Getting your HVAC business listed on the Google Map for "AC Repair + Your City" and other important keywords comes down to three core criteria.
1. Having a claimed and optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing
2. Establishing a consistent N.A.P. across the web via citation development.
3. Having real reviews from your real customers in your true service area..
In this post, I explain how to properly optimize your Google Maps/+ Local listings.
If you have not already claimed your Google+ Local listing, you can get instructions by clicking here.
There are a number of best practices that you want to be aware of to properly optimize your Map listing.
- Company Name - Always use your legal company name - don't stuff additional words into the name field. Ex. If your company name is "Joe's Heating and Air," don't try to add keywords such as "Joe's Heating and Air - Dallas". This would be against the Google My Business guidelines and will reduce your probability of ranking well.
- Address - In the address field, use your EXACT legal address. Ensure that you have the same address listed on your Google My Business listing as it is on all of the other online directory listings such as YellowPages, CitySearch, Yelp, etc. The consistency of your N.A.P. profile (name, address, phone number) is very important for placement.
- Phone Number - Use a local number (not an 800 number), and use your real office line rather than a tracking number. We find that 800 numbers don't rank well. If you use a tracking number, it won't be consistent with your other online directory listings and it ultimately won't rank well.
- Categories - You can use up to five categories, so use ALL five. Be sure to use categories that describe what your business "is" rather than what it "does". So, you can use "HVAC Contractor" and "Air Conditioner Repair Contractor" rather than "AC Repair" or "Duct Cleaning." The latter would be considered a violation of Google's regulations and would hurt rather than help you.
- Service area and location settings - Google offers two options here: 1. No, all customers come to my location; 2. Yes, I serve customers at their location. As a home services business (HVAC, AC Repair, etc.), you need to select "Yes, I serve.." because clearly you and your technicians are visiting the customers at their location. Not doing so can result in a penalty on your listing.
- The next option is "Do not show my address." If you work from a home office, it is required that you select this option. Not doing so puts you at risk of having your listing deleted.
- If you don't have a business or home address to list, the only other option is a virtual office. Unfortunately, P.O. Box addresses and mailboxes don't tend to rank well.
- Picture and video settings - You can upload up to ten pictures and five videos. Use this opportunity to upload authentic content about your company. It's always best to use real photos of your team, office, and equipment rather than stock photos.
- Pictures - You can get more juice from this section by saving the images to your hard drive with a naming convention such as "your city + ac repair - your company name," rather than the standard file name. You can also create geo-context for the photos by uploading them to a video sharing website like Panoramio.com (a Google property) that enables you to Geo-Tag your photos to your company location.
- Videos - Upload VIDEOS. They don't have to be professionally produced and can help resonate with your customers. A best practice is to upload the videos to YouTube and then Geo-Tag them using advanced settings.
Once you have optimized your listing using the best practices referenced above, you want to be sure that you don't have any duplicate listings on Google Maps. We have found that just one or two duplicate listings can prevent you from ranking on page one. In order to identify and merge duplicate listings, run a search on Google for "Company Name, City."
To clean up duplicate listings, click on the listing in question and click "edit business details."
Click "This is a duplicate" to let Google know that the listing should be merged with your primary listing.