3 tips to better optimize your local map listing in 2016
The new, 2016 Google local map listings have really effected calls and leads for the local businesses that once held a place in the “7 pack”. To be precise, 4 businesses in each service area, per service industry have had a massive loss in business that once stemmed from showing up in local search listings. The local maps algorithm change by Google has left those who are not SEO savvy scratching their heads wondering what they can do to get back on pace again. Or for new companies, how they can compete and break into the competitive local maps territory. There are many small SEO factors that can be done by someone who is not so SEO savvy, that can have a good impact on your company’s local Google map rankings. The foundational building blocks are always an essential must before advanced SEO techniques can be applied.
Just like on page optimization for a website, your personal Google+ profile for your business needs to be optimized to communicate exactly what your company and service are, to Google. Otherwise how will they know where to place you and how to rank you? This means all of your keywords must be carefully placed into your description content, in a natural flow that is readable and makes clear sense. For instance if you have a plumbing company in Chicago but service the Wicker Park area, “Wicker Park plumbing service” would be a great keyword phrase to have within your content. The likelihood of people in Chicago looking for a plumber searching this exact phrase is very high, opposed to a general “Chicago” plumbing search. Google is constantly being updated to learn our speech patterns to better serve those that search by Siri or talk text. It is imperative that you do not just jam your keywords just anywhere in your description content and your keyword phrases are carefully chosen as people would naturally search.
First let’s start with, what is a citation? Citations are directory listings such as Yelp, Manta, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, BBB, DexKnows etc. that list your company name, address and phone number, or NAP. It is imperative that your company is distributed amongst all of the top level and authoritative directories if you want the slightest chance of placing in Google’s local map listings. These citations basically act as backlinks do for organic website rankings. Essentially votes of authenticity that you are a real company. The key to citation creation is to not just create numerous accounts with your NAP and website URL. The key to creating effective citations is to have consistency among your listings. You want to be sure your NAP is exact to the way your company information shows up on your Google + dashboard. If everything here is overlooked, this is the one key factor that 100% can not be taken lightly. Along with this, you also want these local citations to have their description keyword optimized, as a lot of these can rank on the first page of Google on their own because of the directory site’s domain authority.
Don’t have the time to sit and create dozens of citation profiles? Email us for more information on our “done for you” citation service. We do it right the first time to ensure real results, not only creating your citations but also boosting them for faster indexing.
Ok so you have a great looking, fully optimized Google local business page and you have a small army of correctly done citations supporting you. Now what? Ratings and reviews by REAL users! Your ratings carry a lot of weight in Google’s decision to position you before another company, especially if that company is already ranking highly and rated highly. Google’s number #1 objective is to recommend the best possible information to its users, so it’s only natural that they will rank the companies with the best user reviews to the top. So let’s go create a few gmail accounts and get those reviews going, right? WRONG! Google is keen to every tactic in the book when it comes to fake reviews and this will only make it harder to recover and rank when they catch on and penalize your company map listing. Organic local map optimization is the key here and as a fact, Google gives far more weight to aged gmail accounts. This means real customers and real reviews. Now you may have known that reviews and rating will bump you but, the big take away here is aged Google accounts. The Google + account that review and rating comes from is huge. Age is critical however so are profile factors. Do they have a profile picture? Do they have a cover photo? Are these real or stock photos? Is their profile filled out? These factors can determine the power a single review has on your site, so ensuring real Google users review your company opposed to people signing up just to leave a review can mean all the difference.
We know reviews can be hard to come by. Typically the vocal few online are unhappy customers looking for a place to vent their frustration and those that are happy are silent. Next week we will be covering how to capture reviews and also a private platform that will allow you to make leaving reviews easier for your customers all while also boosting your own site with this review platform. Best of all, your competitor will never have access to this leveraging tactic.
Bonus Local Map Optimization Tip
Your Google business page allows pictures with descriptions and most importantly GEO location tagging. Be sure to leave a great, keyword description for each picture and enter your service location(s) to better associate your company with your service area(s).