We taught a class this week about SEO basics and received a common question at the end: “Why do I need to invest time and money in my website’s SEO if my Google Maps ranking is high?” And then… “If my Google Maps ranking is good, doesn’t that mean my website’s SEO is great too?”
In short, because it’s insanely important. And no, you need much more than a great Google Maps ranking to improve your SEO. Let us explain…
A Google Maps ranking is reflective of your Google My Business profile and other online listings. Google Maps aggregates this public information based on a user’s location when they search for your business. Don’t get us wrong. It’s awesome and encouraging to see your business pop up right at the top of Google Maps. However, it’s not reflective of your overall SEO health.
For instance, an attendee who asked this question has a site that shows up at the top of Google Maps. Albeit, his website has a domain authority of 1. No Bueno. While local businesses benefit from a prominent Google Maps position—over 70 percent of people who search for a business online visit it within a couple days—SEO is still super important for brick and mortar AND e-commerce businesses. Especially if you only sell online. Here’s why we won’t ever stop being the most broken of records when it comes to the importance of SEO; because it’s the love language of search engine algorithms.
Why Seo Is and Always Will Be (For the Foreseeable Future) Vital to Healthy Website Traffic and Sales—Even with a High Google Maps Ranking
1. The Google Algorithm is Always Changing
Marketing is all about diversity—never putting all of your proverbial eggs into one basket. Why? Because different channels and tactics have nuanced ways of reaching your target customer and complementing your overall marketing efforts. If you think you can retire from the toils of SEO content writing and implementation, think again, because the Google algorithm (and all algorithms) constantly evolve.
Take Google and link building, for instance. In the 90s, everybody and their mom were mass link building to even the shadiest of websites. That’s because Google valued quantity over quality back then. Today, it’s the polar opposite. This week, we chatted with business owners who have had SEO agencies dig them into a bottomless pit of SEO penalty and cause them to start from scratch—hemorraging thousands of dollars in the process—with this outdated link building practice. That’s a longwinded way of saying, even the most popular best practices can fall like Rome. And also this…
While you won’t be penalized by your stellar Google Maps ranking, you could miss out on the opportunity to gain traffic and market share elsewhere—especially if Google rips the rug out from under you and devalues Maps rankings at some point. Do yourself a favor and diversify your marketing efforts to improve your SEO across the board—from the backend to the front end to content, social media, link building, and beyond. You want to have all cylinders firing when Google inevitably shifts what it awards and penalizes when it comes to SEO.
2. Content Is Still King
The more people who visit your website, spend time reading your content, bop around from page-to-page, and share your content with friends, the better your SEO. This kind of traffic and traction won’t happen from a prominent Google Maps ranking alone. While that will drive some traffic to your website and therefore improve your SEO, you also need to create and publish SEO content that engages, educates, and converts.
Do a proper SEO audit to identify competitor keywords you can work to outrank, trending keyword phrases for content ideas, and which pages you can expand upon to capitalize on even better traffic. And OF COURSE, produce as much video content or designed visuals as you can to improve your SEO. People love videos and so do search engines. A video will automatically rank better than content alone.
3. Link Building Matters
Getting quality inbound links from credible websites is still really important for your SEO—like when we were featured in Fast Company. This organically happens when you produce great SEO content that journalists, bloggers, and companies can find and refer to on their sites. The more quality links you build, the higher your domain authority and search engine ranking will be. Linking out to other credible websites is also an important part of SEO and something you should do with your own content.
4. Social Media Factors Into the SEO Equation
You might notice when you Google a business, its social profiles pop up before its website. That right there, friends, is why you need to continue spending time and money on SEO content. While hashtags act as SEO within each social platform, the social platforms themselves enrich your business’s SEO by helping you rank when people search for your name, product, or service. If you haven’t fully invested in social media marketing yet, here are some tips to help.
5. There are Better Indicators of SEO Health Than Your Google Maps Ranking
Google Search Console. Get to know it. Get to love it. Get to rely on it to diagnose your website’s overall SEO health. Google Search Console takes a few minutes to verify and set up on the backend of your site but THIS, friends, is what you should use to determine your SEO success.
With Google Search Console, you can see site impressions, rankings in Google search, clicks, and more important information. Like we said above, your Google Maps ranking does not indicate healthy SEO, but your Google Search Console will be able to tell it to you straight and give you ideas about how you can improve. Start thinking of your individual rankings and social media channels as pieces of your overall marketing puzzle. You’re only as strong as your weakest link and a puzzle is no good when it’s missing a few pieces!
Look, we’d be super pumped (and poor, I guess) if SEO was a one and done thing. Alas, SEO will continue to shift with consumer habits and demands and search engine algorithms’ adaptations to those preferences. Absolutely pat yourself on the back for having an accurate and up-to-date Google My Business profile that allows you to rank highly in Google Maps. However, don’t stop there. Invest in quality SEO content, social media, video, designed imagery, and the back and front end copy on your website. It’s all extremely important.