5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps [Video]

5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps [Video]

Need to have your business found by more people in the search engines? Here's 5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Every Time Somebody Types in a Local Search

With a business identifier, for example, “dentist St Albans”, Google will list the businesses that it deems to be most relevant.  If your business’s client base is pulled from the local community then recent changes to the Google search results, namely reducing the number of businesses listed in the results from 7 to 3 could affect the number of customers who are able to find your business.




The good news is that if you are listed in the results 3 pack, you will get more calls and more inbound leads for your business. If your business isn’t in that all important top 3, this post and video will give you the advice and tips you need in order to improve the relevance of your Google maps listing yourself.



#1 Verify Your Business Listing.

The first thing that you need to do is check that your Google+ business page is verified. If your first though is ,“I don’t even know if I have one,”  don’t panic, because you probably do. Several years ago Google created 83 million business pages based upon data that was already on the internet and other business directories, many businesses never even realised the page was there and the features remain unused – until now!


To find your page, go to Google and type in “Google my business”.  Click through to the Google My Business page, then click the Get Onto Google button. You will be prompted to enter your Google email address and password to log in. If you don’t have one you can sign up for a password.  In the search bar where it says “find your business” type the name of your business and it should bring up your business listing.


Google will tell you whether the listing is claimed or not, and it will also say whether it’s claimed with the email address you are using. If it is, great!  You can log in and edit the page. If the email address doesn’t match then you need to claim your business.


To claim your business you will need to verify that you are the owner, which you can either do by having a verification pin sent through to your mobile (immediate), or by postcard (which can take 2 weeks). Once you have that pin, enter it into the verification page and your listing will be claimed.


#2 Choose the Correct Category

Once you’ve got the business page verified the next thing you need to do is to check that your business is registered in the correct category. There is no point in your business being listed as a Painter and Decorator if you are a Lawyer!


You can see what category your business is listed as by searching for your business in Google. In the search results, on the right hand side underneath your name you will see the primary business category that you are registered under.


finding your category on Google+


In the Google My Business Centre, check what category is selected and check that it is relevant. If the category that is selected against your business is not correct, then you need to edit the category by searching for a category that better suits your business needs. When you have found the correct category simply hit save.


Google always recommend that you select your business category on the premise of “my business is…“,  rather than “My business does..”


With that in mind don’t go and select all of the services that you offer as this would be against Google terms of service which could result in a penalty against your listing.


Example, If you a private dentist, then you would select Dentist and potentially Cosmetic Dentist, but  not teeth whitening, crowns and implants as these are services that you offer and do not reflect who you are.


#3 Name, Address, Phone Citation (NAP)

The next thing that you do is it is check that the name, address and phone number of your business is registered correctly. In local search this is what’s known as a NAP citation and this citation is what Google uses to recognise whether your business is trusted and relevant in the local area.




If your business has been open for 18 years, the likelihood is that it has been mentioned and recognised online by other members of the local community and will also be included in other website and local business directories. Google uses those citations to help identify how trustworthy your business is.


That is why it is vitally important to make sure that your Name, Address and phone number are correct.


Once you have verified that your NAP is correct with Google you need to check that it is exactly the same as it is listed on your website.


For example, if you’re business is 1A Church Road in Google and your website records your address as 1 Church Road, that is an inconsistent citation and Google will consider that in a negative light. This will have an impact on your position in the local listings .


#4 Citations listed in Business Directories

Once you have checked that your NAP citation is consistent on Google+ and on your website you need to consider how many citations are online and if they are all consistent.


local business directories


As I mentioned above, if your business has been around for a long time it is likely that it can be found on a variety of business directories both local and others that are specific to your niche.


If your business has moved address, perhaps through expansion or because you have merged with another business then there may be a harmful amount of inconsistent citations across the internet.


Some examples of business directories are Yell, Thomsonlocal, Freeindex and Yelp. There are literally hundreds of other local business directories and you need to see which directories have a listing or a NAP citation for your business, then check that NAP citation is consistent with the citation that is listed on both your Google + page and your website.


A number of consistent NAP citations in authoritative business directories is a good signal to Google that you are a trusted provider in your area.


