Google AdWords has done away with the local business ad that allowed you to specifically target Google Maps with your ads. For some AdWords programs we had set up separate campaigns just to feed results to the sponsored ad section on Google Maps with great results for some clients. With this important change for Google Maps, organic placement of your Google maps listing is now even more important, but just how do you improve your local organic Google Maps placement? This article may very well help you. You can visit this article on our website at: http://www.mccordweb.com/e-newsletters/instructions/google-maps-placement.php
“Why is my competitor the top site in Google Maps? How can I get there too?” Google has been pretty closed mouthed about their Google Maps algorithm and there really does not seem to be a lot of information on the Web about how to garner top placement. I decided that I should dig into this topic to try to find out what can be done to try to improve Google Maps placement for you.
First, it is important to understand that Google Maps will return the businesses that are in closest proximity to the center of the search query location. For example if I enter a search query in Google Maps for web design Waldorf Maryland, my own site appears in the number two position and one of my competitors appears first. She is located very close to the geographic center of Waldorf, has a site similar to mine and has been in business for a while. I am actually located about 9 miles or so out of Waldorf yet appear in a higher position than other sites that are located actually in Waldorf.
So, it appears that proximity is important to the center point of the search query, but Google is also taking into account other key factors when sorting the results. As I analyze my own situation, I see that my competitor has links from several very specific community sites that I do not have such as a link from the Chamber of Commerce, The Southern Maryland Tech Council, and a local business directory. Specifically, in my case I have nearly two times the amount of inbound links to my site than my competitor does, but I do not have the Chamber or County resource links. Clearly links from local directories and resources are more important for ranking in Google maps than the amount of content on a site and possibly even the number of inbound links to a site. Google Maps is very heavily weighting certain local factors in regard to determining top Google Maps position.
Additionally, in my case, reviews do not seem to be an important issue for my own Google Maps position, but they can be helpful for many businesses. In regard to Google Maps position and service reviews, you will not necessarily take a position hit for reviews or lack there of unless your competitor has several reviews and you have none.
The amount of information that your Local Business listing for Google Maps does not seem to be a big factor either for top Google Maps placement. In my case, I have a depth of information my competitor has literally no depth of information in her Google Maps listing. So depth of information although important and helpful to readers does not impact Google Maps placement.
In my case the only clear difference that is impacting Google Maps placement is the type of local authority links that my competitor has. As I did further research on this topic, I did find some helpful tips that I would like to share with you that may help you as you work to raise your Google Maps position.
- Get links from other local resources. If you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce make sure that they have linked to your website from theirs. Consider other authoritative local listing sites, but stay away from link farms. Other local sites might include the Yellow Pages, local business associations, and local review sites.
- Make sure to include your street address, and at least your city and state on each page on your website in text versus in an image.
- On your contact page repeat your full address with the city and even list the local areas your service by name.
- Add as much information as you can to your Local Business listing such as hours driving directions, areas served, consider adding a local coupon or discount.
- If you do not have a Google Local Business listing which will show in Google Maps, you can get one free from Google. You will need to create a Google account in order to do so.
If you don’t think that you should be thinking about your own Google Maps position, you may want to think again. In many cases Google is now showing Google Map listings on top and above all organic listings. Improving your own position on Google Maps is doable and can help improve your overall visibility on the Web.