Google Map Listings, who would have thought that a simple local listing would be so important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
The stats are mind boggling, according to Search Engine Land, Nearly 80 percent of local searches on a mobile device lead to a direct purchase within 24 hours. More than 1.1 billion people use Google search each month, making 114 billion searches. Google Maps is the most used smartphone app, employed by 54% of smartphone users. Of those purchases, 73 percent were done in a physical store, 16 percent by phone, and 11 percent online.
While many Google users are already qualified to buy, many are looking for a specific product or service with no particular business in mind.
Fantastic I hear you say..
So how do you get these buyers to come to my business? Well, the answer is pretty obvious yet critical to your success: make sure that your business in those search results!
Google Maps Listings
“But I’m just trying to run my business, I don’t know the first thing about getting in the search results!” you might say.
Google has been investing a lot of time and resources into localising the results and also providing tools for their local business users to update their listings. Now they are even providing tools to help you build a website. It’s called Google My Business (GMB). GMB creates a map listing for local searches, allows you to add photos, opening hours, blog posts and more.
More importantly you can optimise your listing to show the top three listings at the very top of those search results. These results are so relevant to the search that almost 50 percent of customers click on those top three listings.
It’s simple enough that even your competitors probably have maps and GMB set up. Fortunately for you, the majority of your competitors have rushed through creating it and did’t optimise their listing, or don’t know all of the ranking factors that go into it and end up seeing lackluster results because of it.
The biggest ranking factors for your GMB & Google map listings are:
An optimally-created GMB listing
And citations or mentions of your business NAP (name, address, phone number) in high-quality directories and websites.
I’ll show you exactly what I do to optimise a listing while getting some high-quality citations at the same time. By implementing an optimised GMB listing we have seen our clients increase their inbound google leads by over 300%. If that sounds good to you, then keep reading.
Create your new Google Business listing
The first thing that you’ll need to do is head over to Google.com/business, and sign up with your Gmail account.
After you’ve signed into your existing or new Gmail account, you’ll choose storefront if customers ever come to you. Otherwise, choose service area if you serve your customers at their location or online.
Go to Google Maps and enter your business address. Now copy the exact address that Google returns. The address that Google shows is now your address for everything to do with your business. This is very important—Google is about consistency between its knowledge base and your business info.
Now, you’ll need to select a category. Take a look at the available choices and then select the one that best reflects your business. Lastly, select whether you deliver goods or services to your customers at their location.
Once you click on “Continue”, Google will deliver a postcard with a verification number for your listing in a week, maybe two (it takes a while unfortunately). After you receive your postcard, you will be ready to verify and optimise your listing.
Optimise your new Google Business listing
It’s time to verify and describe your business. Your business description isn’t just about converting customers to click on your business; Google wants to see what your business is all about with as many descriptive words as you can fit.
Let’s get to it.
To verify, log in and then hit the “verify” option. Now, let’s take a look at the “Category” field. You should try to add at least two more categories that can describe your business. Next, enter hours of business.
After you enter the correct hours, move forward by creating a description of your business. You want to use words that are related to your main keyword or words that best describe you or your service. You don’t want to repeat your keywords here, so just explain it in a few sentences without re-using the names of your categories or any other info already provided, like your address.
This is a great place to link out to your Facebook page, YouTube account, or other related business properties.
That’s it for your description. Let’s move on to my favorite part: image optimisation!
Image optimisation and citations
Okay, here’s where most business owners would stop and call it good. Even lots of SEOs (Search Engine Optimisers) will skip this step and miss out on a ton of Google value.
Remember, a good description of your business is just the first step of the big picture. One of the biggest factors in getting your map listing ranked is through citations or mentions of your business NAP (remember: name, address, phone number) in high-quality directories and websites, which can also be done through images.
Google doesn’t view websites like humans do. It sends out bots to read a site, but they have trouble with images. You could have a super relevant and fancy image, but if it’s named Google has no idea what it’s about.
On the other hand, if you name your image “Berwick Wheels and Tyres” or “Best Builders Auckland” alongside relevant comments, your NAP, description, tags, and geolocation saved on the image that Google can crawl… Boom! now we’re talking!
Well, Google now knows exactly what your image is, what its relevance is, and where in the world it is relevant to. Are you starting to see how powerful that is? Each optimised image will start to act as a piece of a puzzle providing Google with a picture of your business.
You’ll want 10 – 15 unique pictures for this next step; a minimum of three for each category in your business listing: Interior, Exterior, Photos at Work, Team Photos, Additional Photos. You can’t have too many relevant images, so get as many as you can. You’ll want them in JPG format to allow these next steps.
First, rename each image to a relevant keyword so that they are unique, like “Best Accountant in Narre Warren”. Then, right-click on the first image and click on “Details”. Next, put the image name in both the “Title” and “Subject” fields, and click on five stars.
Next, add keywords which relate to your business, in the form of “Tags”. Then, in the comments, you will include the NAP (name, address and phone number).
Hit “OK” in order to complete the process. Then proceed to do the same steps to the rest of your images.
This is good, yeah?
The last step we’ll want to take is to geotag all your images with your business location. Use a tool like GeoImgr to upload your image, search for your business address, and apply the geotag. Once again, this is something that Google can read, so pinpointing exactly where your business is and associating it with information rich images really gets Google loving on you.
That’s it! You’re now ready to upload those images to your business listing and reap the rewards.
For some businesses with low competition, this will be enough to get your listing launched to the top of the maps results. You will be miles ahead of your competitors with these optimisation techniques.
For most other businesses, you’ll want to keep up the momentum in order to get to the top of the search results by optimising your site, getting your newly optimised images on big name sites like Facebook, and sharing custom maps with directions to your business. To give you a head start we can offer your business a complimentary website and SEO audit. If you would like to get a free audit get in touch or call 03 8782 3703