BIM: So from a technical aspect, what kind of things can you do to make the site load faster?
Adam Vest: Well, there, there are a whole lot of things and I don’t want to get too technical. But, making sure that a) you don’t have any unnecessary plugins b) that you are caching the site that you the site is set up correctly. You don’t have extra CSS all throughout the site that’s slowing things down. That’s another big issue that we see would be CSS that’s not coded correctly. So those are two of the biggest things. And then, of course, I think most importantly it’s just tracking to figure out exactly what your load speed is, and then finding the right ways, whether it’s images, images can take up a lot of space on the site. So, a downsizing or resizing some of those images can make a large impact as well.
BIM: So, that’s definitely one aspect I think is getting more and more important as we move through 2018. What other things are you seeing that are really important if you are in an industry where the competition is pretty tough?
Adam Vest: So, something that’s really become very prevalent here over the past few years would be the map pack. So, the top three sections in the maps, especially for our service industry clients. A lot of times folks will Google something and they’ll see on their phone, they’ll do a mobile search, they’ll see one of the three businesses there in the map section and they’ll just directly call. We’ve seen tremendous success by focusing on the map pack for all of our customers.
BIM: Now, this is something that I really like to talk about because for me, in the service industry, this is the most important area. It’s getting yourself in that map because like you said, it really does drive the phone calls and the business and that’s exactly what those service business owners are looking for. So tell me how do we get map pack?
Adam Vest: That’s a great question and it’s a question that I hear a near just about every day. So, from what we’ve found, there are three main factors when it comes to getting into that map pack. First and foremost is having high-quality backlinks leading to your site. Secondly, would be the number of reviews that you have. And then, of course, the location that you’re searching from. So, those are the three biggest factors. Google My Business now has come a long way, and really optimizing your Google My Business page is more important now than ever.
BIM: So you say optimizing the GMB page, what exactly does that mean?
Adam Vest: Well, first and foremost, you have to have the correct categories. You have to have the right phone number, a number consistent online throughout all of the different directories. You have to have the right citations, some other things that can really play a factor would be sharing blog posts on your Google My Business page. It’s not something that I see that’s done often and I think it’s a big missed opportunity. Sharing blog posts, sharing updates, you can now create events. There’s a lot of things that you can do to really utilize the Google My Business page and obviously, Google loves that kind of stuff. They tend to give preferential treatment to the businesses that are actually doing that.
BIM: So where do you think things are going with the map? I know they’ve been around for a quite a few years and they’ve evolved a lot. Where do you see it going in the future?
Adam Vest: Well, I think just recently Google started offering advertising actually in the map pack and I can’t imagine that that’s not making them money. So at the end of the day, you really have to think about if you’re looking at where it’s all headed, you really need to think about what’s gonna be best for Google. And I think advertising in the map pack is very important. I think that there’s a challenge right now to figure out how to incorporate the map pack into a voice search. So, when a consumer is searching with their Alexa, what are the top roofing companies in my area? I think what we’re seeing right now is Google is trying very hard to figure out how to dish out that information. And I think really it’s going to come down to reviews. I think the more reviews, the more five star four and five-star reviews that you can get the better. I think it’s more important now than ever before.
BIM: Talk to me about the actual placing of the maps on the search engine result page versus the organic results which seem to get pushed further and further down and especially for these services businesses.
Adam Vest: Sure. And I think at some point the organic results might be page 2 with the way things are going as far as the adwords that Google shows they’re on the front of a search engine result page. But, map section shows directly below the Google ads. So you, generally speaking, you have three Google ads below that you’re going to have the map pack, the three pack, and then below that, you’re gonna end up having the organic section. Now, as I mentioned earlier, in some industries there are now four different maps business showing up in that map pack, one of them being an advertisement.
BIM: And the other thing that’s popped up recently for service-based industries as these Google sponsored ads as well, which show up above or below the regular ads.
Adam Vest: That’s exactly right. I believe it’s called the Google guarantee. It can be very powerful for companies that go through the process. It’s a pretty stringent process to become a Google verified business with that guarantee. But, it certainly is a conversation that I’ve had with all of my accounts because it did just recently happened. I think they were Beta testing it on the west coast there for years and then just recently rolled out to quite a few major cities.