How to Optimize Your Google Maps Listing
Getting your plumbing business listed on the Google Map for "Plumber + Your City" and other important keywords comes down to 3 core criteria.
1. Having a claimed and optimized Google Places Listing.
2. Establishing a consistent N.A.P. profile across the web via Citation Development.
3. Having real reviews from your real customers in your true service area.
In this post, I will explain how to properly optimize your Google Maps/+ Local listing.
If you have not already claimed your Google+ Local Listing, you can get instructions by clicking here.
There are a number of best practices that you should be aware of in order to properly optimize your Map listing.
- Company Name - Always use your legal Company Name - don't stuff additional words into the Name Field. Ex. If your company name is "Joe's Plumbing," don't add keywords like "Joe's Plumbing - Dallas". This would be against the Google Places Guidelines and will reduce the probability of moving up in the rankings.
- Address - In the "Address Field," use your EXACT legal address.You want to ensure that you have the same address listed on your Google Places listing as it is on all the other online directory listings such as YellowPages.com, CitySearch.com, Yelp.com, etc. The consistency of your N.A.P. (name, address, phone number profile) is very important for placement.
- Phone Number - Use a local (not an 800 number) and your real office number rather than a tracking number. We find that 800 numbers don't rank well. If you use a tracking number, it won't be consistent with your other online directory listings and ultimately won't rank well.
- Categories - You can use up to five categories, so use ALL of them. Be sure to use categories that describe what your business "is" rather than what it "does." So, you can use "Plumber", "Plumbing Contractor" and "Water Heater Repair Contractor" rather than "Plumbing Repair" or "Drain Cleaning." The latter would be considered a violation of Google's regulations and would hurt you rather than help.
- Service Area and Location settings - Google offers two options here 1. No, all customers come to my location, and 2. Yes, I serve customers at their location. As a home services business (plumbing, HVAC, roofing, etc.), you need to select option two because clearly you and your technicians are visiting the customers at their location. Not doing so can result in a penalty on your listing.
- The next option is "Do not show my address". If you work from a home office, it is required that you select "Do not show my address". Not doing so puts you at risk of having your listing deleted.
- If you don't have a business address or a home address to list, the only other option is a Virtual Office. Unfortunately, P.O. Box addresses and mail boxes don't tend to rank well.
- Picture and Video Settings - You can upload up to ten pictures and five videos. Use this opportunity to upload authentic content about your company. It's always best to use real photos of your team, office, and equipment rather than stock photos.
- Pictures - You can get more juice from this section by saving the images to your hard drive with a naming convention such as "your city + plumber - your company name" rather than the standard file name. You can also create geo context for the photos by uploading them to a video sharing site like Panoramio.com (a Google Property) that enables you to Geo Tag your photos to your company location.
- Videos - Upload VIDEOS. They don't have to be professionally produced and can help to resonate with your customers. A best practice is to upload the videos to YouTube and then Geo Tag them using advanced settings.
Once you have optimized your listing using the best practices referenced above, you want to be sure that you don't have any duplicate listings on Google Maps. We have found that even just one or two duplicate listings can prevent your new one from ranking on page one. In order to identify and merge duplicate listings, run a search on Google for "Company Name, City".
To clean up duplicate listings, click on the listing in question and then click "edit business details".
- Then, click "This is a duplicate" to let Google know that the listing should be merged with your primary listing.
If you follow these best practices, you will have a well-optimized Google Maps listing for your plumbing business. The next step is to establish your N.A.P. profile (name, address, phone number) across the web.
If you would like more tips, ideas and strategies for marketing your plumbing business online, I would recommend you download our complete internet marketing and SEO guide for plumbing contractors. You can download it by clicking here.