Earlier this year Google updated the layout of its desktop search results page to match the layout of its mobile search results page. This update eliminated the right rail ads and positioned the Google Maps results in between the paid ads and the organic results.
Here is what the new desktop layout looks like above the fold:
This change indicates that Google is adopting a mobile first perspective and placing increased emphasis on local search results. Searchers are calling for more local results when looking for businesses and services. Google is answering that call.
Unlike the normal search results there are no ads in the Google Maps results and only local businesses can make it into the listings. This is a tremendous opportunity for free exposure on the first page of Google above the organic results. A spot in the Google Maps results will increase your web traffic and boost the number of phone calls your business receives.
How can I get my painting business in the Google Maps results?
There is no proven formula to guarantee a spot in the Google Maps results. Similar to organic SEO, there are best practices, and they start with Google. Here are three steps you can take to improve your chances of showing up in the Google Maps results. The best part? They are all free:
Step One: Make sure your business is registered with Google through Google My Business. This ensures that Google has all of your business’s most important information including name, address, phone, hours, and category.
Step Two: Optimize your Google My Business profile by filling it out with complete information. Write a keyword oriented introduction about your business and post photos of your projects. Continue to refresh your pictures on a monthly basis.
Step Three: Focus on adding Google Reviews to your business profile. Consistently adding reviews about your painting business is a positive signal to Google and will increase your chances of appearing in the Google Maps results. Aim to add one or two reviews each month and be sure to follow up on negative reviews with an appropriate comment.
The recent update to Google’s desktop search results page demonstrates a clear emphasis on a mobile first perspective and has greatly increased the value of ranking in the Google Maps results. Painting contractors can take advantage of this change by focusing on ranking in the Google Maps results which will lead to increased brand exposure and web traffic.
This article was contributed by Aaron Hockel, Vice President of Digital Marketing at AltaVista Strategic Partners, a PDCA Associate and marketing firm that specializes in building and executing marketing plans for commercial and residential contractors. Aaron can be reached by email at email@example.com, by phone at 443-960-4004, or you can follow him on twitter @aaronhockel.