Local SEO 2019 – How to Rank in Google Maps

– If you have a local business, then one of the single greatest marketing strategies available is showing up in the Google local maps, or a three-pack as it’s often called, when someone’s searching for a business just like yours. In fact, it’s the closest thing to a magic button that I’ve ever come across. Simply show up there, and get more calls, more clicks, more customers, and more sales and revenue for your business. That’s why in today’s video we’re talking all about local SEO, and how to show up in the Google Maps. Let’s get to it. Hey there, my name is Adam Erhart, modern marketing strategist, and welcome to the Modern Marketing Show, where we help you make marketing that matters.

So if you’re interested in learning about the latest and greatest marketing strategies, tools, tips, tricks and tactics, well you may want to consider subscribing. All right, so it’s no secret that SEO or search engine optimization is a fantastic way to get more calls, more clicks, and essentially more traffic to your business. I remember back when I first started my agency years and years ago, I basically focused almost entirely on SEO. Not just for my clients, but also for my own business, and it was responsible for massive, massive uptick, and a huge growth in business over a very short period of time. So, I’ve seen the power of SEO firsthand on just how much of an incredibly positive impact it can have on your business. Which is why I’m such a big proponent and advocate of it, and why I still recommend and offer it to clients.

Because again it really just has such a powerful impact on driving more traffic and customers to your business. But, SEO today isn’t like it used to be. In fact there’s been a lot of changes, and there’s gonna continue to be as we move forward and into years to come. But one of the biggest and most notable changes is essentially user behavior. Meaning, most of your customers are now searching from their mobile devices, and this is why things like the Google local maps, and the three pack as it’s called is so profoundly important. And essentially making sure that you’re doing everything in your power to optimize your business to show up in those top three results, especially when people are searching on their mobile devices. Now, I’m no mathematician or statistician, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that with over half of all searches taking place on mobile devices, and with the top three rankings getting somewhere between 38 and 49% of clicks, depending on which source you check, well it’s no secret then that those top three listings are prize position, and are gonna get a ton of business, right? It’s the old Pareto principle 80/20 rule.

Well, the top 20% of businesses are gonna get 80% of all the clicks, and therefore all the revenue opportunities. So how do you go about securing one of those rare, coveted and incredibly valuable top three rankings? Well that’s what this video is all about. So without further ado let’s dive into my five top tips on how to optimize your business for local SEO, so you can appear in the Google maps.

Now, tip number one is less of a tip and more of kind of a warning or an explanation of how all this stuff works. You see, over recent years, Google has been continuing to prioritize local listings, and essentially it’s kind of trending towards voice search. Meaning, a lot of people are asking their devices, asking Siri, asking Alexa, asking, oh Alexa is gonna start talking now. Alexa, stop. Yeesh. Anyways, so people are using these devices and essentially asking them for, where is a dentist near me? Or where is a restaurant near me? Or, where’s the closest chiropractor? Or things like that.

So as these voice searches increase and we’re seeing an upwards trend and rise in them, well as they’re gonna increase, Google is obviously going to continue prioritizing the results to give people what they want. So, this is one of the reasons that proximity is really important. Meaning, you do actually have to be kind of in the same city or same area as you’re trying to rank for. This is something that I’ve come across, and we’ve always tried to find little workarounds. We’re gonna touch on one in just a few points, but it is important to note that the closer you are to the area that you’re trying to serve, the better your results are going to be, at least in regards to the Google maps. That’s just one factor, right? So it doesn’t mean that even if you’re right next door to the person searching that you’re gonna appear first necessarily, because there’s a ton of other factors that come into it, which essentially is what we’re gonna cover now with our next tip.

All right, so tip number two is all about on-page optimization. And when we’re talking about on-page optimization, we’re actually not talking about your Google business listing at all. We’ll get to that in just a second. But rather we’re talking about your website, which is going to link to your Google business listing, and ideally your Google business listing is gonna link back to your website. And that’s why this is all connected and all important. So even while we’re not talking in this video about organic SEO, or organic search engine optimization rankings, meaning trying to rank your website in all the terms that are going to appear below the ads, below the maps, and essentially all the organic listings below, even though we’re not talking about that, your website and how it’s setup, and how it’s structured, and how it’s optimized is still incredibly important when appearing in the maps.

Now, by far the single most important tip when it comes to your website is making sure that your website is mobile responsive. What this means is that it’s gonna look good across all sorts of different screen sizes. Whether we’re talking about Apple or Android, or on a tablet, or whatever it is. It needs to look good, and in fact it should probably be designed for mobile first, and desktop second. Bit of a switch we’ve seen over the last couple years. Next, you want to make sure that you’re using those relevant keywords in regards to your business, the category you’re in, the city or province, or state, or country. Whatever it is, you want to make sure that you’re including those keywords in the URL ideally, the title if possible, the H1 tags, H2 tags.

