Google Maps has now become essential for all the local organizations. Google Maps Optimization is one of the important parts of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that includes altering or arranging the entrance of Google Map so that a website receives more traffic.
As compared to most of the SEO tactics that are based on on-page optimization, Google Maps optimization is a completely off-page optimization technique. Gone are the days when people relied on Yellow Pages for getting information regarding local services and businesses.
Nowadays, the relevant data is easily available on Google Map that provides detailed information, maps, and local list.
Significance Of Google Maps Optimization
Small business SEO services are aware that Google Maps optimization is highly essential in today’s scenario. It not only helps in improving consumer awareness about a particular business but also increases traffic to your website.
It is particularly more beneficial for small business organizations and entrepreneurs as it gives the customers the exact details about the location of a shop or a store in the city. That is why small businesses should always aim for getting a decent rank on Google Map as it increases visibility in the search engine results and offers better local activity.
Importantly, users keep on clicking everywhere and hence they go through multiple options and then choose. So, every business needs to have a tailor-made optimization and marketing approach as just one type of campaign will not suit all.
And for this, you must focus on building customized SEO campaign using Google Maps Optimization techniques. It will provide you the most personalized and relevant results to your users thereby improving traffic to your site.
Focusing on Local SEO
For Google Maps Optimization the priority is focusing on local SEO so that the details about your business/services are at the top in the Google Map index and also on other sites that provide information about local businesses and services.
With the increase in the number of users searching on mobile, the importance of local SEO has grown manifold in the past few years. In more than 10 countries mobile searches have already crossed the desktop browsing. And in the years to come, mobile devices will be mostly used for the searches.
So it is high time that businesses prepare themselves for this new change and update their local SEO. Studies suggest that search results based on proximity are more popular nowadays. So how do you start with your Global Maps optimization?
- Google Places Optimization
Google is the most dominating search engine. So, it should be a top priority. Since it dominates both local and Web search field, you should list your business first with Google and its Local Business Center.
Local Search Optimization will ensure that the consumers easily gain details about your physical location. Moreover, it also increases search results for the business giving you an edge in the competition.
After establishing an accurate online presence on Google, professional SEO services move on to building local listing on other important search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. Despite Google being the largest search engine with around 75 to 85% market share, lately, the other search engines are also gaining popularity.
So you must also focus on them. But the priority should be always Google. As you create a website for your company and promote its presence online with different SEO techniques, you need a lot of patience to get a good amount of traffic.
But the first step is making your online presence strong by using Google Places. Check results for local services on Google. What do you see? You see that the Google Places listings are always at the top of all the search results.
It means Google Place listings appear even before the standard results making your listing on it all the more important.
- Keep Your NAP Consistent
NAP stands for three important details of your business. It includes name, address and your phone number along with area code. Some people also add their website address to NAP and can make it NAP +W.
NAP is an important factor of Google Maps optimization because a local customer can only find you if all these details are accessible to him. It is especially true for the older generation, who is more interested in getting the phone details and talking to the service provider personally.
However, it seems awareness about local SEO is still quite low. A survey by ConstantContact revealed that 49% business owners do not give any importance to updating their NAP details online.
The 2015 survey of Moz revealed that accuracy and presence of NAP is an essential factor when it comes to rankings on local search engine. On the other hand, mismatched citations of NAP have been one of the major issues (41%) that have caused low rankings.
That is why SEO services always give importance to NAP while planning Google Maps optimization.
Setting Up NAP
For setting up NAP first you need to complete the NAP details in HTML text format in the footer of the website as it is easily crawlable. It is also because most of the website users expect to find these details at the bottom of your webpage.
Make sure that you keep the NAP format in HTML text. Avoid including the information in an image format as it is not crawlable for the search engines. It is very much important to take care of NAP format to get credit from the Google My Business.
So how should you write details about your phone number, email address, and business category? Here are a few steps to do that:
- Always ensure that the public email address you provide should not be generic like Gmail. Instead be particular to use the email address of your business domain. Also, make sure that you use your business domain email in Google My Business listing for login.
- It will give your business more credibility and will send across the message that you are surely the business owner.
- The phone number you are using for NAP should not be a -800 number. Always use number with local area code for establishing the fact that you are locally available.
- While giving details about your business, the words should describe what your business is exactly about and not what you do
- If you already have listed in the Google My Business listing your business description, then you can make changes to it from the dashboard.
Local SEO Audit
Top SEO services always conduct local SEO audit that includes research on local citations, listings of Google Business My Page, social media presence and more.
If you find doing a thorough analysis daunting, you can always conduct at least an analysis on consistency and NAP accuracy. Make sure that every local citation aligns perfectly everywhere. Similarly, the format in which the business address has been mentioned should remain the same everywhere.
It is because even a little discrepancy in this can lead to a decline in your local authority on the search engine.
