How do I rank in Maps? NAP time

When you search for something on Google or Bing, there are multiple algorithms at work trying to serve you the most relevant ads and search results possible. And a question we’ve heard more often deals with the Maps that appear in the results, known by many as Local SEO results.

Google has emphasized local SEO and their map packs in serach results

They’re a visual aspect of Google search and have become much more common as mobile devices continue to increase in popularity. And who doesn’t like a visual result instead of a list of text?

To get a general feel for your company’s current local SEO ranking, search for a word/phrase you want to rank for. If you see your Google My Business listing in the Map immediately, then you’re ranking well! If not, click “More Places” and scroll down to determine how you rank.

There’s are many factors involved in Google’s determination of what to show you in the map. Contrary to popular belief, how close you are to the business is not the only reason you do/don’t show (though it can be a strong factor).

In fact, if you look at a list provided by Moz, one of the most important things is your NAP: Name, Address, and Phone Number.

Your NAP can be found across the internet on a bevy of sites. Google Maps and Bing are two known places, and you’ve likely perused Yelp, TripAdviser, or Facebook for information before. There are plenty of others, like Citysearch, Angie’s List, HotFrog, etc.

Why is this so important? Look at the Moz list again, focusing on the list of “Top 50 local stack/snack pack factors” – essentially, the most important list of factors that determines what Google shows in the map when a person is searching:

  1. Physical address in city of search
  2. Consistency of structured citations
  3. Proper GMB (Google My Business) category associations
  4. Proximity of address to the point of search

The first simply looks at your address. If you want people to find you in Augusta, but your address is in North Augusta or Evans, Google takes note of that.

The second is NAP consistency. A citation is your business listing on a site like Yelp. So your business hopefully has a citation on Google Maps, Bing, Yellowpages, etc. This is where ensuring your data is correct is so key – it’s regarded as extremely important!

Third deals with your Google My Business listing. If you don’t have one, they are free and are extremely easy to use. Google checks the primary category on your listing to see if it matches what a person is searching for – but if it’s the incorrect listing, you’ll be docked for it. For instance, if we, an advertising agency, starting listing ourselves as an automotive dealer – Google would see right through that!

You can have Google hone in on your exact locationThen, yes, how close a person is to you (based on Google’s approximation of where you currently are) when they search does impact what shows up. Many times, it’s a guess within the city’s limits, though you can scroll down the bottom of the page and click “Use precise location” to allow Google to hone in even further.

Also note the top negative ranking factors, especially the second one: “Listing detected at false business address.” Sometimes, even Google gets it wrong – so make sure it’s right!

One great place to check? Start with the data aggregators. Factual and Localeze are two of them, and finding your business information is fairly easy.

Many other sites pull their information from the data aggregators, meaning if your business information is listed incorrectly in one of those four, there’s a strong chance other well-regarded sites have wrong info about you. So start from the top!

These are just a few factors, and other SEO-related tactics also factor in. When we perform Search Engine Optimization on a site, we work to implement best practices throughout your site, from page titles to meta descriptions and yes, your Google My Business page and more. And we have experience tracking down incorrect citations and getting your business maximum exposure.

If you aren’t sure how your online presence appears, we’ll find out and provide you a plan to improve it. There are many benefits to engaging in a local SEO campaign, so ask us how we can help you today!

phone 706.651.0053 | fax 706.651.0535
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