For businesses looking to be found by customers in their local area, a properly optimised Google Maps listing is vital. Only the top 3-5 businesses appear in the first selection of organic Google search results for local seaches and if a listing has not been set up properly then a business simply doesn’t stand a chance of appearing there.
How important is a Google Maps listing for a local business?
With most search traffic now coming from mobile browsers, Google assumes that when users search for local services such as ‘cafe’ or ‘plumber’ they are most likely looking for something they can get to quickly, something nearby. To make search results even easier for their users the understand, Google delivers a small selection of nearby services matching the search, illustrated with points on a map of the local area. These appear above the list of full website links on both mobile and desktop browsers when Google think someone is searching for something local.
For anyone providing a local or in-person service then, it’s critically important that they appear prominently in the results of these searches, or they risk missing out on a huge amount of search traffic.
Google Maps SEO tips
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re ranking for local search terms:
- Get your business listed on Google My Business and make sure your profile is complete
- Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across all channels. This includes your website, social media profiles, review sites and directory listings
- Use local business schema markup on your website so Google can identify and show your physical location
- Use local keywords in your URLs, heading tags, title tags and content, where appropriate
How we carry out our Google Maps SEO service
We’ll take a look at the current state of your listings, checking for even the most minor of mistakes which could be hindering your business’ search performance. When we’re sure all information is completely accurate, we’ll populate the listing as fully as possible. Extra information such as specific opening times, special offers, images and links all have an impact here. Our web developers can also implement coding into your website which signals to Google where your business is located and the area it serves, which in turn reinforces the performance of the Maps listing.
Do reviews matter for Google Maps rankings?
In a word, yes they do. This is one of the key differences between conventional “website” SEO and work that focuses on improving the performance of your Google Maps listing. Getting a constantly increasing number of high quality reviews can have a significant impact on your SEO performance. And we can help you do this.
Our review and reputation monitoring service will be included in any local SEO service, to help pool reviews and mentions from elsewhere on the web. When the business’ details match correctly between Maps and directory listings, reviews on sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and so on are pulled through to appear alongside its Maps listing, in turn increasing the chances of attracting new customers through the reassurance offered by the positive feedback.
Get help with your Google Maps SEO
If you want to improve the local search performance of your Google Maps listing, our Google Maps SEO service is the best place to start. Get your business in front of more people in your local area and start connecting with more potential customers today. To get started simply get in touch with our team to arrange a free consultation.
Frequently asked questions
SEO involves a number of tactics which are used in combination to improve the search performance of a website. This is not the same as directly increasing traffic to your website, but if the SEO has been carried out properly then of course the traffic should follow. In order to ensure SEO actually drives traffic to a website the campaign needs to be planned to increase the search performance for specific phrases that customers are actually searching for. We always take the time to research how your customers search, what kind of language and phrases they use, before beginning to optimise your presence for better search performance.
It’s a statistical fact that the vast majority of Google search users do not even look at the second page of search results. If you have invested in a website for your business, you’re going to want it to appear on the first page if you want to make it truly worthwhile. By appearing on first page, you’ll get your name in front of thousands and thousands more potential customers, building trust and familiarity with each one and dramatically increasing your chance of a customer conversion.
Investing your marketing budget into SEO is the way to get there. Competition is fierce of course, so a strategy is needed to push a business onto the first page and in order to maintain that position and increase performance further. Remember also, it’s not just web traffic, there’s a great deal of prestige attached to appearing at the top of search results due to the positive impact it has on the perception of your business.
There are hundreds of factors which govern how a business appears in search results and they’re constantly evolving. If your website has suddenly disappeared from Google’s results pages there could be many factors involved. If Google have recently made changes to their guidelines or algorithms this could have affected your site. Alternatively it could be connected to recent changes on your site, hacking, or some links to your site from questionable sources may have been found. Don’t do anything drastic. It is possible to recover a website when this happens so don’t worry, we can put together a strategy to bring your site back to life.
If your website suddenly drops in Google’s rankings it can be a pretty nasty shock for your business. A bit of investigation will be needed in order to work out exactly what is happened and how to fix it. Remember, many people are competing for the top spots in search results, so it could be that your competitors have upped their SEO budget and you’re no longer publishing enough content or building enough links to compete. We can carry out a full SEO audit of your site to work out what’s going on and the best way to fix it.
