Google map rankings attracting more customers artwork

Google map rankings starter guide

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There is a bar to entry if you want to set up a Google map listing for your business. First, the Google My Business interface is confusing – setting up a map listing requires a number of steps that even experts need hours to set up completely. After setup, getting your map verified (so that it can be seen by the public) requires having a physical postcard delivered to your address several weeks after you apply. The reward for those who manage is a map listing that doesn’t actually show up on any searches relevant to your business.

Imagine4D solves these issues with our trio of Google My Business map ranking packages. However, for those wanting to rank their map listings in-house, this guide will highlight the steps you should work through.

Important map ranking variables

“Ranking” refers to where your business appears in search results when someone searches for a keyword you are targeting. Note that search results depend on location. A user from London would see different results than a user in New York, if they search for the term “emergency plumber”.

Also, not all searches yield map results. In the first screenshot below, a Dallas based user search for ‘Italian food’ has a map at the top of the search results. Beneath the map are 3 “ranked” listings, in a spot called the 3-pack. However, a search from the same user for the term ‘cheesy pizza’ shows organic, image and video results, but no maps.

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Map ranking terminology

As you prepare a map ranking campaign, the following terminology is important.[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”27311″ style_type=”none” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”center” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” alt=”” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]https://www.imagine4d.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/italian-food-search-details.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text][fusion_checklist icon=”fa-arrow-right” iconcolor=”” circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”16px” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=””][fusion_li_item icon=””]

3-pack rankings: high visibility placements that show up at the top of first page searches directly under a map.

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Map rankings: a numbered placement on the dedicated maps search page of Google. Map rankings are all on a single page, usually with less than 20 listings total.

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Organic rankings: old-fashioned organic rankings will earn your SEO company thousands of dollars per month, while pitting you against thousands of competitors also spending thousands.

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Essential map ranking factors

Moz has a great breakdown of all relevant map ranking factors. While the total recipe is incredibly complex, there are fortunately a number of easy optimizations. Small businesses can apply the following techniques that will put them on the same footing as large large corporations and chain companies.

#To-do checklistDetails
1Verify business detailsMake sure that your listing is complete, with accurate contact information, address, phone number, operating hours and website.
2Use a local phone numberToll-free (800 and 877) numbers are often used for spam, while local numbers show Google that your business is an actual brick and mortar location in the area.
3Categorize listingMost people don't know that you can add five additional categories to your main category. Make use of all of these. Make the primary category the main classification of your business (lawyer, landscaping, nail salon etc). The remaining categories should use sub-niches. For example, a lawyer's sub-categories might be divorce law, family law, litigation law, criminal law etc.
4Optimize listing descriptionIn the business description, include local SEO keywords that describe your business. For example, instead of “great restaurant offering quality service” write “The best Italian restaurant in Dallas".
5Upload geo-tagged imagesA simple but powerful job that every business owner can do in-house. First, collect 10-15 original photos of your business (pictures of your shopfront are more effective than product photos). Second, geo-tag your images using this free tool. It will embedd your map coordinates and keyword optimised metadata of your choice in each image. Finally, upload the geo-tagged versions to your map listing - every time the photos are accessed, Google receives an engagement signal from your business.
6Embed map on websiteAn easy way to get a fast rankings bump is to embed your Google map on your website. Most businesses embed their map onto their contact page, along with their NAP written as text. This verifies to Google that your business listing is legitimate.
7Get Google reviewsUser reviews add a powerful trustworthiness dimension to a business. Listings without reviews look dubious, while those with many are ranked higher by Google. Most businesses can easily get a reviews program started by asking for help from their most loyal customers.
8Branded Youtube channelGoogle My Business allows integration of branded Youtube and G+ accounts. On Youtube you should set up a branded channel; verifiy and optimize; produce at least one video for branding and ranking purposes.
9Branded Google PlusA branded G+ account will re-post all of your Youtube videos. You can also manually re-post links to individual user reviews. We also suggest using your G+ for monthly long-form articles - write something original about your company and pack it with relevant links (to your website, map listing, etc).
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