So you have probably seen the map results that show up at the top of some (but not all) search results on Google. Have you ever wondered how to rank in the Google My Business (GMB) map listings in the search results? Has your site been hit by the Google Possum update? Here are some secrets and things you can do to show up on the top of page #1 on Google in the local pack. The first step is to setup a Google My Business listing here. It is free and fairly easy to setup, but read this post first.
Secret Keys to Great Rankings for Google My Business (keep reading because your are guaranteed to find something new):
- Proximity - When someone does a search for something like 'pizza' on Google, it will recognize that search could mean a lot of different things (recipes, history, restaurants, etc.). The most popular is local pizza restaurants, so Google will typically bring up map results for that type of search. If you want to come up in the map results you literally just have to have an address that is close to the location of the person doing a search.
- Category - if you want to come up in the map listings your business category needs to match the category of the keyword term that is being searched for. So make sure you put your business into the correct category.
- Local Search Engine Optimization - Having a website that ranks well influences how your Google My Business listing does. Often times you'll see a map listing for a business and an organic listing at the top of the results for that same business. A good portion of the map listing ranking is tied to your website's local SEO. So things like inbound links to your website, domain authority and other on page ranking factors are very important. Not commonly known, but the click through rate on your organic listings in the search results as well as how long users stay on your site influences your map listing ranking.
- Citation Signals - If your business is mentioned a lot around the web, then your Google My Business listing will rank better as well. Basically if you can get your business mentioned a lot, particularly on quality websites, the more you will show up. Here is a secret tip that most people don't know. If the city name your business resides in is mentioned on the same page your business is mentioned then bonus points to your ranking.
- Make Sure Contact Info is Consistent - You want to make sure that your business name, address and phone number are always written the same on all websites. For example, if your business address was 496 S 360 E, Midway, UT then make sure it is always written that way. You wouldn't want it to be like that on one website and like 496 South 360 East, Midway, UT on another website.
- Reviews - Getting quality reviews for your website along with a diversity of reviews will help your ranking. At minimum, you want at least 7 reviews on your Google My Business listing and they should be 5 star reviews. Want to know an easy way to get 5 star reviews on Google from your real clients? Drop us a note.
- Behavioral Signals - People clicking on your business listing, mobile clicks to call and check-ins all influence your ranking.
- Social Signals - How people interact with your businesses social accounts (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc) can influence your ranking. Note that I said interact, which isn't the same as the number of followers you have. If you can get users to share your posts/tweets and mention you on social media then it will influence your ranking. Google seems to care less about followers and more about interactions, because it is harder to fake interactions. What Google ultimately wants is the most popular or best result and social signals is one way Google can see who is liked.
- Google Posts - Google posts are a way to put "blog" type posts right in your GMB listing. They also appear to be a ranking factor.
- Reply to Responses - In our testing we found a ranking improvement when you reply to the responses/reviews you've received on your listings.
Here are some other secret tips for great ranking. Make sure you have a keyword in your business title that would match a keyword a user would use on Google when searching for your type of product/service. Using our example before, Pizza Hut would do well in the Google My Business results for a search of 'pizza.' Or Pixo Web Design & Strategy would match well for a search of 'web design.'
Another secret is if it is possible to get in your review the city name your business is located in, then it will help your ranking. So suggest to customers to mention their city name in the review. For example, "Pixo Web Design in Denver is the best!" That secret about the city name in reviews isn't even commonly known among web professionals.
Also, make sure you have your address on your website and that it has the proper schema. If you aren't familiar with schema, then give us a call.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you improve your website or your visibility on the web.