studies of Google have shown that local search is starting to dominate the number of searches people make from any devices. Any business which prefers to compete should have a good understanding of their local listing and what they can perform to create their business simpler to find for prospect clients.
- Claim and Verify Your Google My Business Listing
The first thing you need to consider is if your business has been around for many years. Probabilities are that Google created a listing for your business without you realizing.
If searching how to maximize your local search results, the ideal place to begin is to visit Google My Business and check if your business has a listing. The odds are high that it will, and after you find it and link it to your Gmail account, you can begin optimizing it.
- Validate Your Information on Your Website
Even if you have verified and claimed your Google My Business Listing, you need to ensure that the data is right on each source Google pulls. Probably the most critical of these is your site.
Take some time and ensure that your business information on your website is correct and updated. Google’s listings, even after being optimized by hand are run by an algorithm. It crawls the internet to search for instances of your business’s name, address and phone number and may alter it without you knowing if it finds the data does not match what your listing already has.
- Add images
As perky as it may appear, Google My Business Place puts utmost importance on the quality and amount of photos your listing includes. Not to mention the increased chance that a user will click on a profile with pictures and logos to get a look at the place.
Make sure to take a few images of your business or find some from your Facebook page, which you feel best to embody your company that consists of a logo and upload them. After that, ensure you are prepared to do it again in the following four to six months.
- Respond to Reviews, Both Bad and Good
On top of frequent image updates, Google also emphasizes businesses, which respond to client post or reviews on their listing. If you have good reviews, drop a short note to thank the reviewers for their kind words. Do you have complaints, reports or questions? Don’t forget to apologize for their experience and share a phone number or email where they can talk the problem.
Take note: Not all reviews will be positive, and you can’t fix everyone’s problem; however, if Google notices you making an effort to respond to bad reviews, this can make a huge difference in your listing.
Getting links to your site is as crucial to Local SEO as it is with any other kind of SEO, and most of the same methods work here. It covers the necessity to publish valuable content for your audience to support to relevant influencers, a guest post in other blogs, and receive links on relevant resource listings.
Where to Get Local Citations?
- Data Aggregators
In most developed nations, Google has licensed existing databases to create its local business index instead of starting from scratch. In most cases, the licensors are the biggest traditional yellow pages firms in every market. In the US, the major licensors have been Factual, Localeze, Acxiom, and Infogroup.
- Consumer Directories
In your attempt to boost your online visibility, you will find yourself signing up to sites, which provide a local citation. Remember, Google My Business is a type of local citation; however, it deserves a spot of its own because of its influence on ranking on Google Map Pack.
Other sites allow you to make core structured citations for your local business store. One of the sought-after citation sites available is Yelp, a review site for dentists, apartments, hotels, restaurants and more. In a way, Yelp is the same to Google My Business. It allows customer leave reviews about the business. It is an excellent place to begin making an online presence.
- Local Directories
Citations from local directories also boost the credibility and authority of listed businesses. There may be business listing sites, which are famous for residents. Look out for listings on similar sites in the cities and towns where your business works.
- Industry Directories
As with inbound links, local citations from industry-relevant sites help establish the authority of your business. It also offers Google a sense of the kinds of keywords for which your store is relevant. Businesses with an optimized thumbprint on such directories stand a good chance of ranking in Google for industry terms rather than a business with a missing or messy thumbprint.
NAP – (NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER)
After you set up your Google My Business, you will like to get NAP citations. But what does NAP mean? NAP Stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. NAP accuracy is a crucial part of your local SEO. Anything, which lists your NAP is a citation.
Your NAP is your digital thumbprint – it is how Google knows that a site is mentioning your store as opposed to someone else’s. Simply put, the more times Google notices your thumbprint on trustworthy websites, the more confident Google that it is showing a trustworthy business in its search results.
Here is the information that should be present for every unique location:
- Name: Your name must reflect your business
- Phone Number – This must be a local number
- Email Address
- Link – Every location must have a distinctive landing page on your site
- Plus, your business hours!
To ensure your NAP is consistent, you can search for your business. Click to check what each listing of it looks. If the data is incorrect on a website, you can contact them and have it changed.
But why is this crucial? Keep in mind that having inconsistent and incorrect NAP can negatively affect your local SEO. If you have too many variations of your NAP disseminated around the web, particularly if few or most of those are out-of-date, this makes it difficult for customers and hence, Google to trust your information. Further, if Google thinks your information is unreliable, this could lower your local search ranking.
Getting your small business to get the best place in Google Maps local search is important, but it is not the only thing to concentrate. You still wish to consider about brand citations and backlinks – particularly from local, authoritative sources.
Much like SEO, Google makes use of business citations as a way to offer their searchers with the most appropriate businesses within the Google Place rankings. So, make sure you follow these tips mentioned above and watch your rankings advance.
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