The fact that the average person doesn’t go beyond the first page of search results is well known, and when it comes to Google Maps listings, it’s important for a business’s name to be prominent, too. KeyRelevance’s director of optimization strategies, Chris Silver Smith, gave some tips on this issue at SMX West.
Smith began by naming four factors that can influence search rankings in Google Maps. The first is how close a company’s address is to a city center. He admits that this is hard to control, of course, and luckily for far-flung firms, Google has been deemphasizing it lately.
The second factor is how many ratings a business has received and how positive the ratings are. Then, there are regular SEO factors like how well a business’s website ranks, and finally, more specific matters of keyword relevance.
But what’s one business to do if it serves several different cities? Smith suggested creating targeted content on the main website and listing the cities. There’s also the less conventional approach of obtaining a mailing address in each city, but Smith warned that Google may regard this as spam.
As for whether businesses should give up on advertising in traditional printed yellow page books to focus on Google Maps, Smith doesn’t recommend making hasty decisions. Look at the question on an “is it working for you?” basis, since the answer will depend on the industry, and any move should be results-based.