In this blog post I want to take a few minutes to show you a special technique to bump your competitors out of the way so you can outrank them in search results while simultaneously improving the quality and relevance of Google Maps. Note: This doesn’t rely on unfair negative reviews, bad publicity, or anything sleazy/underhanded. It is considered 100% legal under Google’s Terms and Conditions. And also appreciated!
There are so many factors that go into an effective SEO strategy; namely:
Building high quality backlinks to your website.
Getting positive reviews on your Google My Business page.
On-page and off-page optimization for target keywords.
Mobile and desktop page speed responsiveness. Fast load times!
Getting your business listed in all the major online directories using Manta.
The list goes on and on… You can run a free site audit to check all of these metrics at SEOptimizer.
So let’s get started! Head over to Google and type in your top search phrase. For example, I want to rank on the first page for “Austin Photographer”. This is a fairly competitive keyword so it may not be easy to outrank my competitors in the SERPs using conventional methods. It has an SEO difficulty of 33/100 according to MangTools, so it’s definitely possible to rank on the first page for this keyword without a ton of effort. However, I would encourage you to focus your attention on what’s known as “The Google 3-Pack”. Check it out!
Google 3-Pack for search phrase “Austin Photographer”
These are my top three competitors for this particular keyword. As you can see, The Perfect Headshot has 340 positive reviews from previous satisfied clients. The owner/photographer Yannik is a good friend of mine. He’s doing a great job but his website still needs a lot of work in terms of on-page optimization and acquiring backlinks. In the next few months these high-risk factors will eventually catch up and he will lose the coveted position in the Google 3-Pack. That’s okay, I know for a fact he already has a steady stream of clients needing professional headshots.
So, what if your business isn’t already listed in the first results of Google Maps? Enter the power of “Suggest an Edit”. Open up the full page of search results and scroll down until you find your business. It may be on the 41st page, in which case there’s a lot of other things you need to do before this advice will help you. Remember, SEO is a long-play game. It may take 3 months or multiple years to see any long-lasting effects. To speed up the process, you can hire a dedicated SEO agency and pay them thousands of dollars per month to do all the grunt work for you (I recommend local Austin business: Geek Powered Studios).
In my particular case, Holp Photography is listed in first position on the second page of Google Maps. If I can get just one business removed from the listings, I’ll hopefully move up to the first page.
Take a look at “Professional Photography”. This business has a generic phony name. It has zero reputable reviews of any kind. There’s no website or permanent address. Very suspicious. I would say this is very likely a spam listing. Simply click “Suggest an Edit” and select the appropriate option. In this case, it’s “Spam, fake, or offensive”.
“Suggest an Edit” to remove inaccurate listings and improve Google Maps in the process.
Boom! Voila! Presto! That’s all there is to it. It will typically take a few hours or days for Google to successfully approve or deny the edition. Afterwards, the listing will be correctly updated or removed within 24 hours. I’ve utilized this special technique to remove over a dozen inaccurate listings in the past few days. Not only does this bump your competitors out of the way allowing you to outrank them, but it also improves the quality of Google Maps and your own online reputation. I call that a solid win-win-win. I’m a Level 6 Google Local Guide with over 1,500 points, 900,000 photo views, 100s of reviews for other local businesses, and a growing list of map annotation editions.
You will receive an email from Google Maps for every successful and in-review edition.
Thanks for reading! Have fun knocking out your fake competitors! And remember, it’s typically a good idea to collaborate and offer mentorship to other talented folks whom you respect in your field. Be wary of anyone who thinks he/she is “too good” to work with you. They’re not worth your time anyway! Please contact me if you need a professional photographer or help with digital marketing, web design, and SEO. :)