How can my business show on the maps? A customer asked me a few weeks ago during our initial meeting.
In this post, I’ll show you a key element that you can optimize to help you rank higher in the maps.
In case you don’t know why it’s vital for your website to show up on the top results the answer is simple: there are tons of customers looking for your services, ready to call and do business with you, which means, if you’re at the top you can have your cake and eat it too.
I was explaining this to my customer while he looked confused. I get it, we SEO people have done a poor job at explaining what SEO really is and how it works. So let’s do a live case study.
When it comes to SEO and Google there’s no secret sauce, if you want the big “G” to pull your website higher during a search you want the search engine to trust you and like you, so you have to increase that trust factor. Think of it like meeting the parents for the first time, you wouldn’t do anything for the future in-laws to not trust you. The same applies to Google.
So let’s do a live case study side by side of roughly what the giant is looking for: trust.
This is called Google’s Local Pack and it’s simply the map that shows the listings at the top when you’re doing a search. So let’s say I’m looking to hire a photographer for a friend’s wedding, I go to Google and type: wedding photographer Durham, and this map pops up:
If you’re like most people chances are you will read the reviews listed on these top three businesses, probably call them to get a quote and do business with one of them. You will probably also look at the organic listings (we’ll go into that in another post). Very few people click on “More places” in fact, most of my customers have never noticed it (their words) until I pointed it out, so if your business shows up at #4 you get no cake. And now you start seeing how being highly visible in the local pack pays.
This is how the map looks when I open it:
So why the difference in rankings between Sean Photography and Carolyn Scott Photography? Let’s find out.
Citations: This simply means everywhere your business is mentioned or “cited” across the net. These mentions should include your business NAP: Name, Address, and Phone number. We already talk about establishing trust between your business and the search engine and this is a great way to increase that trust, by having your website mentioned in other directory websites. To give you an idea of what kind of sites I’m referring to see the graph below:
Photo Credit: Durham-SEO
There are hundreds of directory websites where you can open an account and list your business, always making sure your NAP is accurate, so if you decide to spell out “Road” in your address then don’t use the abbreviation “Rd”. Simply write your address on a word document and copy and paste it to make sure there’s consistency across these websites.
Going back to our live example, I pulled out a citations report for these two businesses, this is what I got:
Citation Courtesy of: whitespark.ca
Citation Courtesy of: whitespark.ca
Google relies heavily on other websites mentioning your name, so a citation basically counts like a vote, generally speaking, the more votes a site have the higher the chances that will go up in ranks. This is not the only element that counts for the maps or the organic listings so it’s not cut and dried but you certainly want to position yourself as the authority in your market and maximizing your citations is a good way to start. How many would you need will depend on the competition, I rarely see more than 100 in my local market but when we take a new customer we give them 350 to begin with and will increase this number if necessary.
We’ll continue with this series next week where we’ll touch up on organic listings. Stay tuned!
P.S: When it comes to ranking there are more elements to consider i.e age of the business, amount of reviews, is the website mobile friendly? etc, but we’ll go over the main ones for simplicity.
P.S2: The businesses shown here were selected randomly. I am not associated with or endorsing them in any way.
Priscilla @ Durham Seo