Learn How to Get in the Google Maps 3 Pack
How to Get Ranked in Google Maps: Proven Strategies for Irrigation, Lawn Care and Landscape Companies
Did you know that the SEO strategies that will land you on Google’s first page are different from what will help you show up in the Google Maps 3-Pack?
In this guide, you’ll learn why that is and what you can do to increase your chances of having more exposure in Google Maps.
If you implement the steps we recommend here, as well as what we suggest in our Ultimate Guide to SEO for the Green Industry, you could end up dominating the front page of Google, blowing your competition out of the water!
One of the best places for your lawn care or landscape company to show up online is in the Google 3-Pack, the top three results for local search queries.
These results are estimated to get 44% of the total clicks, with the first spot getting the vast majority.
If you can manage to consistently show up in the 3-Pack, you can expect to get more website traffic, more leads, and ultimately, more customers.
A lot of businesses overlook optimizing for 3-Pack visibility. Or, they make the mistake of thinking that their website SEO strategy is a one-size-fits-all approach to Google Maps. We’ll show you step-by-step what you need to do to show up in Maps, and potentially claim that top spot.
Optimize Your GMB
The secret to showing up in Google Maps is to have a tricked out GMB (Google My Business Page).
We’ll walk you through the process of creating this page. If you’ve already created one, follow along because we’re going to show you how to set it up correctly, and then optimize it for better visibility.
1. Sign up at Google My Business.
2. Type the name of your business. Make sure that you type your name exactly as it appears everywhere online. Consistency is important.
3. Choose your business category. Google has some pre-populated categories, and you’ll have to choose one of theirs to move forward. It’s crucial that the category you choose is the primary service you offer. You can add additional categories to reflect your other services in the next step. You’ll also have the option to add custom services.
4. Add your address. Again, double check that the way you type your address is the way it appears everywhere online. In order for Google to be able to rank you, they need to know exactly where you are and have confidence that your location is consistent.
Use a local address, not a P.O. box. In the past, Google wasn’t hip to this trick, but now they’re catching on and punishing violators severely.
5. Specify your service areas. It’s recommended that your primary service area is the same city as your location. You can add service areas as well, but keep it within a 30-mile radius. This might seem restrictive, but it will allow Google to better figure out who to show your business to when someone in the area is searching.
6. Add your contact information, including your phone number and website URL. Use a local number. A toll-free number indicates a national business. To rank in Maps, you must have a local presence.
For your URL, make sure you type it in exactly as it appears on your website. For example, if you have http:// or https://, you’ll want to keep this consistent.
Google likes to see photos of your business. Include everything from your logo to your office space. You should also add photos of your team, equipment, trucks, and projects.
Pro Tip: GMB shows you how many people have viewed each of your photos. So, if you notice one photo that got more views, consider using it on your website, in an ad, or print media.
GMB has a social media component to it. You can post updates about your business, just like you might do on Facebook or LinkedIn. Google gives preferential treatment to companies that stay active. Therefore, we recommend posting on a consistent basis. Aim for weekly, if possible. If that’s not doable, then post at least once a month.
Of all the review platforms out there, you should be focusing the bulk of your efforts on getting reviews. Google heavily considers the number of reviews you have as a ranking factor for Maps.
You can automate the review gathering process by using a variety of free and paid tools. One of the best free tools is the Whitespark Google Review Link Generator.
All you have to do is enter your business’s, and Whitespark will give you a link that you can share via e-mail, text, social media, print, etc. When your customers visit the link, they’ll be taken directly to the Google review platform. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Don’t be too afraid of getting a bad review. It’s not pleasant, but it does happen. As long as you respond to the review in a professional manner, you’ll show that you’re a real business. There’s nothing more suspicious than a company with 100 five-star reviews and not a single complaint.
Tips for Getting More Reviews
Use automated tools. You might already have a service you use, and if that’s the case, adjust your focus to getting Google reviews. If you don’t have a service, there are plenty at a variety of price points. You can, of course, Google it to find one that fits your budget.
Leave a printed review card at each job. After each project, leave a card behind that invites the customer to leave a review.
Train your team to deliver a world-class experience and not be afraid to ask for a review. Dissatisfied customers are 21% more likely to take to the Internet to share their experience than happy customers. Often, you could have a customer that’s thrilled with your service, but it didn’t occur to them to leave a review. A gentle ask can prompt them to go online and sing your praises.
Follow up after a job is complete. If you’re not comfortable asking for reviews directly, you can do a simple follow-up. Ask the client if they’re happy with the work you provided and if there’s anything that you can improve on. This act alone is likely to prompt your customers to leave reviews because they’re so impressed that you took the time to follow up.
Build reviews and recognition into your company culture. What happens when you get a positive review? Do you celebrate it? Share it among the team? We encourage you to publicize these wins and pat each other on the back. You can also share your positive reviews on social media and on your website, which can encourage others to leave raving reviews, too.
Our digital marketing experts can help you gather more positive reviews and get ranked in Google Maps.
Get Citations and Be Consistent Across the Internet
Citations are mentions of your business location online, usually in directories like the BBB, Home Advisor, your local Chamber of Commerce, and even social media.
Citations will reference your NAP, which is short for name, address, and phone number. The key to having a successful citations strategy is to ensure that all of your NAP instances are the same. This means that your address should be the same everywhere on the Internet, down to the suite number, and even if you abbreviate or fill out the word “street.”
You can track your local citations and identify and clean up any NAP issues using automated tools, including BrightLocal. These tools don’t come cheap, but BrightLocal does have a 14-day free trial you can take advantage of.
If you’re not sure which directories are most relevant for your niche, you can search on Google to get some insights or start with this list:
Optimize Your Website Content
There’s also some on-page work you can do to increase your chances of showing up in the 3-Pack.
Here are our top tips:
Be consistent with GMB. The services and information you list in your Google My Business account should be the same as what’s on your website.
Create service pages for each service that you provide. This technique not only helps your organic rankings, but it can also help with Maps.
Include the full NAP in footer of your home page. This information should already be here anyway for your site visitors’ convenience.
Link to or embed Google maps on your website. If you have a WordPress site, there are several ways to do this, including adding a plug-in. Another option is to follow these instructions directly from Google.
Add local schema. This sounds techy, but it’s actually not that challenging. Local schema is a little snippet of code that communicates directly with Google so they can report visual information about your website.
Check Your Progress
Have you ever Googled your business to see where you land on the search results page? It’s okay – you can admit it! The problem is that you’re not going to get an accurate view of how you’re really performing. You see, each Internet user has a unique experience, so what shows up for you might not show up for me.
What a user sees depends on their exact location, browsing behavior, and other demographic factors. To get an objective view of how you really rank, use Citation Builder Pro, a free tool that gives you an accurate snapshot.
What Not to Do
Don’t try to rank in a city you’re not physically in. Because Maps are local, Google only wants to show results for that city. So, if your office is in Miami, you’re not going to show up on Maps in Orlando. Don’t try to add that city to your service area or add photos with longitudinal coordinates if it’s not in your service area.
Don’t add fake locations. Not long ago, companies tried to boost their Maps presence by creating alternate locations. It didn’t take long for Google to see what was happening, though they’re still trying to remove those spammy places.
Don’t ignore consistency. If your NAP instances are all over the place (literally), Google will get confused and not know how or where to rank you. Not being consistent – Nap
Don’t spam the city name in your company name. Even though company names with the city in them tend to get preferential treatment in Maps, avoid the temptation to add your local city to your business name. For example, if you are Acme Lawn Care, don’t change your name to Memphis Acme Lawn Care. This is inaccurate, and it’s bound to backfire.