Google Map Listing
Claim Your Google Map Listing
The google local map listings for most local search terms are typically shown as a group of 3-10 on the first page of google and are at least slightly easier to rank than a traditional website or other web assets. Additionally, someone searching for a local business is a). often looking for a map showing their locations relative to where they are now and b). statistically much more likely to actually come to your place of business and buy something. These specific features and advantages of a google local map listing makes it a preferred short to medium term source of highly qualified potential customers and make them a powerful and high value piece of digital real estate for you and your business.
Odds are very good, that if your business is a brick and mortar business or if it’s been listed in an online directory (yellow pages, cityscape, merchants circle, etc.) that google has already created a local maps listing and page for your business. It may not be totally accurate, it may have pictures that google has grabbed some pictures from related subject pages and stuck the in your google local page. You may even have some reviews left by past customers that you don’t even know about?
The first step is to find your existing page by googling “name of your business city state” and usually it will be the top result or in the top few. Click on the reviews and it will take you to your google local page. There’s a button on the left side of the page that says “manage this page” on a red button, which will take you to the editing screen. Once there, you’ll need to sign in through google, edit and correct your listing then save. You’ll get a screen that will let you know a card will be sent to you with a 5 digit code number that once you receive it, you need to come back and enter it into this same screen to make your google local maps listing live. It takes approx. 2 weeks to come in the mail, then 1 week once the code is entered before your google local maps listing will show properly and be active.
Optimizing Your Google Map Listing
The actual editing of your google local map listing is what we call “optimizing”. It is similar to the methods employed when designing, building out and optimizing your website for best SEO, except the process is significantly simpler with your google local maps listing. Even so, there are quite a few items need properly listed, added, labeled properly, etc. so although most can get a mediocre result on their own, someone that’s experienced in setting up google local maps listings can help it to rank and show up in the 3-10 maps listings on page one of google and such Optimization also amplifies the effects of the links and citations that will be built to also help in ranking it for the appropriate terms.
The optimizing of your google local maps listing is in fact a component of organic search marketing, SEO and SEM, except it will only come up when geo targeted or local search term is submitted to google. Because the google local maps listings appear in response to a business specific term combined with a geographic market term, i.e. city, city and state, state, etc. best practices and best results involve some keyword research much like more difficult SEO. There are also local maps listings in yahoo and bing, but because they get so many less searches than google and because the formula for ranking on them is much less known or consistent, most SEO practitioners focus almost exclusively on google’s methodology and let the chips fall where they may with yahoo and bing.
Advanced Optimizing of Your Google Map Listing
There are also some things beyond the listing optimization, building of links and citations that can be done to improve the quality and quantity of leads. This includes the effect of good and bad reviews, the ability to use added coding or software to add author photos or video thumb nails, but all with the intent of increasing the attention of the searcher, the number of clicks and the conversion once they click through to your website. Some local businesses have no website, so leave it as a “dead end” google local maps listing, which looks then like it’s not been claimed…not good, or link to their facebook page, which is only slightly better than no website.
Below the listing in google it shows the number of reviews that have been posted to your google local maps listing page, and if there are ten or more, it will also show the average review score out of 30…which can absolutely make or break your business. Normally, the 1st listing will get approx. 40% of the clicks, with the 2nd listing approx. 20%, 3rd 10% and falling from 5% to 2% below. Often, the top map listing is in the 3rd position, but because it’s a local search, it gets more than the estimated 10%, possibly up to 40% like a 1st ranked listing, as for the person looking to the map on the right side, this is in fact the 1st listing that’s relative.
It is estimated, that a 3rd position result at top of google local maps combined with best quality and quantity reviews can grab up to 60-80% of the clicks on the whole page. To ad an author picture/photo, video thumb nail or other added attention grabber can have a similar effect. To have all those factors working in your advantage can grab 80-90% of the clicks. Why?…it’s estimated that approx. 80% of people online are looking businesses up on line to check reviews and social proof before going to them and/or before culminating a purchase. To say that reviews are powerful in local business marketing is an understatement, as great reviews can double a business in size while bad reviews can be the kiss of death.
Reputation Management vs. Reputation Marketing
We call the monitoring of your business’s reviews, complaints and social media “reputation management”. Should something show up negative, we let you know whether to respond or not, we can work to have it removed in some cases and ultimately, we can rank positive items and take over the whole first page of google for your business name, thus pushing the negatives onto the second page, which no one will go to after seeing an entire first page that’s all good. We’ve found, that not all, but most negative reviews are either old and you’ve improved your business since then but haven’t gotten enough positive reviews yet or they’re being put out there by disgruntled employees, competitors, etc.
We call the active gathering of positive reviews and making of review videos “reputation marketing”. This is really the place you want to be operating and marketing from. If you have many more reviews than your competitors and your average review score is excellent or at least better than theirs, then that equates to a major competitive advantage. Post those reviews on google and other review sites, get them to stick and not get filtered out or fall off and that will increase your clicks, your conversion, your likelihood of getting reviews from each new client and even better, your likelihood that they’ll refer you and your business by good old word of mouth referral.
We believe as yellow pages, print advertising and other older marketing strategies continue to lose their effectiveness, that these methods will continue, along with mobile and video to become the least expensive and most profitable marketing options available to grow your local business. There are many strategies and options for maxing out your google local maps listing, protecting your reputation, gathering good reviews and using them to maximize all your other online marketing efforts. We can assist with all these tasks, including letting you know which methods will work best with your specific business type, size, location, etc. so call today to schedule an initial meeting so we can learn more about you, your business and what you’re trying to accomplish.