How to Rank your Detailing Business Higher on Google Maps: 10 Easy Tips
- Identifying your targets
- Getting “noticed” by the search engine
- Establishing Authority
- Enhancing your relevance
- Integrating your Social Media
- …and More
When you search for a service business “near me” in Google, the first results are almost always the Google maps results. That is because Google is savvy enough to realize you are searching for a local business to solve your service issue. The problem is that Google only offers three slots in the maps (four if it decides to include a paid ad) often referred to as the “three-stack,” or the “snack pack” amongst Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agencies. For those who work strictly wholesale or drive a route, this is not as big a deal, but for shops with retail or mobile locations in busy markets like Dallas as an example, it can be very difficult to rank in the three-stack if you don’t know your SEO tactics. Not to worry though, we have some tips for even the least internet savvy PDR shop owners to make improvements in their rankings.
Here are 10 simple tips to help you rank higher in Google Maps for the city in which you have a verified Google My Business (GMB) account*.
*Note, if you have not yet claimed and verified your Google My Business page you need to do that first. There’s a good walkthrough on how to do that here.
1. Proximity, Prominence, Relevance
Nobody really knows how Google ranks websites- that is Google’s secret sauce. But there are plenty of SEO agencies out there running experiments to try and determine what factors and tactics it takes to rank a site on Google or in the maps. It appears to those who do these experiments that three factors make the most difference and they are:
Proximity- How close you are to the searcher- this is a factor you have no control over. Maps will almost always choose the three closest GMB pages all things being equal.
Prominence- How well do you show up elsewhere on the internet and how accurate are your listings? This is a crucial ranking factor that does take time to do. You want to make sure that all your directory listings are accurate and consistent (Also known as NAP- Name Address Phone Number). You can use a free tool like Moz Local to check your listing.
Relevance- How relevant is the content on your website to the phrase that the searcher is asking? This is where blog content and web content pay off in a significant way.
2. Consider Putting Your Main Keywords in the GMB Business Name
When Google begins to match results, it tries at first to do an exact phrase match. If you are searching, “Bumper scratch repair Dallas” and your shop’s name is something like “Magic scratch repair,” you may want to add the word “Dallas,” and make your business name “Magic Scratch Repair – Dallas” as if you had more than one location. This is a relatively large ranking factor when it comes to improving your Google Maps ranking. Because companies naturally use keywords in their business names, Google may show a business for a location keyword, simply because they think the customer typing in that keyword trying to find that company’s information. It is worth trying if you are fighting an uphill battle against your competition and they are already utilizing this method.
3. Make Sure Your Categories Are Correct and Max Them Out
Sometimes, the GMB categories may not perfectly fit every business. This is especially true with an auto repair that has a lot more nuances to the services they are pre-set in GMB. For example, Google My Business knows what automotive detailing is, but it doesn’t understand what sub-specialties like paint correction or headlight restoration are. The problem is automotive detailing can also apply to traditional car washes and mobile wash services.
Make sure your primary category is matched up as close as possible with the main keyword(s) that you’re trying to rank. Also, make sure to max out the secondary categories with related categories. This can help increase your impressions for other keywords. What do we mean by that? This is where the variants for a keyword, – Detailing, Auto detail, ceramic coatings, Car detailing, paint restoration -even possibly Auto refinishing- come in to play.
4. Build Niche and Local Related Citations
If you ever received an SEO service quote, you probably saw link building both on the page and off-page. Simply put, on-page are links on your website, and off-page are links from sources outside of your website. The logic is that Google views the authority of a website based on how many people are linking to it. If a site has a lot of links from other sources it must have content that is relevant and highly searched.
A significant aspect of local SEO includes building niche and local relevance via on-page and off-page optimizations. For off-page, one way to do this is to build a niche and local citations. One example of a “local citation” would be a link on your local chamber of Commerce’s website. An example of a “niche relevant citation” would be a auto detailing professionals directory. You can help these citations get indexed by linking out to them from your site, putting them through the Google mobile-friendly testing tool, or sending them to an indexing service. Remember, they are pretty much worthless for SEO if they don’t get indexed by Google.
5. A secure, Mobile-Friendly Website
Your website should be mobile-friendly, and you should have an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate installed, and the load speed should be relatively fast to rank higher in Google Maps and organic search. An SSL certificate, when correctly set up, will eliminate the dreaded “this website is not secure” warning page that many browsers will show.
It’s hardly an argument anymore to insist that people aren’t using mobile devices to find you. The research is there, and we use our phones- for everything.
6. Increase Social Signals
Social signals are becoming more and more critical in for ranking higher on Google Maps, as well as in organic search results. Social signals are your site’s shares, likes and overall social media appearance from the perception of search engines. You can acquire them by running a simple social media promotion/ad with your company’s link. This will also get you more exposure and traffic in your local area, which is also a ranking factor, and may potentially get you some customers.
7. Get More Reviews
Reviews can help you rank on Google Maps and improve your click-through rate in the search results. If you think about it, getting in the map pack is just the first step. You also need to be the most appealing business in there to get clicks and calls. Not to mention that user behavior and click through rates are significant factors that Google considers when deciding who to rank. You can increase your reviews by putting your Google Maps review link on your business cards, invoices, and in your email signature. It is technically against Google’s policy to ask for reviews, but you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to at least find where they can do it.
If you choose to go the route of asking previous clients for reviews, be cautious by not getting a bunch of them all at once, especially if your maps listing is less than 6 months old or so. This can look unnatural to Google.
8. Try some videos
Video content is a great way to create keyword-rich content to help bolster your rankings. Even though the videos will live outside of your site on Vimeo or YouTube, you can include backlinks to your website through the description and also in the video.
9. NAP directory listings
As mentioned before, going through and cleaning up those direct listings can be tedious and time-consuming but they are a free way to increase your prominence. If you have a little extra capital, you can even hire a company to fix them for you.
10. Patience is a virtue
If you have a new website, and you are trying to rank for a competitive keyword, you should understand that it can take time. Not to mention that doing multiple off-page/link building tasks, and getting a bunch of reviews all at once can look unnatural. Just take your time, and make sure to drip-feed all of the links. The key takeaway here is to stay at it and build up over time. It will pay off for you.