You must use schema.org local business markup as it helps Google and other search engines to easy find out the information that you have mentioned in the feed.
It is one of the best local SEO strategies as with the help of markup you can deliver a lot of information to the visitor including your phone, address, website address, operating hours as well as payment terms and types accepted.
Apart from NAP, customers always look out for more details such as your working hours and your prices. It is certainly of big importance when you are promoting your business locally. So, you must try to provide maximum details possible related to your business.
It will surely boost your SEO a bit and also improve your conversion rate.
Use At Least 250 Words
What should you write in the details apart from of course NAP? The best SEO service company prefers writing general details related to the business in at least 250 words. You can even make your Google My Business introduction of 400 words.
Make sure that you do not copy or rewrite the introduction used by your competitors. Try to make it unique, creative and detailed so that your customer gets a complete idea about the business.
While writing an introduction for Google My Business listing, you can check out the bar of profile completeness placed at the top of the dashboard. You can add details up to 100% based on the recommendations it gives you.
In case, you do not have much time to come up with a unique business introduction, try using a paid tool such as Moz local. It makes your work much easier by distributing consistent and accurate business listings to topmost aggregators such as Neustar Localeze, Infogroup, Factual, Acxiom, and Foursquare.
Importantly, these aggregators also sent notifications for inaccurate spellings, updating the listings in the citations and even delete duplicate listings if any. For starting the Moz local all you have to do is just upload the location data in their template.
Another tool that can help you with checking the consistency and accuracy of NAP listings is Brightlocal. This particular tool also tracks the citations from your competitors.
- Build Business Credibility
All SEO consulting services are aware of the significance of building business credibility and power of building link. Be it a local service or a small business, it is important for every business. Apart from local citations of NAP, another thing that you require for building credibility is local reviews, both in quantity as well as in quality.
How to get good local reviews for business? It is a proven fact that good reviews can ensure that your business gains a prominent spot in search results with rich snippets. This, in turn, contributes to increasing your CTR.
A study shows that 90% customers were influenced by the positive reviews while making the buying decision. However, there is another side to it. Just as positive reviews can improve your business, negative reviews can greatly give your business growth a setback.
Similar to the influence of positive reviews on customers, around 86% consumers were influenced by the negative reviews and dropped their decision to purchase a product. So, it means you need to have more positive reviews to attract your customers.
How to do it? First, you must change your outlook about reviews. You cannot generate quality reviews in quantity at one time. It is an ongoing process and when the reviews build up on a continuous basis it will slowly start delivering great results.
For collecting reviews you have to choose the directory where you can get more reviews for the business. Each website offering such reviews has its own terms and conditions and you need to also check whether these websites allow soliciting reviews from the customers.
Big review sites such as Yelp do not allow you to ask the customers for reviews as they think it affects their integrity. However, you can complete the relevant formalities and get a presence on Yelp and then use Yelp badge on your site so that customers come to know about your presence on the site.
Search engines like Google are supportive in this matter and they rather encourage the business owners to ask their customers regarding feedback and reviews. So, one of the best ways to collect reviews is to remind your visitors to give feedback on Google on mobile or desktop.
It will surely help you to stand out among the sites that have fewer reviews.
Should You Buy Reviews? Buying reviews should be strictly avoided. Instead, you can place links in the following few places on your website:
- Remind your visitors on the About us page to check out reviews about you on the review sites.
- Add links to the listings in the footer or header of your website
- Add a couple of links to your email signature
- Entice your current customers to write reviews by offering discounts for posting positive reviews.
Another way to generate reviews is by hiring paid service such as Get Five Stars that send automated requests regarding feedback to the customers. It has a tie-up with 45 online review sites such as Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, and more.
- Creating Local Content
Similar to overall search rankings, backlinks also influence the local rankings. Customers certainly take into consideration your social media presence even if you are ready to provide them service locally. Rather, if you do not have a website, presence on social media can still do the purpose.
And the only solution to earning more backlinks is nothing but the proven old technique of content marketing. So if you want to create a dedicated local SEO campaign and pull it off efficiently start with creating local content.
Involving local press in your campaigning also helps a lot. Avoid overly stuffing local phrases in the content, but yes, include the name of your neighborhood, city or any milestone close to your business location in the content.
Another way to connect with the local customers is by including details related to the upcoming events in the locality. Start a blog post giving details about the local gatherings, happenings, and industry events.
Google Maps Optimization is primarily required to attract local customers. It is tough reaching the top position in the search engines for a local business, especially if you are a startup or a small business company.
That is why SEO marketing services rely on geo-targeting keywords and focusing their SEO implementations locally. In fact, these efforts have been found to rope in around 333% plus revenue.
It means that local SEO should play the most important role in the regular SEO campaign of a company. Using the above Google Maps Optimization techniques you can definitely improve your local presence and increase sales.