Currently there are three business listings that come up on the map on the first page of Google for a local search. There is plenty of competition to pop up in Google’s coveted ‘Local 3-Pack’. Let’s look at some of the ways you can optimise your local listing to stand a better chance of coming up on there:
- Verify your business with Google My Business
Go into the Google search and type in ‘Google My Business’. Go into GMB and then sign in using your Gmail. Continue to follow the prompts to add the location of your business. You will have to order a postcard to be sent to your address. Once you have received this postcard in the mail you can verify your business using the verification code.
You will now have GMB which includes a new business Google+ page and possible a Google brand page. Your account will be ‘Published’ along with your address location on Google Maps.
2. Fill out your GMB
Make sure that you enter the correct details into your GMB. Make sure that you choose the correct categories for your business. These are essentially keywords for your listing. You can choose one primary category and other secondary ones. You are able to write an introduction for your business where you can include keywords.
It is advisable that you have at least the recommended minimum amount of content on your Google+ page. You can go to your dashboard and look at what Google wants from you in regards to photos. Don’t leave it empty like in the image below. You may not have the required content with you but it doesn’t matter, just fill it out with the most relevant content you can find on the internet.
3. Regularly post content on your Google+ page
Google might reward you if you have an active Google+ page with fresh content. Google is only going to be more happy when people use their platforms especially the sleeping giant that is Google+. So post messages, photos, write comments on other pages, follow other pages, get more followers, upload YouTube videos, post links to other blog posts, and the list goes on.
It is hard to tell the impact your Google+ activity has on your rank however Google is certainly not trying to discourage active engagement. In fact they may well reward you richly for your efforts, if you’re lucky.
4. Get reviews up there
Contact friends, family, loyal customers and ask them to write a review. We suggest you don’t just send out emails, call these people directly. People forget or will never get round to it with just a mere email. You want to come up on there with the star rating:
The reviews will make you stand out on those listing even if you are not necessarily on the front page. Google is trying to push engagement and writing a positive review is the biggest endorsement someone can give your business in regards to Google.
5. Enter NAP (Name, Address and Phone) citations on directories
List the business NAP on as many directories as you can find. This way you will be able to validate that you are who you say you are on the Google Maps. Use the Google Search to find a blog post with a list of the best directories for your country.
Make sure that you have consistent NAP listings across these various directories. This is because Google might get confused if you have different details across different directories. You may need to update old listings if the phone number or address has changed
6. Build backlinks to your Google+ URL
You will have to start building links to your Google+ page. This might increase your page’s authority and it will get you more traffic on to your page. This will result in more follows, comments and more engagement with your audience. Google+ pages with plenty of backlinks will rank higher in the map listings. Have a look at this article to get started building your backlink profile.
7. Optimise your website
It is no lie that the businesses in the 3-pack often have well optimised websites. It is important to analyse your website’s SEO performance. Using this tool allows you to start looking at the SEO performance of other websites. Ask yourself the big SEO questions: are you ranking for any keywords? What is your backlink profile like? Start looking into the possible improvements that can be made.
If you’ve never done SEO for your website before then it is an exciting time for you. It is time to start learning all about the SEO process.