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Many companies and car dealers have asked me about how they can increase the "relevance" of their Google Maps listing. These calls often come from clients in competitive markets that want to see their Google Maps listing show more often than their competitors.


Keep in mind that the "address" of the Google Maps/Places is a dominant factor in which search results show a Google map. Misguided SEO hackers have attempted to scam or influence Google Maps listings with fake addresses but Google is cracking down on this practice.


Authoritative Directory Verifications


After some research on this topic, I have concluded that having a consistent name, address and phone numbers across "reference" websites can assist your Google Maps listing to be shown above those that have no external references.


In effect, Google can see if the submitted "business name and address" can be found on paid or free websites. If the submitted address is nowhere to be found, you can understand why Google may be reluctant to show that new Maps listing.


I am leaning on a recommendation that car dealers "pay" to be included in some very highly ranked directories as well as making sure that they get a free listing on www.dmoz.org which is the undisputed king of organic search directories.


Google Maps SEO Tips


A very interesting article on Google Maps SEO was posted on a website that I recommend you read: Google Maps. In this article, there is a discussion that is worth the reading of all ADM members,


The author posts this graphic which begs some very interesting conversation with the ADM community and there are many thoughts in my mind how this might be leveraged.


Google Maps SEO


Google Maps Visibility

The idea behind this graphic is to show that there are MANY websites in which you can register your business name, address, phone and website. The idea is that if your contact information can be validated in MANY places, it has a higher likelihood of being accurate.


This begs the question...

  • Have you made an effort to synchronize your business directory information?
  • Have you paid for a listing on Yahoo.com or Business.com?
  • Do you need to?
  • How have you validated Your Business address?


Let the questions start and I will answer them to the best of my ability....

Views: 153

Tags: SEO, business, car, dealer, directory, google, local, maps, microsites

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Comment by Aj Maida on August 23, 2010 at 12:58pm
"Side Effect":
In looking on my OEM "Third Party" sites I noticed that none of the other dealers that come up in a "Locate by Zip" have a toll free #. If we add a tracking # across the board and make it Toll free then if we are the only one to have a toll free # there is the possibility that we will be the one the consumer picks. Some times it IS the little stuff.
Comment by Brian Pasch on August 12, 2010 at 8:13am
@David
You are not alone in your frustration. The worst problems often occur when car dealers have multiple OEM brands in a mall layout that has the same address. This creates a problem when you try to create a map optimized for each brand.

Reviews and other directory listings all help the credibility of your business listing. If you would like me to take a look at your specific situation, I will. Just send me the info to: brian@pcgdigitalmarketing.com
Comment by David Robertson on August 12, 2010 at 7:59am
How important is KML Geographical data to the equation? I've recently been trying to add this geographical indicator to our website.

Yesterday I purchased a UBL (universal business listing) to help our position on Google Maps. Will this be effective?

I am very frustrated with Google Maps, mainly because we just changed store locations. Our listing was corrected for awhile and now it has reverted back to the old store location. I have tried my best to change our business listing on all other websites.

How powerful are reviews when trying to get on, what was a 3-Pack and is now a 1-pack, excluding us from the picture after our move?
Comment by Brian Pasch on August 12, 2010 at 6:13am
@David, many of the directories like InfoUSA, Yelp, InsiderPages, BOTW, etc all have good housekeeping policies to make them accurate. (All car dealers should use the free directories in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. )

So yes, I think that Google has to go to a few places and validate the address and phone number. Otherwise a car dealer could create a virtual dealership location in every town they want to pop up in Google Maps.

The paid maps or paid directory listings are another conversation. I have found that a few paid listings are VERY good for SEO in that the link authority is worth the $300 a year. The question is whether smaller players like BOTW which charges $30 a month for premium directory listings that include a link back to your website are worth the expense.