There are a lot of different components involved in SEO. Local SEO generally involves a greater focus on accurate local listings in search engines, analysing the strengths and weakness of local competition and optimising your web presence for best performance against them. National strategies can involve a greater amount of content and specifically targeting different areas of your chosen market. These are broad descriptions and can change depending on the project. If you’re unsure which type of SEO you need, ask yourself if your customers primarily come from your local area or further afield.
Webmaster Tools sometimes penalises sites which have had SEO work carried out against Google’s guidelines. Over the years some SEO providers have discovered ways to play the system, achieving big improvements in visibility for their clients in a very short space of time. Since they have gone against Google’s guidelines, when they are discovered the sites in question are penalised. Sometimes this happens some time after the questionable SEO was carried out and can catch business owners off guard. It is possible to recover from this, so if you need a little help then do get in touch. All SEO carried out by Alloy Marketing is ‘white-hat’, which is to say it follows Google’s guidelines proper and avoids risking any penalties.
Please don’t! This is one of the oldest and worst SEO practises around, the links will be virtually worthless and will damage your site’s credibility in Google’s eyes. Our SEO does involve link building, but focusses on high value links from reputable sources. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; there are no quick fixes!
Yes. We require that you sign up for a minimum of three months for our SEO plans. We have found that proper SEO requires this amount of time for its effects to be felt. Underhanded quick fixes which deceive Google might provide an immediate boost but will damage your visibility in the long run so we always avoid them, be wary of those promising quicker results. We want your business to grow, so we craft stable and reliable strategies for our clients. If you would like to end your contract after three months that’s no problem at all, but we know when you begin to see the results you will be delighted.
Whether one is superior to the other depends on the results you’re looking for. Where PPC excels is in achieving instant results, but if it’s not backed up by any SEO work the benefit will stop as soon as the campaign is turned off. For businesses with a very limited budget, SEO offers longer-term and more sustainable growth so is generally a better investment of marketing budget. We find the best way to grow a business is to try to create a bit of budget flexibility in order to prioritise budget into different areas over the life of a campaign. Strategic bouts of PPC during a longer term SEO campaign can be very effective. Our marketing retainers were created with this sort of flexibility in mind.
Regardless of budget, we normally advise clients it will be between two and three months before they begin to feel the benefit of our SEO work. The work we carry out results in long-lasting SEO benefits, the initial time taken to feel the results reflects the time it takes for Google to recognise and respond to the optimisations we make. Some factors which affect how long it can take to achieve noticeable results include the state of the competition in your industry, the competition around the specific search terms you’d like to rank for and the area you wish to target, for example a town, a city or a country.
We operate fully ‘white hat’ SEO strategies, meaning all work is carried out in accordance with Google’s guidelines.Whilst some providers may promise quick fixes, the penalties for going against Google’s guidelines are severe and can see a website completely removed from search listings.
- Some aspects of your brand’s web presence such as social media mentions and shares are picked up almost immediately.
- Other aspects of your SEO campaign such as links and mentions on websites, are not noticed by the bots, until the next time they visit the page has a link or mention of your business. So there is not much we can do to speed up the discovery of mentions and links on other people’s websites.
- Also, if you are in a very competitive market, but are only paying for a basic plan, it can take months before your campaign builds enough momentum to start climbing rankings.
About our SEO plans
- All plans contain an equal feature-set, the only difference is the amount of time our team work each month on your campaign
- Our SEO strategy is based on a “recipe” of activities that we break down between to our team with various talents, to make the most effective use of your budget.
- The more you spend each month, the more hours our team complete and the faster your rankings improve.
- Our regular publishing builds a growing audience online and a search engine ranking potential within your website, that enables your own, more important news to reach a larger audience at the moment you need to broadcast it. The same applies for the social media aspects of the service
When can I expect to see results and what will those results be?
- SEO traction usually begins in month 2, as the momentum builds 1st page rankings are typically seen within 6 months, depending on the competitive environment online in your niche.
- Above the fold (positions 1-5) rankings for high competition keywords are usually seen towards the 6month – 1 year mark.
What kind of benchmarks do we set for the campaign so we can measure the progress of the program?
- Keyword rankings and traffic will be tracked daily and reported on once a month
- All the activity for link building is tracked and reports are available on request
- Every single task for our team is created in our PM software and tracked
- We will send you access to our interactive online analytics and rankings software.
- We have Online marketing KPI dashboards available on request that can be shown in your sales office on a big screen, to monitor any combination of analytics, conversion or Social KPIs in real-time prices, from £10 per month.
