Google Maps SEO 2021 — Google My Business (GMB) SEO - October 2020

Google My Business pages are going to continue to insert themselves into the organic search results pages…

…And for a lot of markets, this affect we be across every search phrase.

I think of the maps listings as the VIP line for those markets.

Furthermore, Google gets more ad revenue this way vs sending a searcher directly to a business's website…

Therefore, ranking well in the maps is far more valuable than ranking below the maps…for the businesses where maps insert themselves in the SERPs.

If this sounds relevant to any of your SEO projects, then I think you will want to checkout my video below.

My latest overview/guide to Maps SEO in 2021 and beyond:


Approximate transcription:

Hi, David Hood here at Dallas SEO Geek, and this video is about SEO tips for 2021. What does it take for you to get that high-quality organic search traffic, specifically from Google in 2021 and beyond?

So, first of all, I want to talk about focusing on quality over quantity. Now, this is generally a pretty good rule for life. While quantity still matters generally speaking, especially with SEO, medium quality stuff a lot of times is kind of irrelevant and it all comes down to for the most part, the quality in almost all the areas of SEO. So that's something that I try to focus on and I think Google's algorithm has gone a lot more towards this. They've been done a better job of checking for the quality of things than they did maybe like seven or eight years ago, where it was a lot easier to just to really do a lot of low quality, but super high quantity stuff and that would actually rank you, so specifically links used to be able to do tons and tons of low quality links and Google would rank you.

It was super easy and they've done a much better job of making it so you kind of have to have higher quality. It's still not perfect, but in general, that's kind of the direction they're going. It's also true for sales copy and content on your site. It's not just about how many words it is, how long is your video or how many pictures do you have. Well, that is something that important, the quality of it, and the way in which it engages your customers matters. And I'm going to cover this a little bit more later in the video.

Your research and planning. This is where I think a lot of people leave a lot of low-hanging fruit on the table to mix my metaphors, in that they kind of don't do their homework upfront in the project. And I find that taking a little bit of extra time to really comb through your market in terms of what your market is searching, what your market is putting the searches in. A lot of times there's some stuff that we didn't think about that we initially wouldn't have guessed would be there, but then when the data shows it and it's an opportunity for you to grow your business. A lot of times those are actually pretty high quality opportunities, so doing your homework is important there.

High quality customers. When you look at the search traffic, I like to consider, sometimes there's customers that you're kind of like, “I guess I'd take them,” and some other customers where you'd be like, “Oh, I would love these type of customers.” Well, let's really like focus in on the quality ones because those are probably going to be the ones that are making you the most money long-term and even short-term.

SEO companies. I'd like to think that if you hire an SEO company, that you would try to do a quality one and in terms of really trying to find somebody who knows they're doing, and isn't just the least expensive, I'm definitely not going to be the least expensive that you can find out there. I'm sure there's others that are more expensive than me. I do try to provide a high quality service in the ways that really matter for SEO. And so hopefully I can be put into that quality over quantity category for that, so if you want to do that, you can click through to my website and submit a form or call me, and we can talk about your business and what your objectives are, and I can do some research and make some specific recommendations for your business in terms of ranking your website in 2021 or beyond.

Okay. So quality over quantity. Now the next four are basically kind of how I would put most of SEO action into these kind of four buckets. And we have localized SEO, maps SEO. So if you search plumber even without like the city, then the first things we see here, these are all ads. This is the paid results. Most people don't click on ads. I think last I checked this in a study, only about 15% of people ever click on ads. Now Google's made this take up more space because this is how they make the vast majority of their money is in the search engine results page ads, so this has gotten bigger, but now this is kind of the VIP line, the maps listing if it shows up in your results. And you do have to check because sometimes there are some markets, they put these in a lot of places that you wouldn't initially expected where it's kind of like a national market, but there are still some localized intent.

