Google Maps marketing and local SEO have become the essence to highly-targeting advertising exposure for all types of businesses. In August of 2015, Google made a significant change to its local search platform, impacting both users and Internet marketers.
This change resulted in Google showing only 3 business listings in the local search results instead of 7. These listings, which are associated with Google Maps and appear near the top of the search results, were trimmed-down to provide a more fluid search experience for mobile users.
As a result of this change, businesses present in the "3-pack" listings are rewarded with highly-valuable exposure. In some cities, this exposure is literally a marketing game-changer, helping to generate a wealth of quality traffic and new customers to a business. It's also made Google Ads far more appealing, as new features with Google Ads enables businesses to have an ad show in the 3-pack, as well as above the 3-pack, making for a very powerful means for local search marketing. And because this feature is relatively easy to implement, most business owners can internal marketing teams can execute these features with proper training (see Yisoo for more.)
This has made Google Maps marketing and local SEO an important component to any business's growth. While there are many company's that specialize in Google Maps marketing services, such as Captivate Local, there are many things that business owners and internal marketing teams can do in-house. Below are a few tips to help get your business appearing in the Google local 3-pack.
In order to rank in the Google local 3-pack, your business must have physical address in its target location. Further, maintaining a local address is a search engine factor for local SEO. The closer your business is located to the centermost point in the city or target location, the greater potential it will have to rank.
Next to your business's website, its GMB is the next most important asset for Google Maps marketing and local SEO. Your GMB page is the hub that affects your company's presence in Google Search, Maps, and Google Plus.
To properly establish your GMB page for local SEO, you will need to:
Your business's Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) must be consistent with that mentioned on your website. In addition to your website, your business's NAP must appear consistently across the web, commonly on directory listings and social media profiles.
Also known as "citations," mentions of your company's NAP is signal Google uses to determine the legitimacy of businesses, and thus their worthiness to rank in the local 3-pack. While this is just one of many variables that impact local SEO and Google Maps marketing, it's one of the most important.
In addition to accurate NAP information, your website should also have a Google Maps embed of your business's location. You can get the iframe code for this embed by searching your full NAP in Google Maps, then selecting the "Share" option where you choose from different size maps. Sometimes referred to as "map pinning," this technique can help boost the SEO value of your website.
Most businesses offer different types of products and services. When it comes to local SEO best practices, ensure that every product and service your company offers has a dedicated page with accurate and consistent information. This way you can properly optimize each page for the corresponding keywords that reflect each product/service (rather then trying to over-optimize one page for many.)
Specific to Google Maps marketing and local SEO, citations can dramatically help increase your business's ranking potential in the 3-pack. If you are able to build or earn citations on both global and local directories (as well as other trusted sites,) then you can significantly increase SEO value. Citations help increase the credibility of your business and website. Some tips when building citations include:
Google places reviews as an important search engine ranking factor. Although there's mixed debate as to how to go about getting reviews, you can still ask and solicit positive reviews from happy customers. While you can do this bluntly, some of the most effective review generation strategies require some level of creativity (i.e. post-purchase "review us" cards, incentives, mobile integration, etc.)
Many local business owners and internal marketing teams have found local SEO and Google Maps marketing to a perplexing endeavor. The most prominent reason is the inability to keep up with the latest best practice and news surrounding Google's Webmaster Guidelines. In short, applying these local SEO best practices in your Google Maps marketing campaign will provide valuable advertising for many years to come.