All this kind of nerdy, techy stuff, that if you don’t know at least your web developer will know and you can make sure that you’re getting those proper keywords and relevant keywords put on the page. Now, when I mentioned categories there, what we’re talking about here is what category your business falls under. Could be something like chiropractic, or accounting, or law firm, or whatever it is. Essentially whatever category is gonna be described as your business, whatever somebody would be searching online for, you want to make sure to include that relevant keyword inside of your website. All right, the next thing that we have to talk about, and now is as good a time as any, is the NAP, and the nap stands for Name, Address and Phone number. And the thing that you have to remember when we’re talking about the NAP is consistency is key. Absolutely without a doubt, you need to make sure that the way that your business name, and your address and your phone number are written out stay the same across all of your profiles. Whether we’re talking about your online website, whether we’re talking about your Google business listing, or whether we’re talking about citations and directory links, which again we’re gonna talk about in just a second.

So, just how strict do you have to be when it comes to the NAP? And the answer is, very, very strict. Almost no exceptions apply where you can deviate from the standard way of writing out your business name, address and phone number. This needs to be the same all the time. So, take a bit of time ahead of time, that’s a lot of time, and really make sure that you’re ironing out exactly what you want to be called, how you want to describe your business address, and what format of phone number you’re gonna use right down to the brackets and dashes.

Once you’ve got this all ironed out, and seeing as we’re still talking about on-page optimization for your website, one of the best places that you can put this information is right in the footer of your website. The beauty here is that it’s gonna appear across all the different pages, and really send a ton of good quality signals back to Google, letting them know that your business is indeed local, and is located in the area that you say it is. All right, so one quick question that people always ask is, what do I do if I have multiple locations, or we serve a wide area? And the answer here is, location specific pages on your website. Let’s use Vancouver as an example. Let’s say that your business is located right in Vancouver, but you also serve north Vancouver, west Vancouver, maybe Surrey, maybe Langley and maybe Burnaby as well. Well what you would want to do is you would want to have each one of these have their own dedicated location pages.

You’d want to make sure to reference them on your homepage, and then link to those dedicated location pages throughout your site. This is gonna give enough of a signal back to Google that you should hopefully be able to appear in some searches, even though it may not be enough to appear in the Google local maps. All right, moving on, tip number three is all about Google business optimization. And this is where the rubber really hits the road. After all, this is going to be the actual listing that appears inside of those Google maps. This is gonna be the thing that you really want to make sure is optimized and setup correctly.

Fortunately setting this up is actually not too complicated. There are a few gotchas though, so we’ll make sure to cover them now. For starters, remember the NAP, right? That name, address and phone number, and make sure that whatever you’re inputting into your Google business page is identical to what you want to call and reference your business on your website, and your business cards, and any other kind of marketing material you use. Also, we talked about what category your business fell under, whether it was chiropractic or accounting, or a law firm, or whatever it is. Well, now’s your opportunity to input that category right into Google Business as well, which is gonna allow you to appear when someone’s typing in that search term. You also have the opportunity to type in other categories, but make sure they’re relevant, and make sure they’re something that your business actually offers.

After all there’s no point appearing for terms that you don’t offer or have no interest in doing. From there, it’s really just a fill in the blanks type of exercise. You’ll want to add your business hours, your services, where you offer your services to, and whether clients come to you or whether you go to them. And all the usual things like that. Now where you’re really gonna want to spend a little bit of extra time is in your business description, because this is going to be essentially describing to Google, and of course to your customers, what your business does, where it’s located, who you serve, what you offer, all of that stuff.

So, really take some time to carve out a truly professional and accurate, and search engine optimized description for your business. This means including relevant keywords about your business, the type of category that you’re in, the service area that you offer, and all the services that you provide. Next, your Google business page has a lot of space for photos, and you don’t want to neglect this. So make sure to upload a ton of photos of the interior of your business, the exterior of your business, people at work, the videos if you have any, and also branding images like logos, things like that.

Hmm, am I missing any? Interior, exterior. Ah yes, your team. So, pictures of you and your staff members, and any other team members you have. Make sure to upload as many pictures as possible. Now here’s a little bit of an insiders hack. What you want to do here is you want to label the pictures again with your business name, the category that you’re in, the city or province, or state or whatever it is that you’re living in and trying to serve.

And make sure to include all of that inside the picture name, because these are gonna provide valuable cues to Google about you and your business. If you want to get super, super nerdy here you can also use something called geo-tagging, which we’re not gonna get into right now. But if you type in geo-tag photos just into Google, you’ll find a number of services available that’ll allow you to upload a photo to them, and then actually map imprint the location of the photo. Again, just one more cue to Google. We’ve had pretty good success with it though, so if you don’t mind a little bit of the tech stuff, might be worth trying. All right, so we’re almost done optimizing your Google business listing, but there’s two more things we need to cover.

