Google Maps & Local SEO in 2016

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 19, 2016

If there’s one thing that’s true about the advancement of technology, it’s that consumers continue to change how they search for services. Because of this, social media, content marketing, SEO and everything else needs to adjust for 2016 to help meet the consumers halfway. In particular, it’s a good idea to make a few changes to your tactics to ensure your local SEO is up to snuff for Google Maps and social media.

Social Media is Great for Local Connections
Nowadays, consumers are pretty much online all the time, easily reached through social media on their smartphone devices and on websites. They’re always talking about what they’re doing, buying, eating and interacting with on a daily basis. Because of this behavior, businesses are relying on social media to help drive their overall SEO and marketing strategy.

Google Knowledge Graph Remains Important
As will be true for the future, Google’s Knowledge Graph affects how brands implement their SEO. Businesses want to rank high on Google and appear on Google Maps to help contribute to the knowledge graph. The more information about your business you feed to Google, the more you’ll show up in search results that have to do with the business. This is a great way to knock out competition.

It’s Critical to be Visible Online
Ensuring your NAP (name, address, phone number) stats are consistent across the Internet, your business will stand a better chance if directory site information is up to date. It’s not just important–it’s vital as consumers need trust to connect with a brand.

Getting on Other Directories
This tactic is a great way to improve your shots of appearing on Google Maps, Google results and other directories. Yet it manages to be overlooked by too many companies.

To begin, perform a few searches related to your industry and where your business is located. Let’s say you own a dog daycare in the Portland, OR area. To research your field, you might search:
– dog daycare Portland, OR
– dog care Portland, OR
– Portland dog care
– Portland dog kennel
– pet sitter in Portland

You want to find your competition, so get creative here. The goal is to find the common businesses that keep ranking high in each of these searches.

When you have a few businesses written down, head to each Google profile and check their reviews. You’ll find plenty of data that Google has located on the Internet about the company and listed. Clicking “more about this place” can also gain you access to additional snippets that mention the company that Google has found. In these two ways, you can find places on the Internet to list your own business and create sources to improve your own rankings.

These websites are places that Google has crawled and located information about the business. This is the part that relates to Google Maps; not only does it require a higher number of listings, but each of the sources need to be high quality, and the information must be consistent across each one. Absolutely everything about the formatting must be congruent. Consider that the following addresses are all different:
– 123 E Road Street
– 123 East Road Street
– 123 E Road Street Suite 200
– 123 East Road Street #200

In addition to potentially improving your own local rankings for your website and local SEO campaign, most of these tips should help you get started with a link building strategy as well. Even if you aren’t seeking to specifically improve local SEO, this tactic is a great way to improve how many quality websites are linking to yours.