The key is to test participation and then to see if Google and Yahoo pickup that link. Webmaster Tools now has a great inbound linking tool that shows all links to every page on your website. So if you decided to test a few paid listings, check that you are getting link juice and traffic using Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.
Comment by David T. Gould on August 12, 2010 at 5:48am
Interesting article guys... @ Brian, do you think Google Maps uses those directories in addition to their Google search sources (no impact from Google Placement, Facebook or Twitter) and What do you think of the cost of SEM (sponsored) links vs. the trade offs here? @ Ralph, the trade off of analytics (phone # tracking) for Google maps placement (with Google using geo targeting) is a quite a bit of a shift. Are there statistics on Google maps usage rates being that high to justify that loss? As always, Good Selling! DTG
Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 12, 2010 at 1:53am
Brian - Thanks for posting such a useful article... I agree with you about the theory behind corroboration and consistency with many listings containing the same information across multiple business listing directories online. For our SkySong Reputation Management Ops Center it has been a rude awakening to learn that some of our best efforts at tracking and measurement can at times result in a "hit" to the overall results. It was a sobering realization when we began to see that using different phone numbers for each listing (so we could do a better job of identifying which directories generated the most calls), was actually hurting our results!

Over time, we noticed that our dealer clients whose directory listings were placed and managed on sites like Google Maps, Merchant Circle, Insider Pages, Yelp, Kudzu, DealerRater, Mixx, Multiply, Twitter and http://listings.local.yahoo.com/ (for example) with the SAME PHONE NUMBERS, addresses, website domains and emails listed were receiving more traffic and phone calls from these directories than the dealers with different phone numbers and URL's listed.

This was one of many lessons learned over the past 3 years where we now know that giving up individual venue or site ROI accountability in exchange for an overall improvement in results for the dealer's social media marketing and reputation management program is a worthwhile trade-off.

Here are a few more (among many) directories for dealers to use:

Local Listings on Google - Add Your Business to Google
and Google Maps. 100% Free.
Google.com/places

Business Lists Databases US, Canada, UK, Dubai and more
Buy Now Last Updated 2010 Listings
www.specialdatabases.com

Free Business Listing
EZlocal.com Local Directory - List your business today, free.
EZlocal.com

I Get Listed!
Reach 3.8 Million People. Start 10 Minutes from Now.
iGetListed.com

Business Directory
Quickly Find General & Regional Business Directories Here.
www.business.com

Yahoo! Local Features — Overview
Choose the listing that best fits your business. ... EASY SET UP. Add descriptive info about your business and upload from your computer. ...
listings.local.yahoo.com

List Your Business on Google Maps, Yahoo Local & More at GetListed.org
This free tool displays how a business is listed in places like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
getlisted.org/

Getting all these listings may be one of the most basic tactical "To Do's" in the Must Be Completed category of good digital marketing housekeeping, but it is a pain in the ass and very time consuming! Which is why my team starts off with setting up 100 of these directory listings, accounts and profiles for each dealer during the initial installation and then we add ten more each month.

Dealers can most certainly do this themselves, but it is one of the things we do for our dealers among the 55 pages of installation and maintenance manifest items listing what we do for our social media rep mgmnt clients. It is also one of those things that CAN get messed up if you have different people doing it over time.

Yesterday I was dealing with a frustrated employee because she was managing one of our first and longest running dealer groups using our social media marketing services... We had changed several key listing items, such as domains and phone numbers of the years and she kept coming across older directory listings containing different data than newer ones... And we have this particular dealer group listed and published in over 450 online directories!\

We'll get them all corrected to reflect a single consistent set of phone, URL, business name, etc. data points, but it will probably take a couple months before we cycle through all 450 directories where we have this dealer listed...

Regardless of who or how clean up and maintenance work required after the fact is executed, it is a lot easier to do it right from the beginning and establish a plan to create ten more new directory listings every month... Using consistent and same data. There is no shortage of directory and business sites to put a dealer's information into. And, for the first time, intentionally posting duplicate content will help a dealer's digital marketing footprint rather than hurt it!

Comment by George Magda on August 11, 2010 at 9:35pm
basics, basics basics...they need to be done. Great article. These are the necessary key factors to vital digital marketing success, this is a must have to ensure proper digital marketing 101.

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