What is map optimisation? It is the process of trying to get your client to rank in the map pack on google. The reason that this is important is because it drives a lot of leads to local service businesses and can have a meaningful impact on their profit very quickly. This is especially true on time sensitive terms such as ‘emergency locksmith + location’ or ‘emergency plumber + location’ where your client may charge triple their normal rate, so ranking in maps quickly can help build trust with new clients.
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GMB Set up
First of all you may need to set up a new gmail account which you can do here and from there you need to go here to begin to set up your google my profile. From here you want to ensure that you fill out the details exactly as you have them on your website, for example if on your website you refer to your company name with .LTD at the end do the same here. This is important as google is looking for consistency, so again double check everything is exactly the same.
You will then have to verify your address, to do this they will send a postcard to your business location with a code on it to verify your location. If you run your business from home or travel to clients opposed to having a storefront you have the option of hiding your address and using a service area instead.
Once your GMB has been verified you will have already selected your main category e.g. a plumber but you will also be able to select subcategories as well. These are an important map ranking factor. You want to make sure that the subcategories you choose are relevant so for a builder it may include subcategories such as:
You need to talk with your client and see what they offer then see if there is a relevant subcategory that you can select. Often just adding a subcategory will rank you on the maps for that term (probably not on the 3 pack but when you click view more).
From here once you have found out the services which have relevant subcategories I would usually build out an individual page for each, which acts as a trust signal to google that you are choosing relevant services in your GMB.
This is something that I was told to do by another SEO who does a lot of local client work and has been working fantastically. So when searching for the service name and location in google a lot of people will have further modifiers at the end. So a few examples of this could be:
Best builder London
Review of builders London
Free quote builder London
Etc. so from here you will google these to see if they result in the 3 pack listing showing, if they do you want to include these in your H2 or H3 tags. You don’t want to use the exact term you just want to include the modifier somewhere, so an example of this could be <H2>Voted best builders 2018</H2>. Because this includes review you have more chance of ranking in the map pack for this term because the page looks more relevant to the search term to google than if it wasn’t included.
As previously mentioned citations are website which include your Name Address and Phone number. Another word these are often referred to online and in forums are directories. When building these out I typically don’t go for sheer number of citations I prefer to go for more niche and local relevance. You can do this through searching things like:
Location + directory
Niche + directory
Location + submit site
Niche + submit site
Location + company listings
Niche + company listings
Again I start out more conservative building out maybe 20 then seeing how it reacts rather than starting out straight away with packs of 75 like some people will do.
If possible outsource these to a trustworthy VA providing explicit instructions to make sure that all the details remain the same. I will usually provide the business details in a spreadsheet for them and they will send back the citations with logins / passwords and any extra details I may need to know. Again if this is something that you end up doing a lot create SOPs so that if you get a new VA they can follow these and quickly be up to speed with the process.
Going from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating gets a business 25% more clicks from Google Local Pack
Having good reviews can be a form of reputation management, these can be faked but a lot of the time if the business owner actually asks their customers they will happily provide reviews. With reviews I try to make sure that they aren’t done all at once so it looks more natural, you don’t need hundreds of reviews. When looking for local services people often will read the reviews so it can increase the amount of phone calls / enquiries especially if there are detailed and include pictures and the person has reviewed other companies etc.
I also embed the GMB map into the footer of the website normally along with the full NAP of the business. Again I’m not totally sure on the impact this has but a SEOs I talk to also do it and I can’t see there being any negative effect of doing so.
There are some differences when doing multiple locations – if this is something you would like to have covered please get in contact and I will update this page.
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