The map pack is the section towards the top of search engine result pages that shows businesses and where they are located. For general contractors dominating this area can be extremely beneficial, because people searching like knowing your business is close by and serves their area.
Here’s an example of an asphalt company, Alpine Asphalt, standing out amongst the herd for the search term “asphalt company” in my area:
How did Alpine Asphalt do this? Well, I helped them, but whether you do this on your own or you use an SEO company like ours, the principles remain the same—dominate map packs across search results for your search terms with these five steps.
1. Create a Google Business Page and Verify It With Snail Mail
You need a Google My Business page before any of these other tips will work. You can get one here. This is not an immediate process to get into the map listings, though, as Google wants to list only legitimate businesses. The search giant even goes to the extent of sending you a physical piece of snail mail to confirm your location. You enter a code found on the postcard to get your business page verified and eligible for greater presence in their map listings and search results.
2. Create Local Directory Listings
You can create nearly 100 links around the internet by using a service like Manta’s Listing Manager. These kinds of links are often referred to as “citations.” Something to remember with local directory listings, or local citations, is that the business name, address and phone number should all match on as many sites as possible. If your business has moved several times in the past couple years, it’s important to update these listings (or use a service that scans and corrects citations for you) and ensure the same information is listed everywhere it appears.
Google and other search engines look to these citations to see that a business is on the up-and-up, is still in operation, and that the website and Google My Business page list the correct hours of operation, address, and other pertinent details.
3. Get More Web Links to Your Site
One way we do this is by creating a press release, and distributing that press release through a service like Press Release Jet. This particular strategy is more of a one-time thing I believe every site owner should do—but other strategies like guest posting on high domain authority sites, and creating amazing resources on your site and getting them included in resource lists can be done over and over again with significant effect each time you do them.
4. Use Schema Markup Code
Schema markup is a little bit more technical than just creating a Google business page, but it allows Google to confidently serve up your local business in the map pack. Basically, schema markup makes it dead obvious what Google is looking at by including specific contact details in the code of your website and indicating that you are a local business.
5. Get as Many Customer Reviews as You Can
The best way to get positive online reviews is to email your five best recent customers and ask them personally to take a couple minutes to leave a quick review on Google (Yelp, and Facebook too, if they have time). Let your customers know it really does make a difference in your ability to connect with new customers. When you’re sure a particular customer or client really enjoyed the service you can then provide the links to review on Google and other platforms.
Beating Your Competitors in the Map Pack
Getting your general contractor business to show up in Google’s map section is essential to dominating the lead generation game. Even the paid ads at the top of the page don’t demand as much attention as the giant visual map that appears below the ads and before the organic search results.
Using a verified Google My Business page, directory listings, guest posting/other earned links, schema markup, and pushing reviews will help you get front and center in a couple months if you’re aggressive and your competition isn’t extremely thick. If your competitors are wise to how important this is and are going after those spots as well, it will take more local citations, more links, and more keyword-targeted content and technical website improvements to get preferential treatment.
Tim Brown serves the Minneapolis web design community with useful content on his blog. You can check out his post about “Contractor Web Design – Inspirational Construction Websites“ or take a look at the work he does marketing construction companies through web design, SEO and social media. You can tweet him @timbdesignmpls