# 5 Positive Reviews

Reviews are significantly important in terms of local search. Google’s mission is to provide an excellent service experience for its users. 


improtance of Google reviews in local search


Google’s users are the ones that go into Google and search for what they need. Google then pulls up the most relevant businesses that match that search criteria and then considers the user generated content around those businesses – typically the reviews.


If you conduct local searches such as “Dentist in St Albans”, “chiropractor in Edinburgh” or simply a “injury lawyer near me”, you will see that in the listings there will be businesses that have reviews.


For your business to stand out in the new 3 pack you need to make sure that your business has reviews. We’re not just talking about 1 review, you need ensure that your business has more 5 star reviews than any of your competitors in and around the local area.


The more 5 star reviews you have the better. It reflects on the services that you are providing to your customers when potential clients look upon your business.


Reviews are so important in the local search infrastructure that you should consider putting in place a review collection strategy where you ask every single person that visits your business to go to Google and leave feedback about you and the experience of they had. By doing this, each customer is effectively sharing their good opinion of you with everyone they know and also potential clients who might see your business for the first time and need persuading that you are the best in your area.


Another benefit of having a large selection of positive reviews from past clients is that if you are unfortunate enough to receive a negative review from a client then it will have less impact amongst all the positives. By proactively asking clients for reviews you are protecting your online reputation.


If you follow the advice in this post, you verify your page, you check your business is registered in the correct category, that your name address and phone number citation are consistent both on Google + and your website, that your business is listed in all the major business directories both locally and niche specific, and finally that you ask every patient to leave feedback for you in order to build up your 5 star rating, then you’ll stand a far better chance of ranking in that all important top 3.


If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box below and I will happily respond.

Brits Just Grin and Bear Bad Dentistry

Brits Just Grin and Bear Bad Dentistry


The UK has endured a bad reputation for dentistry

For a long time, and it seems that this stereotype is still proving hard to shift.


Last week the Telegraph published Brits just grin and bear bad dentistry, claiming that malpractice is widespread and comparing our British Dental practices with what the author perceives to be a superior service in Germany.


Sadly for British Dentists, the article is overwhelmingly negative and will do nothing to help encourage scared or nervous patients to book in for their checkups. No matter how friendly, professional or patient focused your practice is, Dentists across the UK have an ongoing battle to turn the “Bad Dentistry” image around.


So what can you do for your practice to make sure you are seen in a positive light?


Reviews and testimonials

Show the world the great things your practice does! Reviews from satisfied patients are great because they speak directly to all those other potential patients who are looking for affirmation that coming to your practice will be a good experience.



A short video will go a long way to showing the true character of your practice. Consider making a video of a happy patient or a behind the scenes at the practice video. Video helps to make things seem more real, and patients know that video testimonials are hard to fake. It will also give patients a glimpse of your practice so they can see for themselves what it looks like.


A Great Web Presence

Being online isn’t just about having an old website from 1998. You need to have an easy to find, user friendly website that allows patients to find you quickly and easily. You also need to make sure that you can be found by new patients who may not know your practice name but are just searching for a specialist in your area. Many people spend the majority of their time online using social media, so if you want to be seen make sure you are on social media too.


We’ve worked with Dental practices across the country to improve their Online Reputation and to help them reach out to new patients. If you would like to know more about how you can improve your practice’s reputation by making a few immediate improvements call us on 0161 850 4413 now.

Are Your Patients So Scared Of You They’ll Use Superglue On Their Teeth?

Are Your Patients So Scared Of You They’ll Use Superglue On Their Teeth?


This week there was a story that made the national news

About a lady who was so terrified of the dentist that she spent 10 years trying to fix her own teeth with superglue.


Fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias in the UK, with more people afraid of their regular check up than they are of spiders (Dental Health) and about 1 in 4 people overall admitting they dread visiting the dentist (NHS).


While many dentists are acutely aware of these statistics and are doing as much as they can to prove that dentistry doesn’t deserve its scary reputation, the message still isn’t getting through to a vast number of people. So how can individual dental practices reach out to those people who are really scared and make sure cases like the one this week just don’t happen?


