Google Maps icon (2020)

Search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved over the past few years. One of the most recent changes is the growth of something called local SEO. For those who might not know, local SEO is an extension of typical SEO only for geographic searches. If a user enters certain qualifiers into their searches such as a city, state, or zip code, Google is going to prioritize results that are near their current location. Even “near me” searches are going to fall under the guidance of local SEO. This is particularly important for brick-and-mortar stores and businesses that provide key services in a given area. Some small businesses that cannot compete with national brands can do so on the local level. The coveted prize when it comes to local SEO is landing in Google’s map box.

What is the Map Box?

When someone enters a geographic search using one of the qualifiers mentioned above, there is going to be a list of the “top three” results that sits just underneath the map. This is going to be an added box that provides the name of the business, a small picture, a short description, an address, and a list of hours. The business is also going to show up on the map. More importantly, there is going to be a star rating next to the business as well. This star rating is based on Google reviews. Research has shown that the overwhelming majority of people who enter a search are likely to click on one of the results in this box. How can a business show up in this box?

How to Land in the Map Box

In order for a business to be able to compete for a spot in this box, the company needs to claim its free business listing. This is located on Google My Business. Then, Google Maps must be embedded on the website. This will give Google the location of the business. In addition, Google will need a photo of the business to use for the map box. Make sure there is a good one present. Finally, invite customers to post reviews on Google. The more positive reviews the business has, the more likely Google is going to rank the business higher on its search results rankings. The goal of Google is to give the person using the search engine the most relevant results. More popular businesses are going to rank higher.

In addition to gathering positive reviews, be sure to list all the services the business provides, use as many choices as possible to categorize the business, and include a call to action button. This might seem like a lot of work; however, it is worth it.

The Utility of the Map Box

The map box is a great way for businesses to generate qualified leads. With the vast majority of people performing local SEO searches, sticking to the map box, this is going to be a critical part of digital marketing now and in the future.