Remember the good old days, when Maps used to generate 7 local results instead of just the top three? Holding onto the nostalgia without changing your strategy won’t give you the boost you need to make it into the coveted 3-pack. If you’re looking to be visible above the link to view “more places” in Tucson, you’ll need a strategy that will work from multiple angles in order to help you get where you belong.
Since the 3-pack now includes more information than it used to, you’re going to need to provide a little more information. You’ll also need some backup from other corners of the internet to boost your authority and you’ll want to fortify your website for a stronger presence.
Make Yourself Current With Google My Business
Google My Business, or GMB, is more important now than ever. Make sure all of your information is easy to read, accessible, and most importantly, current. If you don’t have an address for your physical location listed, you won’t be able to optimize for or target the area. Make sure your business is owner verified and that the information you’ve given GMB is consistent with the information you’ve given on other parts of the internet. You want to be verifiable from as many points as possible.
Gather Up A Ton Of Reviews
Google views reviews as a form of legitimacy. The more reviews you have, the more established you’ve become. Reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are important, but you also want to make sure you’re getting enough reviews directly to your Google business page.
Google can and will figure out if you’re writing your own reviews or buying them. You can be penalized for it and businesses that have been penalized rarely if ever make their way back into the local search results. Google doesn’t have a problem with local businesses asking their customers for reviews – just make sure you’re doing it ethically so as not to raise red flags.
Focus On Creating Original, Valuable Content
Organic SEO is king and it always will be. This means that the content on your website needs to provide some sort of value. If your website is bare or contains only reposted or generic content, Google doesn’t even see you. Update your website regularly, get clicks the good old fashioned way, and optimize your website to enhance user experience.
Since more than half of all web traffic is mobile, you’ll also want to implement mobile optimization. A lot of people look for local businesses while they’re already out and about, and they’ll be finding you via Smartphone. If Google knows your website won’t display properly on their phones, they’d rather direct them to a website that will.
Make The Most Of Your Inbound Links
Networking establishes the foundation for an excellent reputation, and that’s precisely where your inbound links come into play. Band together with other local businesses, and help each other out. Quality inbound links, particularly those with keywords relevant to the location in the anchor text, will show that you’re real and open for business.
How you obtain those links is up to you, but there are a few relatively simple strategies you can employ. One would be to partner with local businesses for something like a charity drive or a local event. Another would be to directly cross promote with each other. For example, a pizza shop and an ice cream shop could easily share business without fear of competition.
Create A Series Of Dedicated Pages
If you have three or four locations for your business, you need to make sure that each location is individually optimized. If they’re 25 miles apart, that makes a huge difference in Google being able to provide relevant local results to someone. Optimize each dedicated page for its specific location.
You’ll also want every product or service you offer to have its own page. It’s perfectly fine to create an index of sorts that would incorporate them all into a single summary, list, or menu, but creating a page for each thing individually will improve your optimization for the subjects.
Build Authority With Citations
List yourself in as many directories as possible and include current name, address, and phone number information within those directories. Getting links and mentions in as many local internet publications as possible (such as newspapers or blogs about your area) will reinforce your SEO. You can even go broader by networking with larger publications or websites that are relevant to your specific industry.
I Don’t Have Time To Do All Of This
If you’re not even sure where to start, we are. We’re SEO experts and we often help small businesses dominate Google maps. If you want us to get to work on it, you can call us or drop us a line through our contact form. We’ll be more than happy to help you move towards Google’s 3-pack.