When SEO’s and Internet marketers hear about Google Maps SEO, most immediately turn to the local 3 pack listings. No doubt, the local 3 pack is the most valuable and highly-sought means of search exposure for locally-focused entities. But many professionals in the search marketing community remain stumped as to going about optimizing for these listings.
Reserved for only three of the most relevant businesses (depending on the search query,) Google Maps SEO and 3 pack optimization has exploded as bee’s knees to increasing search visibility. In this post, we discuss which factors influence Google Maps SEO and optimize each of these areas accordingly.
Even if your business’s website is 100% SEO-friendly and optimized with keyword-rich content, there’s one small detail that can dramatically influence your Google Maps SEO performance. This detail is your businesses citation, and it must be properly mentioned on your site.
In the local SEO context, a citation is a term that defines the mention of business’ Name, Address, and Phone number (otherwise acronymed “NAP” by the SEO community.) Your citation must be completely accurate and cited in that exact structure (see the example below of perfectly aligned citation.)
The citation above for Fidler on the Tooth, a top ranked dentist in Seattle, is located in the footer of the website. Because this citation is site-wide (on all pages of the website,) it can further help with SEO. Just know that any discrepancy or inaccuracies in the data and structure of you business’s citation can diminish your ranking potential.
Google My Business
When it comes to Google Maps SEO (especially the search rankings in the Google Maps interface/non 3 pack), your Google My Business (GMB) page is the most important asset next your website. This listing is a significant ranking factor in how/when Google ranks your business in both the 3 pack and ranked Google Maps results (with the latter placement being the most influenced by GMB.
As a result, it’s vital to claim, optimize, and verify your business’s GMB page accordingly. Follow some of these best practice tips on how to set-up your GMB listing in SEO-friendly fashion.
- First, search your business name and location to see if you already have a GMB page. If you do, you’ll want to claim it. If you don’t, establish a new GMB page.
- Next, populate your GMB page so that it’s 100% complete. This includes the minute details, like hours of operation, about summary, tagline, email, contact information, etc.
- Choose the most relevant categories for your business and make the primary category the most relevant (or aligned with your SEO keyword targets.)
- Define the areas in your business services (such as the names of nearby cities or towns that you serve, or a specific radius from your business’s address.)
- Include a link on your business’s website to your GMB page (ideally in the header, footer, or other site-side placement.)
- Lastly, make sure to verify your GMB listing (via phone verification or postcard submission.)
By taking care of these essential GMB elements, you can greatly boost your businesses potential to rank in both the 3 pack and Google Maps search results.
Customer reviews on your GMB page are subtle yet addressable Google Maps ranking factor. Although less impactful compared citations and GMB optimization, reviews can give some businesses a big edge, especially in competitive search markets.
For example, this dentist in Minnesota is dominating the competition with 100 customer reviews on his GMB page.
But how does a local dentist in a small Minnesota town earn so many 5-star patient reviews? It’s not by chance. This practice has established a creative review generation strategy that all local businesses can adopt.
Below is image of this dentist’s “Reviews” page in which he and his staff incentivize patients to visit and leave positive reviews on the practice’s GMB page, as well as other business listings. In addition to Google Maps SEO, acquiring favorable reviews also improves the company’s reputation (which can be a huge conversion rate booster for a dentist.)
While there is more to Google Maps SEO then what you see here, these three tips will greatly help your business increase its ability to rank in both the 3 pack and the Google Maps search results.