In part two we talked about how to leverage content from Google Maps for your business. In part three we talk about what works to rank well in Google Maps and Google Local. He started off saying what does not work and he said NAP (name, address and phone number) consistency. You really do not need to worry if your NAP consistency is correct across the web, it doesn’t matter anymore he said. He said this is no longer critical since 2012.
What is critical to ranking well in Google Maps is having a good web site, good links, good content, good site structure and all of that. Reviews he said are helpful for direct ranking and also because Google uses review for relevance and reach (distance) of your business, and it helps you with conversions for your business. He said mentions or citations, is often not thought about, but he thinks it is important for local rankings. Mentions of your business without a link, matters, these are mentions in press and newspapers even without links (here is that mentions article).
Mike explains that outside of ranking, business conversions can also be improved through Google Maps. Things like great photos, reviews, filling in your Q&A, putting in your services and your products and so forth. This actually helps Google steer searchers away from your web site and into your Google business listing but also helps those searchers make a buying decision sooner.
I asked Mike what is harder, local or web SEO – he said some things are harder and some things are not. You are not competing on a national level in Google Maps but Google Maps does have more moving pieces he said.
COVID-19 did have an impact on reviews and Google Maps listings. He did a deep dive on how reviews and ratings have changed around COVID. He said employees and customers were stressed and it showed up in these reviews. This includes mask complaints, on both ends. He went through some very specific examples on why he thinks COVID has such an impact on company ratings in Google Maps. Most of those reviews will be on those listings forever, but there are some reviews that can be removed according to Google’s reviews policies.
Google has been very active around COVID and adapting Google Local and Maps to help searchers around COVID. We’ve seen countless changes around local business, hospital information, doctor offices and so much more.
We rounded out the conversation talking about the local SEO community and the various characteristics of this community.
You can follow Mike on Twitter at @mblumenthal and via email at email@example.com.
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Forum discussion at YouTube.