Have you ever wondered how to get a map pin when someone searches for your business? With some industries, like hotels and restaurants, when you Google the name of the establishment, a map appears with a pin highlighting exactly where this brick-and-mortar establishment is. Other times, someone might search for “fine dining Salt Lake City” and a map with a series of pins will pop up, each showcasing a different restaurant that falls into that category. This is local SEO (LSEO) through and through. Since many people are more image-driven than text-driven, making sure your business is pinned on maps (if appropriate) can dramatically boost your SEO strategy.
However, understand that not all businesses qualify for a pin. You need to have a physical establishment, which means 100 percent of e-commerce stores are out. There’s not much point in having a pin for your office that’s closed to the public. If you think your business or industry is a good match for map pinning, but you don’t seem to have a pin on the biggest or most relevant of maps, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.
Google (Map) It
In the United States, the most popular search engine by far is Google — so it’s no surprise that Google Maps is one of the most popular map options. Remember: Google likes website owners to be proactive. In order to appear on Google Maps, you need to appear on Google My Business. This requires a Google account (if you have a gmail account, you already have a Google account) and the creation of a Google business listing. The process is simple: Go to www.google.com, search for "google my business," click through and select “get on Google." You can search for your business there. If it's not already listed, you can create a new one by clicking the settings gear icon in the top right corner, and selecting "create new page." From there, you can choose what type of business you own, input the address, phone number, business hours, and other pertinent information, and upload a logo and business image.
Once your profile is complete, you’ll receive a verification code — which will unlock the door to getting your pin on the map. When your code arrives, either via phone or postcard as per your selection, simply log in and voila! Your business is now on Google Maps and nobody but you can change the data. Not only is this an easy method to getting a pin on Google Maps, it also boosts your SEO and helps protect your online reputation.
Mapping Your LSEO Techniques
Each search engine may have different requirements, but they will be similar to the Google approach. You’ll need to claim your business, complete the requested information and put in a little effort to make sure your pin is competitive. If you don’t appear on maps, people who search solely via maps (or who prefer them when they appear in a regular search) won’t find your business. How many times have you gone directly to a map to search for a query? Maybe you wanted to know where the closest café was to your new condo and you searched a map for your address + “café.” How many cafes do you think you missed because they weren’t on maps?
Having that map pin only gives you the opportunity to show up in search results; it doesn't guarantee that you will be seen. Being listed on Google is not the same thing as ranking well. You'll need to employ additional SEO techniques to ensure you appear on the front page of search results. Unlike getting listed, which is a quick and easy one-time task, ranking well on search results pages requires ongoing effort, work, and most importantly, time. Think of it as a journey, one you can begin today.
Pro tip: ask your best customers to give your business a review on Google! These star ratings will show up on the search results page, along with your name and map pin, and they are very influential with new prospects.
LSEO and SEO both have evolving sets of best practices, and it’s challenging to keep up. Contact Be Locally SEO for all your map pinning and other SEO needs, and let the experts take care of creating your X to mark the spot.