How to get your company on the Google Maps
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If you are just getting started doing SEO for your company and are just trying to get an idea of how to get your business listed on Google Maps, this is a great place to start. I am going to cover the core fundamentals of what the Google Map is, how it works, and what you need to do to at least get the ball rolling in the right direction towards getting you placed on the map.
Fundamentally the Google Map or Google+ Local listing or Google My Business is what shows up when you type in your city plus your services on Google. Up along the top, and along the side is the pay per click, and in the center at the very top of the results page is typically the map listings or what we call Google Places or the Google Map listings. Directly below that in local search is what are typically the organic listings. There is a lot of information about search engine optimization, meta tags, meta descriptions and all of the like but really this is a totally different realm of search engine optimization known as Google My Business Optimization.
So, what do you need to do in order to make sure that you are listed on that map, and more importantly make sure you are showing up on page one over time? There are a number of things you can do, and there are multiple layers of complexity, strategies and things that you can do. The most important thing you can do from the starting point perspective is to go to http://www.Google.com/MyBusiness.
Google has set up this website for business owners to tangibly claim their Google Places listing. If you go there you are going to see two different buttons. On the left side you are going to see one that says, “Consumer / Write Reviews.” On the right side it says “Business Owner? Get Started.” Obviously you want to click on the one that says, “Business owner? Get Started,” and what that will do is take you through the process of claiming your Google Places listing.
The latest statistics indicate that more than 89 percent of users or businesses haven’t claimed their Google Places listing. This creates a great opportunity for your to beat your competition to the punch. One of the first things you want to do is go to https://www.google.com/business and claim your listing so you can at least make sure it’s got all of your right information. Your phone number, your website address (if you have one) description of what you do, some pictures, maybe some coupons. More than anything else make sure that you have control of your own business listing on Google.com, in the places listings.
Some things to be aware of as you claim your Google Places listing. The process is relatively simple. If you have got a Gmail account or some type of Google account, Google will recognize that and let you use that to claim your Google Places listing. If you don’t, you’re going to need to go through the process of establishing your Google account. So that you can claim your Google Places listing.
Once you have logged in, you will need to type in your phone number and company name. Then, the system will search the Google Places directory to see if you already exist in the database. In most cases if you have been in business for any period of time for more than a year, you’re typically going to show up on the list already. So Google will pull up your existing listing and ask you to confirm it’s your and claim your listing. If you don’t, there is another process that will let you add yourself to Google Places. So if you’re a new business or if for some reason you don’t already exist in the Google Places directory, you would press “add new listing.”
In either event it’s going to walk you step by step through the process. You’re going to type in your company name, address, and phone number. You’re going to make sure all of that information is correct. A couple of things to pay attention to as you do that.
Make sure that you use your actual company name. So if you’re, “Landscaped Gardens Incorporated,” make sure that you name it, “Landscaped Gardens Incorporated,” and not some other facsimile thereof like “Landscaped Gardens Services” or “Landscaped Gardens, Your Dallas Landscaped Gardens Company.” Don’t add additional key words in that name. It’s against the Google Places rules and policies. Make sure you keep your name, the actual name of your company.
It is important that you establish your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number Profile) and that it consistently referenced the same way across the web. That it’s showing your company name, phone number, and address the same way every time. As a starting point, if you’re getting started with Google Places, make sure that you make it very simple. And that you use the same methodology for naming yourself across the board. Same with your address. If you’re at 105 SW 10th Street, Suite 105, use that same exact wording. If you’re going to use SW use SW. If you’re going to spell out Southwest, spell out Southwest. If you’re going to use your suite number, “Suite 105”. Make sure you either list it, or you don’t list it, and decide whether it’s going to be “unit number” or “suite number”. List it that same way every single time.
Moving on, once you have added the fundamentals, make sure you add your website address. This is very important. If you don’t have a website, I definitely recommend getting a website setup. I’ve share some ideas on different posts on what the best website formats are, and what pages you want to build to your website from an SEO perspective. Suffice it to say, add your website there. It’s obviously going to drive links to your website, but it is also going to make it easier for your customers to get to you when they do find you on the map.
In your description, I always encourage trying to make sure you list your services and your geographic market in the description. E.G. “Your company is your full service Dallas [Niche Type] Contractor. We provide [Niche Type], emergency [Niche Type] service, water heater installation, and water heater repair. Etc” You have only got about 250 characters for the description so really try and maximize that space to its fullest capability.
Directly below that, you have categories. You want to, obviously, choose the categories that most specifically match what your business does. Don’t add yourself to categories that aren’t relevant. You can add five categories. So, if you’re a [Niche Type] contractor. You can choose the obvious ones from the drop down, “[Niche Type]”. That’s really the only default one that is available.
You do have the option to create custom categories. You might want to add a custom category for “water heater installation”, “water heater repair”, “bathroom remodeling”, etc. That way you’re making sure that you’re categorizing yourself as well as possible. But always exercise the already available categories as much as possible, as opposed to creating some unique category name.
Moving down the list, the next thing that you see is the ability to upload photos and videos. I encourage you, you need to upload as much content here as possible because Google is looking for a complete profile. The more information that you have in there the more complete your profile appears. You can upload upto ten pictures & five videos. Try and use real pictures. Always upload first either your logo, or a picture of you in front of your truck, or a picture of your truck. That way you’re putting something up that is a representative of your company and not just some stock photo. Try and upload pictures that are representative of your organization. So your logo, pictures of your team, etc.
I love to get a team shot. If you have got three guys, 19 guys, or 150 guys, get a picture of the whole company standing in front of the building Or standing in front of a van or standing in front of your vans in an order. That helps people quickly look at who you are and get a grasp.,”Wow this is an enterprise that has some bulk to it, and there are people behind it that drive this business.” My preference would be logo first, then photo second, with a picture of everybody standing in front of the truck, or standing in front of the building. And then an individual shot of the owner, maybe if you’ve got technicians in your company, pictures of your technicians, pictures of your van by itself, pictures of some of the equipment that you guys happen to run. If you’re members of the local chamber of commerce, members of the BBB these are the types of photos that you want to put in your Google Places profile.