A recent blog post from the SEOmoz blog, described tips regarding improving your ranking on Google Maps and increasing local search optimization. Rand, the CEO of SEOmoz, walks internet marketers through the research and strategy development internet marketers must take to ensure the best results for a dominant presence in local search results.
He recommends using the following steps to improve your ranking on Google Maps::
Step 1: Do Lots of Searches Related to Your Business & Region
Actively search and understand your competitors within your business and understand what they are doing online, where they are located online within local directories, and how they are getting to the top of Google Maps. You’re seeking results that show competing or closely related businesses in local search results, so get creative and do a thorough search of the local market.
Step 2: Identify a Handful (or a Few Dozen) Businesses that Consistently Get Top Rankings
You could build a formal spreadsheet and perform tracking to identify these top ranking competitors or start with gut feel and expand later on in the process. For less competitive listings, an informal approach may work just fine but what you want to do is get a full understanding of why the top competitors are on the top!
Step 3: In Google Maps, Go to the Local Business Profile for Each of These
Don’t click the name of the listing itself. Instead, follow the links to the “reviews” about each of your competitors’ businesses. You’ll get a page with information about the business, reviews and lists of data that Google has found about them.
Step 4: In the Business Listing, Click on the Links to “More About this Place”
The “more about this place” section of the business listing shows brief snippets, titles and URLs where Google has found relevant information pertaining to the business. This is your potential goldmine for discovering listing sources.
Step 5: After Reviewing Relevant Listing Sources, Go to those Sites & Get Your Business Added/Updated
The domains that are listed are places where Google is pulling information about your business. This is where the Maps algorithm comes into play – it relies on not only the number of listings, but the quality of the sources and the consistency between them. You want every listing to perfectly match one another, right down the the suffix on the reservations phone number and the formatting of your suite number (e.g. 1221 E Pike Street vs. 1221 East Pike Street vs. 1221 E Pike Street Suite 200 vs. 1221 East Pike Street #200 are all DIFFERENT – don’t make that mistake).
In addition to the potential local ranking boost, a majority of these sources offer the potential to earn links! Even if you don’t care much about the local results themselves, this is a pretty terrific way to get some good quality, trusted sites linking to you.
Step 6: Repeat Step 4 & 5 for the “Reviews” and “User Content” Sections
If you’re hungry for even more sources, you can look at where listings come from on other competitors and/or go back to the business listing’s page in Google Maps/Local and choose from the “reviews” and “user content” sections for even more potential spots. Much like manual link building back in the late ’90′s, perseverance and careful attention to detail will take you far.
There are automated services out there to help with this process, but I haven’t yet seen one I feel completely comfortable about. The biggest issue is the dramatic value of and need for consistency in the listings. When automated systems submit, they can mix in a suite number in the wrong place, cut off a phone number because the form doesn’t accept hyphens or confirm a URL that doesn’t match what you’ve submitted elsewhere. For now, I recommend playing it safe and spending the hours (even if that’s a dozen or two) to get those 50-250 listings correct. Google will reward you with local rankings and high quality traffic.
Essentially, you want to research and understand what your competitors are doing to receive high rankings on Google Maps and mimic they ways they are receiving links, gaining customer reviews, and other methods that help them get to the top. Hope this series of steps can help get your business on the map, literally!
Information Provided By: Rand, SEOmoz