If you're struggling to get your Google My Business listing to rank in the notorious three-pack, you're not alone as I have been there too! In fact, up until about four years ago I really struggled to get my clients' GMB's to produce phone calls and leads.
I used to think I could optimize the listing, get the proper citations, and throw a bunch of PBN links at it and I would get rankings.
While this method worked for a couple of years, Google rolled out updates that really wrecked a ton of GMB listings, including my own lead generation properties.
It was at that point I went on a quest to learn Google My Business inside and out. I wanted to learn best practices and how this specific algorithm worked, so that I could service my clients with professional care and long lasting results.
In this article, I want to briefly touch upon getting your foundation right. The reason I say briefly, is because I have an entire FREE eBook on How To Rank On Google Maps 2020, which is called the Map Accelerator.
For your reference, we also have a Facebook group. In addition, for those really looking to take their Map game to the next level, apply to be part of my beta group!
Building Your Foundation
First and foremost, for any business you build, it is imperative to build the foundation out correctly, so you don't have leaky roofs or flooded basements for years to come. It's important to take the time now to build out your listing the right way and get the proper building blocks taken care of.
An Introduction to NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. This is going to be vitally important that you get this perfect every time whenever you create a citation (which I'll cover next) or get a backlink. What you don't want is for one business listing to have a different address than all of your others. This sends mixed signals to Google and we want to clarion clear.
What I do, is I take the business name, address and phone right from GMB, EXACTLY how it is listed on the dashboard, and I put it in a spreadsheet.
Here's an example:
Optimizing Your GMB Listing
For a more in-depth look into these steps, download my free eBook - Maps Accelerator, then, join the facebook group for on-going support!
Be sure to get the right category for your business. Research your competition to see what is RANKING.
It's important to write this out explaining how your business can solve your customers problems, or what your business is all about. DO NOT keyword stuff.
What I have found, is to put your keyword once near the beginning and once towards the end of the 500 character limit. Hire a really good content writer if your English isn't the best, if you don't have time, or if you need a professional to write it for you.
This will be consistent with all platforms and it speaks to when your business is open for operation, ALONG WITH holidays. Fill it ALL IN, or people will be confused as to IF you're open. If people are confused, Google will be confused.
This is so important to get correct, I really can't stress it enough. The key is to get the RIGHT images that signal that your business is real. That is has real people, a real building, work in a real office, provide real services.
Even if you are a lead generation specialist and are using a fake address, you can still get this done. I show you how in Maps Accelerator!
Video is becoming WAY more important now because it's MOTION.
You have to go the extra mile to get videos created, and only real business that care would put in the extra work.
Whether you agree with that statement or not, that's how Google sees it, and we're forced to play by their rules. Mark my words, video is going to be a huge ranking factor for GMBs in the upcoming years.
This won't be an option if your listing is for lead generation. Using the virtual tour feature has proved to be a huge ranking boost for many of my clients.
Products / Services
You should fill out all of the products / services that your business offers with pricing and call to actions. A more complete profile is always better.
Optimizing Your Landing Page / Website
I have found for almost every single one of my listings (and I have over 50) that if my On-Page SEO isn't right, my GMB will have a hard time ranking. So, it's a super strong ranking factor and I cover my all of it in my 5 simple SEO tips that will explode your traffic on Google.
You can also get a lot of information by enrolling in my free course, along with an eBook specifically dedicated to on-page best practices. And finally, I cover tons of these topics on my YouTube channel, which covers all things SEO and business related.
The 3 Secrets to Improving Your GMB Rankings (Get In The 3-PACK)!
Remember, without the proper foundation of your Google My Business listing, website and citations, these three secrets really won't do anything. Download my eBook to learn my exact process to build the proper foundation!
#1: REAL (Looking) Geo-Tagged Images
I realize that many of you that are reading this understand that you need geo-tagged images. However, what I have found that works EXTREMELEY well, is pictures of faces, the outside and inside of the building.
Inside of Maps Accelerator, I show 5 total listings that rank #1. One of those listings is a service based business. It has detailed images of the company, their workers and their product.
Take images (or create images if you're doing lead gen) of the details. An example of this can be the waiting room where there is free wifi for the customers.
The geo-tag image software I use is: https://imagemeta.io/. It's simple to use and it's free. What more can you ask for?
#2: Honest Reviews With Local IP & Keywords
Reviews are a major ranking factor, but we all know that, am I right?
Let me tell you a little story and then reveal my big AHA moment.
During the summer a few years ago, I was getting dinner at a local restaurant that had outdoor seating. After my dinner, I decided to go hang out at the bar for a few drinks to enjoy the nice weather and a night off, you should try it!
Well, you know how it goes - you hang around long enough and people start talking to you (man, I hate it when that happens)!
While I was on my phone checking my GMB rankings, the guy next to me asked, "hey, is everyone your age on that phone thing all day long?" I replied, "I don't know, but it's not like I'm doing work on it."
This is about the time where I'll throw a zinger at the guy to shut him up, but this time, I did something different.
I asked him, "hey, what's your name?" He replied, "I'm Jack." I said, "Hi Jack, I'm Al. Would you give me a 5 star review if I bought you a drink?"
As you can probably imagine, Jack quickly said yes because who doesn't want a FREE drink?
So, I bought him a drink. Then, I showed him what to search for, what to click on, and what to write.
Just like that, I had a 5 star review from the same city that this business was located in, and a search and click!
To be honest, this is much cheaper than buying reviews online, and I get to go hang out at a bar once in a while. SCORE!
This was my AHA moment! And, a SECRET method I have been using for years. However, it isn't the ONLY way I get reviews. I can't tell you all of my secrets!
Getting reviews is one thing, but knowing how to place the keywords takes practice and time.
In Maps Accelerator, I show you how to put your keywords in the reviews, or guide your customers to do it for you through proven templates.
#3: Consistent Posting
Ok, I know what you're thinking. More work.
Well, maybe at first. But, once you get a streamlined process down, you can easily outsource to a VA that's cheap AF.
The key to posting on GMB is just like every other platform - consistency. They want you to stay on this thing and let customers know what deals you have, new things going on and customer success stories.
But... as an SEO guy, posting gives us the opportunity to give more ranking signals to Google! You can add geo-tagged images, videos, and long tail keywords / LSI's.
If you decide to join the paid version of Maps Accelerator, we have templates ready for you to copy / paste into your post. We make it an easy process for any business.
Recap & Final Reminders
Just to recap this article, make sure you have a solid foundation and follow all of my steps in my how to rank in google maps eBook. Also, be sure to use proper On-Page SEO best practices for your website or landing page.
Get Your FREE Copy of Maps Accelerator
Find out my 7 Easy To Follow Steps that you can implement into your business RIGHT NOW, and start getting that phone to ring!