This gives you step by step instructions on how to rank in Google Maps.
Part #1 – Google Maps
One of the most common questions I get asked is how to rank in Google Maps.
Google maps are what show up at the top of the search results that have the name, address, phone number and may directions and reviews.
This is often the first thing someone sees when they search for something and therefore is most likely the first thing people will click, which in turn should lead to more traffic and business.
How do we rank in Google maps?
Ranking in Google maps is essentially an 8 step process.
Just follow these 8 steps and you will rank in Google maps.
Step #1 Google My Business & Website Optimisation
To understand Google Business Ranking you need to understand the concept of NAP (Name, Address, And Phone Number).
This is how Google identifies that different properties are talking about your site, and in turn how it decides to rank it. It is imperative that these be as consistent as possible.
You then need to ensure your NAP details are on your website. Depending upon the layout of your website this will generally go in the footer or sidebar.
The next step to optimising your website is to have a Google Map embedded somewhere on your site.
To do this you go to https://google.com/maps search for the address of your business, click Share, then click Embed the copy the embed code and place in a page on your website.
The last step to optimising your website for Google business ranking is Schema.
Essentially you want to use the local business schema type that identifies to Google that your site is a local business. Ask you web designer or contact me for advice if you need help on this part.
That’s about it for your site! It’s should only take a few minutes.
Google My Business Setup
This is the most important thing to get right. Nothing else will work if this isn’t done properly. Don’t let that scare you though there isn’t a lot to it.
To sign up for Google my business is a fairly simple process. Go to https://www.google.com/business/
Sign up with the Google Account you want to use with it. Follow the steps and add your business Once you enter your business information (remember to make sure you use the exact NAP you will be using throughout your campaign) Google will send you a verification postcard in the mail with a code on it. Once done, your business will be verified with Google.
The important stuff to rank in Google Maps.
Firstly ensure you select the category for your business as close as possible to your type of business when you are picking this during setup.
Then upload as many images as allowable in the interface. This is a growing number so add your logo and then as many other images that are relevant as you possibly can to fully populate this section.
Before uploading the pictures however you want to geo-tag them. Essentially this means that you are going to alter the properties of the image so that Google knows what business it belongs. Get help here if you need. There are a number of ways to do this but the easiest one I have found is to go to https://geotag.online/ sign up for a free account and use it to geo-tag your images. All you have to do is enter in the address, and upload the images. It will then geo- tag them and give you a .zip file with your newly tagged images.
That’s about it for step #1! It seems like a lot but you should really be able to knock out most of this in a couple of hours work and this is, by far the most tedious part of ranking in Google Maps.
Step #2 Building Foundational Citations
A citation is any site other than your own that has your NAP and a link back to your website. These build a network of powerful sites that tell Google that you have a legitimate business that deserves attention.
When I say foundational I mean citations that everyone should have regardless of what type of business you have. These include sites like Yelp, Foursquare, https://www.yell.com/ and YP.com
I suggest everyone go through and create these for yourself at least once but after that it is best to outsource them as it is a long and tedious process and one you can’t afford to get wrong if you want to rank in Google maps.
Step #3 Competitor Citations Analysis & Replication
The trick to leveraging the power of citations is to first make sure you have the foundational citations, then find out what other citations the top 3 sites have and get as many of them for your site as possible.
Step #4 Google Custom Maps
Google Custom Maps is a powerful technique to rank in Google Maps it will also help your site with organic rankings, video & image rankings, and they will even rank in their own right.
Go to https://www.google.com/maps/ click Create A New Map give it a name with your keyword or a variation of your keyword. Put in your address and a description and save it. Also you want to make sure you make it public.
This is time consuming and to take full advantage of this you are going to need about 100 of these. The best thing to do is to have someone do them for you. This Service works really well and I strongly urge you to get the extras to add your picture and video as well as getting them boosted. This is a really powerful ranking tool and can really give you an edge on competitors that aren’t familiar with this technique.
Step #5 Google Reviews
Google reviews are also an important ranking factor.
It is important to have at least 5 (this is when the stars will appear) and more than your competitors.
You can get these through a variety of methods.
1. Ask your clients / customers to leave you a review. This is easy enough to ask; but getting them to follow through can be a challenge. To make it as easy as possible create a direct URL people can click in an email invite from you. This way they do not have to search for your business and find the review link, which is not obvious for some and also a couple of steps in the process you can help them skip by creating a direct link. This is how you create a link for customers to write reviews
2. Ask friends and family to fill them out. This is ok but Google doesn’t make this process as easy to do as it should and less savvy people will struggle with it
3. Get a service that specialises specifically in this to do it for you.
Step #6 Local Authority Site Linking
This is probably the easiest step but it is also the most expensive.
What I mean by local authority sites is things like your local Chamber Of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, donating to local charities that give you a link on their site, and any professional organisations the site may be a part of.
Step #7 Exact Match Anchors From PBNs and Guest Posts
PBNs (Private Blog Networks) and guest posts are the most powerful way to rank you site in the organic search listings. But they also play a big role when you want to rank in Google Maps.
The key to leveraging Guest posts to rank in Google maps is to use exact match anchor texts.
While I strongly urge you to create your own PBNs I know that is a large expense and may not be something you are ready to do right away.
Step #8 Map Embeds
The next how to rank in Google Maps factor is Google Map embeds. This is one of the easiest steps to accomplish but it packs a nice punch.
Go to Google Maps to retrieve the embed code for your business. Then create posts on web 2.0s and PBNs using your keyword as the title, include a link to your map with the NAP as the anchor text, and embed your map.