Number one is you’re going to want to try to get as many reviews as possible. Not just any reviews, five star reviews. This means being very selective about who you’re trying to get the reviews from, making sure they’ve had a positive experience, and then encouraging them to leave a review. Now, getting Google reviews isn’t quite as easy as many other services. Because people are gonna need to have a Google account, meaning a Gmail address or something like that. So, if you can find these people, you can encourage them to get a review, and you can get that five star review, it’s gonna be a good boost for your rankings.

Lastly, Google Business is gonna give you an opportunity to write new posts, talk about events, essentially just use their platform like they want you to use it. And my recommendation here is to do so, by creating a post or an event, or something like that at least once every seven days. Which again will show that you’re actively involved in the business.

All right, so now that we’ve got all that taken care of it’s time to move onto our next tip, which is all about citations. Now fortunately we already talked about the NAP, that name, address and phone number. And this is where it’s gonna become more important than ever, because what we’re doing with citations is we’re going out and we’re creating kind of mini-links or citations really of your business on different website that are gonna link back and essentially show that this is where your business is, and provide more authority. Maybe even drive some traffic. Now when it comes to collecting citations, there’s three steps you want to take. Number one is by far the most important, and that’s to make sure that you’re being consistent. Again, name, address and phone number. The next thing is you want to find any citations you may already have, and correct any inconsistencies.

This means finding out if maybe your name was misspelled, or maybe your address was formatted in a different way. Or maybe it doesn’t even include your phone number at all. You’re gonna want to take some time to go out there and correct these citations, because bad citations are gonna kinda cancel out some of your good citations. And in the end, it’s about good citations and really getting as many as you can that move the needle. And that’s pretty much our third point. You’re going to want to get as many citations as you possibly can, especially relevant citations. Meaning, ones that are on the major sites like Yellow Pages, or Yelp, Facebook, YouTube, that type of thing.

All those count as citation links back to your site. But also maybe some niche ones, or ones that are in your local market. Do some research and find out what your competitors have that you don’t, and go about acquiring all of them. If all that sounds completely foreign to you and you don’t even know where to start, great resources available. My choice is Whitespark. They offer a citation service as well as some research tools that you can use, no affiliate link, just check them out. And the last thing that we need to cover here is backlinks. And, backlinks are essentially links that you’re gonna get back from different website. Super original, right? Now unlike citations, we’re gonna try and get pretty much as many as you possibly can. Backlinks you do want to be selective about. Gone are the days of spamming your site with tens of thousands of backlinks from all over the world, all of which are gonna negatively impact your search engine optimization rankings, and really tank your site.

So, you want to be careful, and you want to opt for quality over quantity. So, where’s a good spot to start? Well, there’s a couple here that are just proven optimizers for search engine optimization. Number one is the Better Business Bureau. Again, a massively powerful site with a powerful backlink. If you can get one of these and have it pointed to your website, fantastic. Number two is any local chamber of commerce, or business organizations or anything like that in your local area. Again, these tend to have a ton of clout and a ton of power. And again, they signify both relevance and power. So you’re gonna get that real good boost to your website. Lastly, there are a ton of local directory links, I know that are in your area that you can reach out to and possibly get a backlink from. You may need to offer one in exchange. Not too negative, but obviously it’s gonna be best if you can just get most of them coming into your site.

Because that’s gonna provide more of an authority signal to Google, and really help to boost your rankings. Now, when it comes to, where should you be sending these links, and what should you be linking to? Whether we’re talking about linking to your website or linking to your Google business listing, my recommendation is to prioritize your website, but if you can also get a link to your Google business listing, that’s good as well as a secondary measure. But again, prioritize your websites, send as much power there, and then make sure from your website you’re linking to your Google business listing. I know it sounds a little bit complicated, but in the end this is the best way to kind of flow link juice all the way through your network, and boost all your properties at once. All right, so there you have it. Now for some of you this is gonna be more than enough to get you started and well on your way increasing your local search engine optimization, and ranking in those local maps. But, if you’d like some additional support and someone to handle this for you, I’ll make sure to link up my agency in the description below, so we can take it off your plate if that’s something you want to have a chat about.

All right, so thanks so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed the episode. If so, make sure to give it a thumbs up. Subscribe to the channel and say hello in the comment section below. Also, I’ll make sure to link up a couple other great videos right here on the screen for you to check out that’ll really help to take your business and your marketing results to the next level, and way beyond that.

All right so thanks so much for watching, and I’ll catch you next time on the Modern Marketing Show. .

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