And they're putting this up here based upon user interaction. And they're testing it in different places and if users like it and it's relevant to them, then they're going to do this. Now, if someone puts in plumber Dallas, that's even going to be even stronger and more localized, so you kind of want to compare a city versus no city results in terms of the search phrases you put into the search engines. You definitely want to check for this, even if you don't think that there's going to be something there. It's worth a search or two to really kind of like, “Okay, is this something where Google is telling you that some there's actually some local search intent here,” because this is going to be really, really huge. It's almost always the first non-paid result is going to be a maps result if it's there.

And Google really likes this. Again, back to how Google makes money. They make money on the ads in the search results. So the longer you are on their platform, the more they can serve up ads, but also the more data they get and so they like it when people click through to this and they're organic results. They're still on Google's platform instead of somebody else's website, which they can still get a lot of data from most of the time, if not all of the data they really need, but it's not the same. They can't sell ads on somebody else's website. Well, I guess they could, but somebody would have to put that on there. There's a good chance that they won't be able to sell ads. And if you see this in your search results, there's going to be maps SEO that needs to be done, actions in this area to help improve the influence, the digital geographic influence of each one of these Google My Business pages, which this is kind of the front facing of signature plumbing companies Google My Business page.

This is not really well understood even in my industry right now how this works. I think people are starting to understand to a certain degree, but there's still a lot left on the table in terms of people figuring out how does this really work, how do we really affect us. Most people I don't even think even know how to track this properly in that you're not going to rank… So let's say there's… This is a pretty wide area. Maybe like 15 minutes across right here, maybe 10 minutes. Let's say if someone's searching here versus searching here, they're going to potentially get different maps results. Okay. The location of the searcher. And so someone saying, “I ranked number three in the maps for Dallas plumber.”

It's kind of a nonsense statement because there's going to be all across 100 data points. You take a bunch of data points across a wide area and you say, “Okay, well, what are you rank for Dallas plumber here and here and here and here in the maps,” it's going to be pretty different and it's not going to be the same across all of those. It's very unlikely at least. In any area of significant competition, there's a lot of things like that that it's like, “Oh wait, it's not something that anybody really thought about before because it used to be true.” You could say, I rank X in the maps for Y search phrase. Can't say that anymore. At least you can, but it would be inaccurate. So maps when it's important to you, it's really important. So I'll move on.

If maps is not important, then you still should check, but conversion and SEO. So this is something… I don't get hired to do conversion, but it does kind of come with the territory because if you're converting a customer, part of that process is getting them engaged in your brand. And this is something that Google does track to a pretty high degree and they like that. So if a customer is reading more about you, they're clicking around or they're running some of your videos, that's going to be really helpful for your SEO, especially if they came from a specific search phrase. So Google tracks this on a keyword by keyword basis. So they'll look at specific keywords and how the visitors they sent you engaged with your brand and how much do they engage with your brand basically.

And the simplest shortcut for this is going to be video. I always recommend video. If you can make video, that is going to be great. It's the most engaging form of content. People can click and be entertained and informed, just kind of sit back and it's kind of like the path of least resistance. And Google owns YouTube and YouTube has its own search engine and suggestion engine. And so a lot of times you can get a lot of business just from YouTube depending on your market. But having videos on YouTube helps boost your website and integrating it properly with your website helps, your website helps boost the YouTube video, so they kind of build off each other and it converts better. That's why I'm shooting this video right now, so you can see me as I am and try to be as real as possible and people I think appreciate that.

Ultimately, you're going to make a sale even if it's with a big B2B customer. There's going to be one or a couple of people that really make that decision oftentimes and so you want to connect with them on a human level. And I think video does a great job of that. Speaking to your target market on their level in the most engaging way, the longer the video, they're going to engage with your brand for longer, which helps with SEO, but also it just makes them feel more and more comfortable with you and your business and they're more likely to turn into a good customer.

