When Googling something, have you ever seen a box containing a map and three businesses just below the paid ads? This is Google’s Map Pack. Getting in the Map Pack can be tremendously lucrative for your business.
Why? Think about it: Google’s Map Pack takes up serious Page 1 real estate, it’s right at the top above all organic results, and it’s exactly where many of your potential clients click when looking for a local business.
Getting your site front and center in Google’s Three Pack requires high-quality local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Simply put, local SEO is the name given to geographically targeted SEO designed to get your website to appear in Google’s Three Pack and boost your overall ranking for geographic-based keywords (e.g. Baltimore SEO, etc.).
Local SEO can get a bit complicated, but it mostly involves the following:
- Claiming and verifying your business with local business citations
- Filling out as much information as possible about your business in these listings
- Getting plenty of positive reviews from happy clients through these listings
- Building links to your website
- Building links to your business listings
Claiming and Verifying Business Citations
There are currently 200+ local business citations available online that you can acquire to boost your business’s local SEO.
While it’s not necessary to claim and verify your business in all of them, garnering as many as possible is extremely crucial. RDB Design recommends that you strive to claim and verify 50 or more.
However, it’s not enough to get your business listed on these sites. You’ll need to fill out all of the information and be as thorough as possible. Upload your company’s logo, include links to your social media accounts, and treat the description section like an amplified elevator pitch promoting your business. These simple things can have a big impact on your overall local SEO efforts.
If the site allows you to include pictures of your staff or the outside of your brick and mortar location, put these up as well. Remember, everything you say or put online makes a statement about you and your brand, so invest in having professional photos taken. Doing so enhances your online reputation and makes you more credible in the eyes of your potential clients.
Most importantly, add the URL of your website and phone number.
Earning Positive Reviews
Next, choose 3-5 of the most popular local business listings you claimed and verified and get positive reviews on them.
The key to local SEO is getting reviewed through the business listing sites, not simply posting testimonials on your website.
Let’s say you wanted to target Yelp, Yahoo!, and Google My Business. It would be a big mistake to reach out to happy clients and ask them to email you a review or testimonial.
Instead, you should try to get these clients to review you on one of your local business listings. Be careful, though: Yelp (among a few others) prohibits the direct solicitation of reviews.
You can invite happy clients to share their experience with your company on these sites while avoiding directly asking for a positive review.
For example, if you’re a lawyer, send your client an email after obtaining a favorable result and let him or her know the great news. Be sure to include a “Review Us on Yelp” button below your signature line that directly links to your business listing. They’ll likely get the hint and many will leave a nice review.
The last step to improving local SEO is link building. The amount of high-quality links pointing to your site is so influential to Google that it not only impacts your overall search ranking, but also your placement in the Three Pack. If you’re serious about improving your business’s local SEO, make sure to earn high-quality links from well-established websites.
A clever way to occupy more Page 1 real estate is by building links directly to your business directory listings. Even if you build just 2 or 3 high-quality links to a few of your listings, you could easily begin to see them on Page 1 of Google when searching for your company.
Ultimately, if you do this with enough of them, you can blanket the first page of Google with your business’s website, Facebook page, and all of these business listings. This gives you full control over what potential clients are seeing on Page 1 when they research your company.