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In the new age of local business marketing, Google map listings are second to none in the category of cost effective marketing. Placed above the other highly valued organic rankings, the Google map listings are displayed for nearly every service or product search term that includes a city descriptor such as “Los Angeles Attorney”. The emergence of Google Maps Advertising as the most critical element of local advertising has precipitated great competition in the area of local map listing optimization. Because it is a newer area of optimization, many business owners and marketing professionals have made mistakes that have caused Google to apply severe ranking penalties while others, using good techniques and adhering to Google’s rules, have had unprecedented marketing success. Some of the good techniques for optimizing maps are as follows:
5 Tips to Ranking Higher in Google Maps:
- Be wary of using keyword loaded titles. According to Google’s Quality Guidelines in the LBC (Local Business Center), the name of the company, not keywords and cities, need to be a represented in the title. Your ranking will be positively effected however if your company name actually includes the city and keywords the business is targeting. Spammy titles as follows can cause Google to apply a penalty to a local listing and possible removal of the listing entirely.
- Use a local phone number. The exclusive use of a toll free number in your Google Map Listing is likely to incur a penalty. Be sure to list your local number – preferably the number you listed with the agency with which you filed your DBA. Google verifies information with a variety of sources including sources that are fed by county records offices that verify you legal contact information, address, and phone number. If your local listing record matches what Google cross references in these credible sources, then you have scored big points in the validation area of your listing. A local area code will further validate your legitimate local presence. This will have a positive impact on your ranking while using a toll free number exclusively will have a negative impact.
- Create a 100% complete listing. When you input your listing in Google’s LocalBusinessCenter, be sure to include as much detail as possible. Photos, videos, hours of operation, and additional details can be included or not included in a listing. After creating a listing, you can view the percentage of completion in the upper right hand side of the main LocalBusinessCenter page. If you have less than 100%, don’t despair – just go back into the listing and add more content until you have a high quality listing with lots of good photos and details.
- Add a coupon. Adding a coupon will enhance the usefulness of your listing to the public and therefore it is likely that Google will apply a ranking bonus to your listing. Feel free to add multiple coupon offers. Some companies have 7 or more special offers. Also, coupons will enhance your conversion rate. Google recently released a beta version of a coupon search in local business listings.
- Include your address and phone number in the contact page of your website. Be sure to use the address and phone number that you are using in your LocalBusinessCenter. It’s surprising how many times companies fail to put this fundamental information in their site. If it is there, the web site will serve as a critical validation of the business’ address and phone information and will receive a validation bonus accordingly. This will strongly enhance your chances of ranking well.
If your listing has been penalized, it can be a major blow to your business. Implement the above techniques and penalties can be avoided. If you’ve already been penalized, don’t lose all hope. By correcting your listing or working with experts in the field, you can get the campaign back on track and recover your Google Map presence.