Okay. On page, this is typically the simplest part of SEO. Don't spend a ton of time on it. You have complete control of your website, so you can pretty much do whatever you need to do. I'd say some of the major factors are first, you could start with the keyword research that's here at the bottom. And this could be its own bucket, but I do kind of put it in the on-page kind of the keyword research and planning because this is kind of the foundation, the basics of ranking a website. It's the easiest part. It's the fundamentals. A lot of people don't do it very thoroughly, so do some pretty thorough keyword research, really look at your target market and then take that information and say, “How can we attract those people on our website?” And the most important factors for a single page is going to be the title, the URL and the H1-H3 tags and that's kind of an order of importance. Although, title and URL are kind of on par with each other. H1's pretty close, but they're all very important. After that, from a purely technical SEO standpoint, like the text on the page doesn't matter. It matters from an engagement standpoint and it does matter from an SEO standpoint, especially if they're kind of close margins and things. It depends on your market, but the title, the URL, the H tags are going to matter way more.

Also what you want to do, especially if you have a lot of keywords and different kind of concepts within your market, you want to kind of create little pockets of relevance on your site with the interlinking, so you want to make sure you link interlinked pages that are relevant to each other basically, just if it makes sense and it's relevant. If you have, let's say shoes, and then you have basketball shoes and golf shoes and dancing shoes, those all kind of want to be interlinked. And then you have your pants and you have jeans and you have cargo pants or whatever. Those should all be interlinked because they're relevant and that's going to help in various ways, especially it helps with link building, but it also helps with just on page in general.

So link building, this has been a core part of Google's algorithms since the beginning. In 2021, I don't see that changing and the way in which they evaluate the links is a little different than 20 plus years ago. And this is actually the reason why they stole the market share in my opinion because their search results were so much better. Everyone else was just looking at on page. They came along and they said, “Hey, we think this actually tells us a lot about the quality of a site.” And it turns out Google's right. And they've been ahead of the game since. So this is a critical part, especially in markets of high competition. Really the link building is going to be one of the main ways that I determine, “Is this high competition or low competition or somewhere in between?”

So if you have a really high competition market, you are going to need a lot of links and there's various ways to go about doing this. I would say that this is one of the biggest areas of kind of DIY caution, where you can really spend a lot of time spinning your wheels and maybe even hurt yourself if you try to do this, but it is possible. I have seen kind of amateur people figure out some ways to get some traction in this area. I think this is going to be one of the biggest areas where someone like me is going to be able to provide expertise in understanding what really matters from a link-building standpoint because there's a lot of nonsense out there and there's a lot of ways you can, again, kind of just waste your resources doing something that you think is helping, but really isn't doing anything.

And there's kind of three major ways or factors or kind of angles to look at a link. You have relevance, you have trust and you have authority. Now relevance is in kind of the way that Google defines relevance is not necessarily the way humans define relevance, although they're trying to make it essentially that. It's not exactly the same. So that's something to keep in mind. You've got to really think about, “How does Google define relevance?” And it is different than how a human would look at things. Oftentimes, a website, you look at it and a human could tell it's relevant, but Google is actually classifying it in not like catastrophic, but some significant ways differently.

Trust. Actually, Google has a trust algorithm and they created a white paper on it. I think it was like in 2006, 2008, something like that. And so this is definitely a part of their algorithm. They've been integrating it over time. I think somewhere around seven, eight years ago, they started integrating this much heavier. And then over the last three to five years, trust has become more and more important. And now you kind of have to have it. Again, it depends on the level of competition and kind of the competitors, how much trust do they have, but it's different than relevance and it's different than also authority.

So authority is more just kind of like raw popularity. How many links do you have? I'd say back in the day, again, maybe 10 years ago, pretty much it was all authority and relevance and trust were not taken into account. And so this is more kind of the classic part of the algorithm, just how many different websites really are linking to you and how many websites are linked to those people or those websites. So hopefully this is helpful. If you want a free SEO analysis and recommendations, I mean, give me a call at 214-504-3848 and we can talk about your business and your website, or you can shoot me an email at david@dallasseogeek.com, or you can go to my website and just submit a contact form and that works as well. Thanks and have a great day. Bye.

David Hood
About David

David Hood

Digital Dominator at Digital Domination Dojo
I've been working full time on my online business since 2012.

My primary revenue sources are Client SEO, SEO Lead Generation, and selling Information Products.
David Hood
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