Google Maps

Claiming and completing your Google map listing is the first step in getting your business into the Google Maps 7-pack.  This is the group of 7 listings that show up when google determines that the search term has local intent.  If you don’t show up in these 7 listings, you will be in the “more results” and not likely to gain any notice.

If you do manage a decent listing in the 7-pack by just claiming and completing your listing, don’t get too complacent.  Soon, your competitors will see the value of being in the 7 pack and the battle will begin.  Maybe they will even hire a local marketing firm like ours and then they spot can be in trouble.

There are a bunch of factors that google looks at when picking the 7-pack.  The true formula is not known of course but through testing and trial and error, we know some of the content that will help.

A few of these items are citations and reviews.  Here is a quick review of what they are.

First, let’s look at citations.  A citation is when your NAP (name, address, phone) is mentioned on another website.  They don’t always have likes leading back to a website since lot’s of businesses don’t have websites.  Google sends it’s spiders through the web and when they note your NAP, you get credit.  How much credit is up for debate.  Was it found on an unrelated site?  A local site? Maybe a related category site?  Google may take those factors into account but how we can’t really say.  What makes sense is plain old marketing.  The more relevant the sites google finds your NAP on the better it is for you in developing trust.

ou can get citations in many different ways.  Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com infousa.com are just a sample of the many directories out there that may help. Obviously the goal for citations is to have more and better quality than your competitors.  But there should also occur in a natural way.  A bit at a time.  Thousands of citations just showing up and google may frown upon it.  ONe of the most important things to consider is consistentcy.  Your NAP needs to be the same across all citations for them to have the best effect.

The next big local item is reviews.  Right now it does not appear that google is loking at the quality of reviews but just quantity.  From testing and seeing others results, it looks like lots of reviews will outrank lots of citations but with google, it’s all subject to change.  The reviews can come from numerous sites and goolge will often put them into the map listing itself.  A few of the revies sites you may want to pay attention to are Yelp, JudyBook, Yellowbot, Cityvoter, Citysearch, Yellowpages,  and Kudzu. 

Managing your reviews is a huge part of reputation management now.  It’s easy for anyone to jump on the web and hit you with a poor review on many sites.  It’s key to get your good customers posting for you and answering the bad reviews.  The biggest Don’t is faking reviews, this will ultimately end up badly for you.

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