Google Maps SEO: A Critical Piece of Inbound Marketing for Local Firms

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As a local services firm whether you are an IT firm, or an architecture or engineering firm, your goal for growth is to generate more qualified opportunities from your local area.   Inbound marketing is where you may be looking for the solution, but it’s critical that you ensure the mix of components includes a heavy focus on local maps SEO if you want to ensure you actually drive relevant leads.

It’s now common knowledge that firms looking for B2B services, 97% to be exact, use the internet when searching for local products and services.  So how does this relate to local maps seo?  First we need to understand the difference between maps and website listings.

How is website SEO different from Local Maps SEO?

To understand this you need to understand the difference between the listings in Google.  For local searches you will often see a few listings under a map, as in the image below.  These are the ‘map listings’.   Below this you will see the standard organic website listings.  It’s important to note that the local maps always show above the organic website listings.

The process of showing up in the map listings is different from the process of showing up in the standard organic listings.  In essence your map listing is almost like another website that has to be separately optimized with onsite and offsite content, and links.  This involves ongoing monthly citation building, content marketing, reviews, and many other tactics to drive the map listings higher and onto page 1, and thereafter to maintain it’s position on page 1.

Take a look at the example below for one of our clients, where we have optimized both the local maps and website separately, resulting in two listings showing up on the first page.

Google Pack
Your goal is to come up in the top search results, like Pixelcarve, when searchers enter business-related keywords about the service you provide. What your presence on Google Local Maps, Adwords and Google search results does is gives you a multiple presence on a specific page when someone searches for your business or services.

With this in mind lets take a closer look a the key benefits of local SEO services.

What are the Benefits of being ranked in the Local Maps pack?

First it’s important to recognize that 67.6% of the traffic actually goes to the top 5 listings on page 1.  And when the search is a localized search,  most of this traffic is going to the map listings showing at the top, and not the organic website listings below the maps.

Surprisingly, only 37% of local businesses have claimed a local business listing on Google Local, and even fewer have it properly optimized to drive traffic from all the local search queries that exist.

If you are successfully able to optimize your local maps listing and get it to rank for all the various local search terms related to your business, and if you can maintain this position with ongoing linking and maps SEO, then you will benefit from :

  • Added Page 1 real estate means more market-share.  By having an additional position on the first page, you effectively knock one of your competitors off of page 1.   The traffic that they were getting now goes to your firm via the added listing position.  Think of it – why do  businesses and restaurants have multiple physical stores or locations?  Because each location has traffic which they can leverage.  Similarly each position on page 1 yields additional traffic to your business.
  • Increased authority and higher click through (CTR).  When your firm appears multiple times on a page, this multiple presence  psychologically gives your company more perceived authority. If done right, your firm’s name can appear on all results: the website, Adwords, via Video and Google Maps. Even in competitive industries like Law Firm SEO, we have been able to achieve upto 5 listings for our clients on page 1! See the image below.  This multiple presence not only drives added traffic from each position, but also results in a higher CTR of each of the listings because of the perceived authority of your company being a major player which they MUST contact.   This added impact is often overlooked but basically results in more traffic for all your other positions, every time you add another position to page 1.

screencapture-www-google-ca-webhp-1453666155456

 

  • Mobile optimized and lower bounce rates.  Since 95% of smartphone users have looked up local information for businesses on their mobile phones, you want to make sure your information is easily-accessible for these users. Your business’ website may not be smart-phone friendly, even though it should be, but the local business listings are optimized for mobile phone users. This means your phone number, address, and business information are conveniently available on smartphones, even if your website isn’t quite there yet.

These are just some of the key benefits of integrating local search optimization with Google Local can have for your inbound marketing strategy. The possibilities are endless.

How do I get my site ranked in the maps?

Contrary to what many firms think, simply claiming your listing and putting some text on there with images is not going to get you ranked for all the terms that are relevant in your local industry.  It might get you ranked for a few terms, but those are likely very low search volume and low competition terms.  This will not yield consistent traffic and leads. If you think your local maps is optimized but not sure, we highly recommend you speak to us about our professional seo services and get a proper audit done. The number of times we have heard “I’m already showing up in the maps” is countless. Most often the exposure is isolated and minimal.

Local maps SEO can be highly competitive and requires ongoing content, linking, citations, competitive audits, and monitoring. Just as Google ranks websites, they also rank map listings by comparing the level of exposure and relevance your physical local business has.  Hiring a local search expert or an Inbound agency with skill sets in Local search is your best bet.

How do I make sure my Inbound Agency is doing Local SEO?

Today, although many agencies claim to be integrated digital marketing firms, there is still a lot of fragmentation.

Of the good SEO agencies which remain (after a lot of Google updates have wiped out many weaker SEOs) , most are very weak on Inbound marketing methodology , content and marketing automation.

On the flip side most of the well branded Inbound agencies are stronger in content and automation, and branding, but very weak in SEO, let alone maps SEO and video SEO.  Many inbound agencies don’t even have dedicated SEO staff.

Both the above scenarios result in poorly integrated marketing which yields bottlenecks that kill ROI and results.

Here are a few questions that can help you make sure you are using a fully integrated Inbound agency with a strong SEO skillset.

  •  Can you show me examples of local SEO results you have achieved for clients in the past?  IE:  page 1 rankings in the local maps for all their main keywords?  (Hint:  you want to make sure they can provide at least 2-3 examples of local clients with strong local rankings and traffic which has brought leads. You also want to check if they were able to create the ‘multiple presence’ effect for the clients)
  • How many pure SEO team members do you have on staff in house?  how long have they been with your agency and what are their roles? (Hint:  you want to make sure that SEO has been a core part of their agency for at least 3+ years so they have proper systems in place and have brought results, as opposed to just starting SEO and taking a crack at it)
  • Please provide me with 3 references of local services clients that have been with you for 2+ years so I can speak to them (Hint: if they have truly created results for local clients those clients would stick around and should be able to easily validate that local inbound marketing has worked for them –make sure you ask the references about the leads coming in…you’re looking for local leads that they were able to close)

As best practice, you need to dig in and validate with questions like the above.  With all the fancy technology out there today, its very easy to get wooed by fancy presentations and software.  The reality is many inbound agencies have retention rates of 40-60% after 12 months.  Ask yourself what does this mean?

The last thing you want is to spend 60-120K on a fancy looking website and automation tools with a tonne of great sounding and looking content, but without the leads and traffic to back it up.  At the end of the day leads drive opportunities and revenue.

Here are all the industries we provide SEO for:

At Jumpfactor, we pride ourselves on providing dedicated SEO consulting servicesThe combined experience on our SEO team extends over 50 years.  We  blend this with automation, powerful domain specialized content, and our E4 methodology to drive results that typically bring 5 times the amount of leads vs. competitors.   Our retention rate is above 90% and our services clients see high conversion rates from traffic to leads.

Get in touch with our experts for a SEO assessment and learn how we can help get your business to drive more local leads through integrated local inbound marketing.

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About the Author:

Zamir is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience of providing expert inbound digital marketing advice to a variety of B2B clients. He has orchestrated the digital success of several organizations, with some clients getting 7000% ROI as a result. As a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Zamir also has over a decade of experience mentoring young entrepreneurs. As for his keys to success? Zamir credits everything to meditation and focus.

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