How to Rank on Map Pack Transcription

Discovery Mosti

How to Rank on Map Pack Transcription

So I'm going to show you some tips and tricks on how to rank locally with the map pack and stuff like that. So obviously something I spoke about in the Chiang Mai SEO Conference, which I'm flicking through all the garbage here. Just going through all of the slides and stuff, you don't need to see them all.

Now local SEO, I just wanted to visually show you this stuff and how to rank well on the map pack. Some of the tips and tricks that I've been working with over a period of time, that have worked well for me.

So local SEO, there's lots of statistics out there where people tell you that up to 46% of all searches are people on Google looking for local information. There's various other statistics here. 88% of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. These are all fairly standard figures that do make a lot of sense. If someone's looking for a plumber, they're likely to get in touch with them.

So that's the local search statistics. Now with local search we're not going to discount technically SEO on-page or off-page SEO. That is all very important for the overall SEO structure of a website, but when we're talking about local SEO we're talking about the local map pack. We're not going on about technical SEO or anything like that because regardless of how fast your website loads or how great your internal linking structure is, that isn't what impacts the local map pack listings, so that's why we're going to ignore that.

So Google My Business, as I said earlier, you set up all your information, photographs, and all that kind of stuff as you can see from my example here. Obviously, verify it one way or another, whether that's by phone or by postcard, fill out all the information as best you can, and obviously just make ... I was explaining there as to why you should verify it so that someone else can't steal your leads and whatnot, but then how do you rank well on the map listings?

You'll hear a lot of people mention the word NAP, or NAP plus W. So NAP basically means name, address, postcode, or NAP and W means name, address, postcode and website. Basically what Google are looking for is your website citations, whether that's in or various other local business directories, they want to see variations ... not variations, they want to see your business address on lots of different directories to make sure that that business is legit. Obviously if that business is legit, it's verified and it does exist, then you have a chance of appearing on the map listings. So it's really important that you do get your name, address and phone number out there consistently across websites.

Now things to avoid are using acronyms on your NAP; overdoing your NAP, just spamming the hell out of it; or using multiple locations on the same page. So if you are a business that does have multiple locations, then create a landing page for each location you've got. You don't have to have them all on one page, that just leads to confusion for Google.

So as I said, what is NAP plus W? It's name, address, postcode and your website. Examples of bad NAP would be ... this is what not to do if you're going to list on directories. For example, if I was a doctor, you could have Dr. Craig Campbell, the address and the postcode and all that stuff, then you could shorten it on another directory to  Dr Craig Campbell, or Dr C Campbell. It's these inconsistent NAP listings which cause a problem. Google are wanting your NAP listing to be consistent across all directories that are out there.

That poses a problem because if you're doing it yourself then fine, you can knuckle down and make sure that your name, address, postcode is consistent across all directories and stuff like that, but if you're getting some intern or some other member of staff to do it, they may not fully understand what is required here. You want that address to be consistent, that is what Google is looking for to rank your map listing. Consistency is the key.

Local citations, you can get tons of them, loads of niche relevant business directories, local directories relating to the area that you're located in, and anything else that's out there. You don't have to get a million directory listings, no one's saying that. You can get 35, 55, 105, whatever you feel is most relevant to your business. Make sure that you are on these consistently though.

If you can't be bothered doing that, now the options are you can give it to a member of staff and say, "Go and do the directory listings. It's a tedious job, blah, blah, blah, blah," and it might not get done properly. You could potentially also outsource this to a virtual assistant who doesn't really understand SEO, and again, might not do it, there might be inconsistencies. One way or another it needs to be done properly.

If you can't be bothered doing that yourself, or you can't trust a VA or the member of staff in your office, then there's a great option for you, Robert Kirk is the owner of that, he's a fellow Scotsman, and you can see that he's got various different packages here. Now, you can go for whatever package is most relevant to your business or how many citations you think you'll need to rank that business. There is no one package that suits all, it really comes down to competition and all that kind of stuff.

But for example, the key part of the citation thing that I want to touch on is I could tell a VA or a virtual assistant to go and get me 100 directory listings. One of the most common mistakes these guys make is using the same business description on all 100 business listings. Now what happens is Google will crawl that, and it's only really going to index one or two because the business descriptions are exactly the same across all websites. So only two of these are going to get picked up by Google and indexed by Google, and that's not what I want. I want a number of different citations. So if I do 100, I would fully expect ... I'm never going to expect 100% index rate, but I would certainly be looking for the highest proportion of those to be indexed.

