Google Maps and Local SEO
Gone are the days of needing an actual map, or those slightly less cumbersome printed directions from MapQuest. For most, not a week goes by where we don’t reach for our phones to use Google Maps. Either your stuck on the highway and need to re-route, getting directions to the new restaurant down the street, or you need to calculate the amount of time needed to get to from point A to point B. No matter the case, Google Maps has been there for us on numerous occasions, and for that, this one is for you Google.
Google Maps is 10 Years Old
The first idea for a “360-degree view of the world” was in 2004, and in May 2007 it was launched in five cities. Present day we have a fully loaded, multi-view street, sidewalk, and destination views of pretty much everywhere and every popular destination in the world. Over the past 10 years there has been underwater views of the barrier reef, the Trekker loan program, and even a desert capture via camel. Throughout the last 10 years’ innovation has been endless.
Google Maps and Local SEO
Google Maps and Google My Business work hand in hand for local SEO optimization. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to verify your business through Google My Business. It’s a relatively easy process. Simply input the correct information, and you can confirm via postcard, email, phone, or Search Console.
Once your business is verified, it’s all about showing up in the local pack. You know, that box that shows up in the “near me” searches, and usually has three recommendations. The biggest factor for showing up in local searches is consistency with your name, address, and phone number (NAP). Google uses these three vital pieces of information to validate your business, and the more consistent it is, the better it will rank. For instance, if you started validating your business via directory listings, moved, and continued making listings using your new address but never updated the old listings, Google doesn’t know which address is valid. The more times your business name, address, and phone number are listed consistently, the more it builds credibility.
Additionally, abbreviations count when validating, so if you start with an abbreviation, the rest of your listings should include the same abbreviation. To keep with consistency, Schema markup can be used to implement consistent business information. If you don’t wish to use schema, consider making a NAP document where you can simply copy and paste your business information to keep it consistent.
Additional Validation Factors
Along with validating NAP information, there are a few other tactics that help boost business credibility with Google. These include:
- Keywords in titles
- Link domain quality
- Reviews, and quality of reviews
- Social signals
- Click through rate (CTR)
These tactics take a bit more time and work to build, especially collecting quality reviews. Even though it takes more time, it is not impossible. With the right approach, and a lot of research, improving validation and showing up in the map pack is something you could do in your spare time if you feel comfortable work on it. You know your business inside and out, and the networking connections you make can be super valuable in the realm of local SEO.
As with all SEO it’s important to remember that it’s not an overnight success. Google needs to crawl directories and websites to look for different verification factors. Additionally, all directories and links are not created equal. Each site possesses different trust and citation flows, and some links might be “follow” or “no follow.” However, little by little you’ll be able to see your site improve, and with the proper links and verification you’ll have a locally optimized site.