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How to Rank in the Google Map Pack

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO as it is known in the marketing community is the process of optimising your website, so it is displayed in search engine results. It’s not too difficult to get your site to show up somewhere in Google, the real challenge is getting your website to the #1 spot for all search terms related to your business.

We believe the map pack is the best place to start when trying starting out with your SEO strategy. This is just as valuable (if not more valuable) for your business as hitting the number one spot in the actual search results.

But WHY is it valuable? Well, when people are looking for a service in a particular location Google offers people a map before any of the other organic search results. Businesses’ who are in the Map pack can have their customers call directly from Google without even visiting your site, so ranking #1 in the map pack is the fastest way to get that phone ringing.

 

 

There are few different ways to ensure you are ranking in this map pack, of course we aren’t going to tell you how to get to #1 (that’s a secret we only give away to our SEO clients), but we can give you some advice to help get you close:

Set up Google My Business:

Search for ‘Google my Business’ and sign up for an account. Fill in as much information as you can – the more information you can add the better!

We recommend that our clients include at least 20 photos in their Google business listing, and you should upload these images to your website.

We will share one of our most successful tactics usually reserved for our clients, if you add location targeted meta titles and tags to your images this should push you further up the ranks and also help your organic search engine results, particularly when you add these images to your site with the same titles and tags.

Ensure that these images can only be found in your google my business listing and on your website, so you aren’t penalised for duplicate titles and tags.

 

 

Get some reviews:

Ask your customers for Google reviews – and ensure sure they are good ones! Check you are getting at least 2 new reviews a month.

Sometimes we advise our clients to offer their customers a discount if they leave a review. Send out and e-mail to all of the customers in your database with a shortened link to where they can leave the review.

There are different software programs that you can use that will generate a more user friendly review system, allowing your customers to leave a review directly in an e-mail before being automatically uploaded as a review to your Google My Business listing.

Unfortunately, these programs are often expensive subscription services – luckily, the best marketing agencies will include these services in their SEO management.

   

 

Build a strong Link profile:

When external websites link back to your business, whether it be a blog post or to the main page, Google will reward your website in the ranks. When someone links back to your website it is essentially them acknowledging that the content on your site is useful and Google will recognise this.

Building a strong backlink profile used to be easy but gone are the days of simply commenting on other people’s blogposts with a link back to your website. Google’s new algorithm update has started penalising sites with dodgy backlinks, which could be a very bad thing for your business if you have paid for or set up dodgy backlinks in the past. Finding and removing dodgy backlinks can be an extremely time consuming process, unless you have a SEO manager taking care of it for you.

Before you start building your backlink profile you should consider what value a website linking to you may add to your business. The best backlinks are the ones that come from a recognised brand or website, if that site is particularly relevant for your business, for example you own a property agency in Sydney and Real Estate.com links to your website in a blog post, this would be a powerful and very relevant backlink for your business.

Finally, the popularity of a particular link can have an affect on how much value Google will give to it and therefore your website.

An example: BuzzFeed creates a post about the top 10 best new lipsticks and in their article they link to your website that sells one of the lipsticks they are talking about. This post is shared across their social media channels and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. Because your website has been linked into this post, Google will reward your sites position in their search engine results because your website is considered valuable by a large company like Buzzfeed.

When trying to rank in a local setting, the best bet is to ensure you have added your business to as many local directories that you can find. One easy way to go about this is searching ‘Your city + Business directories’ to get a comprehensive list.

The above piechart demonstrates the power of combining correct NAP listing strategies with a strong backlink profile, as Google has determined that these two factors alone will make up 30% of your ranking factors, so it’s essential that you put a lot of focus into this particular part of your SEO.

You should also consider getting in contact with local community groups and halls. Consider offering discounted products to their visitors/members in exchange for them adding a link to your business to their website.

 

Remove Duplicate listings:

Duplicate NAP listings is one of the biggest problems for any business who wants to rank in the map pack.

Search for the phone number and address of your business to ensure that a different business isn’t listing themselves as being at that address or having that phone number.

Here’s an example: A client of ours purchased a business and the old business owner hadn’t removed themselves from the phone directory – because this phone number was listed under two different business names, Google penalised our clients site until all information about that old business was removed.

Removing duplicate listings can be an extremely time consuming process, as you need to contact all of the local directories individually. This is when a marketing agency (like R6 Digital!) could save you some time – we have personal contacts who work for these directories making it easy for us to ensure your business is the only one they have listed