What is the value I can expect from your service?
- Your website can expect significant increase in converting traffic. Average Alloy SEO customers see a 70% increase within the first year of being a client.
- Our average client receives 1,721% return on investment within 1 year of starting an SEO campaign with us.
- We have a 98% client retention rate which speaks to the satisfaction and ROI our client’s experiences with us.
The owners of the search engine ranking algorithms (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo etc,) spend millions trying to combat spam and fight companies using unethical techniques to manipulate the rankings.So with odds stacked against the average small business owner – it’s just not practical anymore to recommend anything but a completely white-hat or ethical and Google webmaster guidelines compliant service to customers.
- No outsourced work means:
- Full accountability and the lowest possible risks for you
- High standards of copy-writing
- Your business’ best interests in mind at all times
- Full reporting and tracking across your investments
Another great description of White-hat SEO
In search engine optimisation (SEO) terminology, White Hat SEO refers to the usage of SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies. For example, a Web site that is SEO optimised, yet focuses on relevancy and organic ranking is considered to be optimised using White Hat SEO practices. Some examples of White Hat SEO techniques include using keywords and keyword analysis, back-linking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content for human readers White Hat SEO is more frequently used by those who intend to make a long-term investment on their Web site. Also called Ethical SEO. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/White_Hat_SEO.html
How to appear in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)
Search results from Google and others are compiled by computer algorithms designed to provide the user with relevant and useful results based on the ‘search terms’, or keywords, they have entered. What is referred to as the ‘organic’ search results appear as lines of text down the left hand side of the results page. In search engine marketing, creativity and adaptability is used to help client’s websites become known, trusted and prominent in the ‘organic’ search results. This process is known as Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.
So – How do you appear higher in the search results?
Search engine optimisation is the process of improving a website and the presence of a brand on the internet in order to increase visibility in the organic search engine results. Because search engines do not accept payment for listing in the organic search results this involves optimising a website for hundreds of factors (as Matt Cutts mentions in the video) to improve the website’s compatibility, whilst creating a quality website that others will want to visit and link-to.
The official word from Google themselves
Google’s former spokesman for the quality of Google search results Matt Cutts explains in the video below how Google finds website pages through links, indexes them (for storage) and then ranks the pages to appear in search results for particular search keywords entered by the user:
Search Engine Optimisation is a complex process involving improvements to hundreds of aspects of your website and the presence of your business online.
Search engines like Google collect huge amounts of data on the websites they display in the results of a search. They use this data and combine it with complicated calculations to work out which websites to show and where to show them in the results of a search. SEO involves learning about what the search engines are looking for when they collect data on a website and how they process this data, then using this knowledge to optimise the web presence of a business in order appear higher in search rankings. The result is that the business is seen by more customers. Several studies have shown that the vast majority of searchers do not look beyond the results at the top of the first page. The elements of an SEO plan are varied but typically include a combination of link building, content creation and technical audits of a client’s website and business information.
Every SEO agency will have their own ‘recipes’ used to distribute their client’s budgets across all these hundreds of different areas. You can get an idea of our SEO recipe below to give you an idea of how we distribute your monthly budgets.
Some SEO companies will spend all of your budget on building “dubious” links from unrelated (or very loosely related) websites across the world, often from Asian countries. This may give your website a boost for just a few weeks or months, but soon after the Google algorithm will detect the deception and erase the value that those links were passing to your website, causing your website to drop out of the organic search results. If enough of these deceptive techniques are detected, the Google algorithm will send an alert triggering a human Google employee to undertake a “manual website review”, which can result in a complete ban of your website domain from the Google search results.
Our approach, on the other hand, is to build a genuine online presence for your business through a great, regularly updated website, sustained social media presence, finding great sites across the world related to your business and gaining links from them to your website. We might adjust our recipe in the first few months of your SEO campaign, in order to compensate for specific weaknesses in your online presence. But after a few months our work usually settles down into the standard campaign routine, with your budget distributed as shown in the pie charts below.
Whether you need local or national SEO depends on the type of business you have. Local SEO services are ideal for getting more customers into a venue, for example a bar or restaurant, or for being found by customers when providing a service in a single town or city, for example for a sole trader or a repair person.
National SEO is for companies who provide country-wide or international services and sales. These require a different approach since they need to reach a much wider customer base. Typically if your business sells goods of any sort online, a national SEO plan is the way to go.