There are many things that go into getting your site ranked not only in the organic results, but also ranking in the local map results. Your rankings in local map pack are heavily determined by the reviews you and your firm receive from online users. That said, there are also many other carious factors that go into getting your firm ranked in the maps. One of the biggest factors is the actual location of the firm, if you want your firm to rank in a given location, you must have a physical address in that location. The search engines will not rank a firm for local results if they cannot find an address for that firm in the area. Also, some say that the search engines takes the searchers prior search history into account as well. These factors are somewhat out of your hands unless you have the capability of opening up an office in the location you want to target.
There are tactics that you can control in order to help your ranking in the maps. These tectics are called SEO or search engine optimization. Essentially this is where you optimize your site to have content that search engines will determine as helpful and believe that users will want to see your site. There is on-site content, Technical on-site SEO, and off-site SEO.
On-site content refers to the keywords and pages that one has on their site to show the search engines they are an expert for a practice area. A lot of research goes into determining what keywords should be used and whether or those keywords should be added to a blog or possibly given their own page to try and rank for.
Technical on-site SEO refers to the sites architecture and how it is set up in regard to the back end or things that people don’t usually notice. You can think of technical as a list of settings, and these settings must be set correctly, or the site will not work the way you wanted it to on the search engines. This could be how fast your website is, if pages or pictures load correctly, the descriptions of the pictures or “alt text” just to name a few.
Lastly, we have off-site SEO, some say it is the most important part of your SEO strategy but in turn is also the most difficult to perform correctly. One of the main things one will see when discussing off-site SEO is the use of backlinks. This is where another site will link back to your firm’s page within their content. The search engines will use this to determine if your site is an authority figure on the subject and if others are using your content as a reference. This shows the search engine your site is one where people go to finds the answers to their questions for a given practice area or subject.
How Reviews Play a Part in Your Firms Map Rankings
As mentioned earlier, your firm must have a physical address in the location where you are wanting to rank. Reviews will help your ranking by showing the search engine that people have a good experience when using your firm and you are an authority for that given practice area. If you have your site optimized both on-site and off-site, but do not have any reviews or possibly poor reviews, it is still highly unlikely your site will rank in the maps. Many times, the map is the first place people go to try and find a local firm. If another firms site is optimized just as well as yours but they have more reviews, it is almost inevitable that they will rank higher in the maps. In today’s world of technology, many times people will go to the reviews of others to see if people enjoyed working with your firm and if they received good results. People like to see what others have to say about your firm, as they know they are not getting paid to do so and they can take their opinion with full confidence that your firm will get the job done. If you are wanting to rank in the maps, you should heavily consider asking every one of your clients for a good review after the job is done. Over time the more reviews you get, the better you will rank in the maps with the hope that it will help turn people into potential clients.