That's where Robert Kirk's Citations Builder really stands out from the crowd. They spin your description to make it unique. They do send it to an indexing tool and they do it very quickly, in five days for most of the packages there. Now they do mix it up from generic directory listings to geographic specific ones, and also niche relevant directories, and that is quite important as well. But as I say, the most important thing is for these citations to get indexed so that Google themselves, when they're looking at your business and looking at the name, address, postcode side of it, then that is all indexed and they're able to easily find your consistent address and postcode on all these directories. That is what's going to help your map listing.

So Robert Kirk's is what you can do if you don't want to do it yourself or you can't afford the time to do it yourself. For the prices that Robert's charging, it makes more sense to just get a professional to do it. That's just one of his medium packages, but the indexing is the key part there.

Now you'll see, and this is not just me saying it, this is a company called Blue Corona who'll tell you that your NAP is correct and consistent, and all that kind of stuff. These guys are specialists in local SEO, from America, and they will tell you also that your NAP has to be correct. So it's not just me saying it, other people are telling you to do it.

It's also wise to use the same Google account for your Google My Business as your analytics and search console. Make sure that you tie everything in consistently and make sure you all work from one account. It just shows Google that you are legit and that business is working from one account rather than it all being confused and then all over the place. I don't think that would help with your local SEO whatsoever.

Also, use a local number where possible. I think that that helps. If you have a mobile number for example and you're a local business, you can get Twilio and get a number for a couple of bucks per month and forward it onto your mobile. You can keep that to a local number where possible. I believe that that definitely helps on there through my own trial testing and whatnot.

Tim Capper, well known local SEO guy, does a lot of stuff with Google. He will also tell you here, if you look up Tim and google webmaster guidelines, that citations are a local search ranking factor. That's where he'll also tell you that it is critical that you keep your citations correct and up to date to rank well, and the consistency is really, really important. So again, that's something that Time Capper, Google are spouting on about it, and everyone else is spouting on about it, and for when I'm training people I like to use other people's examples as well as my own to make sure that that message hits home. So you want to make sure that your citations are there, it's the main ranking factor for local map listings is the citations. So that is really important that you keep them consistent and the same across all the websites.

Again, this is Google releasing some information. What else helps with your local ranking factors? Obviously relevance, distance from the area you're in, and prominence are all key factors as well. So it's not just the citations that help, but they certainly go a long way to getting you up into that. But if for example someone's in the city center and they're googling for a plumber for example, it's likely that based on distance from that particular customer that someone else may show up before you if you're up the other side of town. So distance does play a factor and that's not something you can gain.

You can use the postcode trick, which I've mentioned. People often say, "What is the postcode trick?" So as I said, having your name, address, postcode is something that Google are looking for to promote your maps. Now if you wanted to be a little bit sneaky, and I'm not saying this is for everyone, but you could potentially use ScrapeBox, GSA, Money Robot, or any of these spammy tools to get consistent name, address, postcode markers out there on forums, on blog comments and whatever else. I'm not suggesting for a second that you go out and spam this to death because you will be penalized, Google are looking for that, but you can use these tools.

If you're struggling to get above the competition, you may want to do something out of the ordinary to get in there ahead of them. It's certainly not something I would discount doing as getting more consistencies of your name, address and postcode out there. So if you ever hear anyone referring to the postcode trick, that's likely what they're talking about.

Do Google reviews help? Absolutely not. So in this example, it's a lawyer's based in London or Essex, or whatever, I can't remember the exact search was. The top one doesn't have any reviews, the other ones do have reviews. But do Google reviews help? Absolutely not. I'm pretty sure they probably once did help, but because people would obviously then try and game the system, they have to say, "Right, we can't lay any weight to Google reviews because everyone will start setting up fake reviews." So they don't help. You can rank position A on the map listing without a single review, as the previous example showed you.

But Google reviews do help build trust. Certainly building reviews and getting reviews will encourage people to click. So if I go back to this particular example, I'm personally not likely to go to the first guy because he's got no reviews. The other ones look a bit more appealing to me. That may be a personal thing, but in terms of click-through rate and stuff I do believe that these stars do help build trust. They can impact your click-through rate, and the click-through rate is obviously a ranking factor for Google in general. So I don't see that anything that's going to benefit click-through rate is going to be a bad thing, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get tons of fake reviews or anything like that in order to rank your map listing.

So these are some tricks that you can get to help your map listings and get up there, citations being the main one. If you can't be bothered doing it yourself then Citations Builder is a great tool or a great service to use if you want to get it done quickly, easily and properly, so have a look at that.

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