Go Local The Package
Right now, at the top of the page, Google displays a map and three businesses, then a list results. This map and business listing is the “Google Maps 3 Pack.”
So why does that matter for you?
First, the brands that get highlighted in this three pack are the brands that see the vast majority of clicks. They are the brands that have done a the job of both optimising their local SEO (search engine optimisation) and their business listings.
The main four factors are:
- Well optimised pages which include the industry and location in the metatags
- Number of Google My Business Reviews
- Number of Pages
- Number of Websites Linking to you
So the brands that appear in the 3 pack are the ones you have to compete against. You can probably recognize some of your competitors up there when you do a search.
The other reason why it matters is because this listing used to feature 7 brands. That means there’s even more competition to get featured.
Now, here’s the good news: most local businesses haven’t even claimed their listings! So by doing that you’re already a leg up on the competition. With a little tweaking you can improve your standing.
This should seem self explanatory and for good reason. But even these little details matter when optimizing your listing. The first thing you want make sure is correct in your listing is your business name, address, and phone number (called NAP).
Many businesses don’t even get this far. When it comes to your phone number, here’s a tip, include your local listing first before any other option. This will help you rank higher.
Also add as much information about your company as possible. That includes your business hours and your website address (URL) too. Take a look at this example from a yoga studio. With their hours listed, customers can also see how long people tend to stay, and the busiest time of day
One big factor in improving your overall ranking is your website. Especially when it comes to your NAP information. Google’s algorithms are more advanced than ever. So they don’t solely pay attention to keyword information anymore.
This is where your website comes in. Be sure to include your NAP on your website where you can. If you run a florists in Widnes with a number of locations create a page on your site for each of them that includes their specific NAP. Even better if you can also embed a Google map of the location on each page as well.
The same goes with services. If you run a car repairs garage in Widnes that services BMWs, Mercedes, and Mercedes, make a separate page for each service. Include your name, address, and phone number on each just as you have them in your My Business Listing.
Images are more important than ever when it comes to My Business Listings. You simply can not get away with having a single image, or worse yet, no images in your listing if you want to get into the top 3 on the maps
This is one area where taking the time to upload a lot of images can dramatically improve your listing. Your listing will give you the option for a various different types of images. Use them all.
The easiest images will be your interior and exterior photos. These will help your customer both find your business (very important) and get a feel of the atmosphere too.
There are also options to add images for team members and products, or menu items. Be sure to include these too. And remember, any sort of business can have images. If you are a restaurant, display your dishes. If you are a florist, highlight your beautiful bouquets.
Categories are another often overlooked part of a business listing. Yet, they are very important to getting found by customers. The problem for a lot of businesses is they either ignore categories all together or they chose the incorrect ones for their businesses.
According to Google, you want to select categories that finish this statement: “This business IS a …” rather that “This business does…”
So what we mean here is you want to be specific as to the products or services you offer, but not the features your business has. You want to be sure you use the right categories. Google uses categories as a basis for its recommendations to people’s searches. So, if you use the wrong category, your business won’t be among those recommended by Google in a search. That means you’ll likely lose potential business.
For example, there’s a big difference between people searching for a bakery and a steak house. Both fall under eating and drinking establishments but the categories are quite different. You would not want a potential customer who would love your scones to miss out on your business because you choose the wrong category.
You can see how important it is to have lots of positive reviews about your business. And, keep in mind, reviews are one of the top ranking factors Google looks at.
The more positive reviews your business has, the better chances of it appearing in the Google Maps 3 Pack. Look at the 27 five star reviews from this accountancy firm. There’s no doubt seeing all those positive reviews sways potential customers:
Google loves you asking your customers to leave reviews for you. In fact, from that same survey above they found “70% of customers will leave a review for a business if asked.”
So, it’s time to start asking your customers for reviews, especially if you don’t have any yet. You can encourage them to write a review from the “Review” option on your listing.
Better yet, you can make it easy by making your own review link (follow the instructions here). If you’ve got your customers emails, send them a note with that link and ask for a review.
The final place you want to focus on to optimize your listing is with your NAP citations. Citations are typically defined as mentions of your business name and address on other we bpages — even if there is no link to your website.
To get a better ranking on Google, you will want to get as many citations as you can. This will help separate you from the competition and stand out.
How do you get citations?
There are hundreds of sites out there that you can have your business listed to that will help with your citations. For those in service industries like restaurants or hotels, you also want to be these sites:
- Widnes Life
What we need to do is go to each of these sites, create accounts and include your business NAP. Yes, it can get a bit tedious and time consuming, but that's what we are here fore. We will target the most relevant sites every month to ensure you get ahead and stay ahead.
If your business has an address in Widnes or you live in Widnes, we will automatically register your business on our local business services directory. As part of this, from time to time we will also promote your business on our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Linked in pages.
Why do I need to have an address in Widnes?
The purpose of the website is to keep local people from Widnes up to date with everything that is going on in their area. This includes connecting local business with a local audience. To ensure this happens, we ensure that only those who live or have a business in Widnes can be registered to the directory section.
If you wish to promote your business on our website, you can still do so. Its just this one directory offering that is limited to the area you are based in.
As part of your Go Local plan, you will be entitled to publish 1 story per month on our website. This is a chance for you to tell your audience about your business. The best stories are those that highlight your successes and give a compelling reason why anyone would choose you for a product, service or solution.
How do I publish my story?Simply email us your article content along with your images (each image needs to be resized under 150kb per image) and we will upload on your agreed date.***
We will then push this out on at least one of our social channels to encourage traffic and audience engagement.
*** Please note, if you are unable to send images in the right format, we may not be able to publish them. This is because if we reduce them in size for you it may impair the origional quality. We do offer an image guidance service. For this we charge £5 per 5 images for resizing. We decided on 150kb per image because if you have large images on your web page, it can dramatically increase how long the page takes to load, ultimately causing the viewer to bounce off the page without seeing your content
As part of your plan, we will design a professional advert based on your colours and theme of your website. We will always do the first design for free. Should you wish to provide your own artwork then you can always do this.
If you wish us to design your advert in a particular way, with proofs provided, we offer a low cost design service of £99 for every 2 samples we produce for you.
Your advert will always have at least 2 weeks on our home page on the right hand side bar. There will only ever be a maximum of 5 adverts on this part of the advert. If your advert is not on the home page, then we will endeavour to place it on a relevant category page to your business.Please note: the position of your advert on the sidebars is never guaranteed and will be moved around from time to time to ensure our website remains fresh and current for our audience.
If your website is hosted with us, you are entitled to 5 free images per month, simply go o on to shutterstock and get the image code you wish and send it to us. We will then email you the images in a jpeg format.Please note, unless you are on a service plan that offers free resizing and / or uploading of your images to your website, you will need to do this yourself.
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