On answer is to make sure that you are making the most of your online reputation. This might seem like it has nothing to do with dentistry, which it wouldn’t, if it weren’t for the fact that is has everything to do with your patients.


Think about the last time you wanted information about something. You probably searched for it online. That’s exactly what countless potential patients are doing.


When someone Googles your practice, one of the first things they will see in the search results will be the reviews and star ratings left for you by other patients. If those reviews are bad, the chances are that potential patient will not want to call your practice.2015-06-03_1429

It may be that your business has no reviews whatsoever and you think you aren’t affected by negativity, but think again. Having no reviews is also bad. It means that someone who is looking for information about your practice has nothing to see. These patients who don’t find what they want to see will most likely continue to suffer in silence. Alternatively they will continue their search for another dentist who has more positive reviews to put their mind at ease.


Show nervous patients what they need to see:  examples of other people you have treated who were nervous but are now happy and pain free.


Make the most of social media. For every person that likes an update that you post, that update will be seen by their friends and family, many of whom will also live in your catchment area. When the time comes for those friends and family members to make a long awaited and much needed trip to the dentist they will remember seeing that their friend has liked or commented on your dental practice.


Dental Phobia isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it’s never been easier for dentists to reach out to those people who would never usually set foot within half a mile of a Dental practice. If your online reputation isn’t up to standard then you’re doing your practice, and those fearful patients a huge disservice.

Power your business with a website that sells

Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Online Marketing Strategy.

Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Online Marketing Strategy.

Don’t make these 7 mistakes with your online marketing strategy.

Having an Online Marketing strategy has become absolutely essential for any business. Just getting a website commissioned is not good enough. You need to find and continually work to attract targeted users to your site, in order to convert those browsers into paying clients of your business.

The Internet landscape and search engines constantly update their search algorithms, users change the way they consume and interact with online information and a thus an online marketing strategy that worked well 12 months ago will not be perfect now and can suddenly stop providing results overnight.

Many business’s first reaction may be to panic at thought of the amount of business that is being missed, some won’t even know if changes had impacted them for better or worse and others will sit around cussing Google for their meddling.

The truth is, the search engines are not always at fault and sometimes it would be more prudent to look closer to home to find out where the blame lies.

You are not tracking your results.

Last month your online marketing efforts resulted in a 12% increase in search traffic, 150 new subscribers to your newsletter, 35 new inbound calls, 16 email enquiries resulting in 11 new appointments and 6 new sales.

Now the numbers will vary depending on the niche that you work in but the point is if you don’t know your numbers then stop investing in marketing and advertising until you know where you stand.


If your online marketing has resulted in 2 profitable sales then if you doubled your investment would that result in 4 sales, 8 sales 16 sales, 32 sales etc. On the other hand, if you are not getting any sales then there is a problem and you need to find the bottle neck in your marketing system before you waste another penny.

You cannot manage what you cannot track and without those numbers you are doing your online marketing, and ultimately your business, a huge disservice.

Your Reputation Precedes You

Type in the name of your business and or the name of the your business in the city that you operate. What do you see? The majority of search results will pull up the most relevant results. Some of those results maybe from past clients who have left comments about the service that you provided or lack there of.

People trust what other people say online so you need to make sure that the comments and reviews reflect your business in a favourable light. If they are negative then people may take one look at the reviews and simply move to your next competitor.

Your past and current customers are the biggest advocates of your brand. Ask them to share their experiences about how your business helped them. This in turn will provide an insight to future users of your business how they too could benefit from using your products or services.

Your Website is Not Relevant

Is your website helpful? Does it provide sage advice to questions your users ask? Is it easy to navigate? Does it look and feel fresh and modern?

User demands change and a website that was designed to satisfy users five years ago may not be sufficient today. (Think the increase in mobile use as an example, something we will talk about later in this post)

If you have analytics use it. If you don’t have it then install it. Google Analytics is free and can help answer the following questions that might give you an idea as to where your website is going wrong.

Look into how long people are spending on your site, what pages that are visiting? What pages they enter the website on and what pages they leave the website on? Is there a certain page on your website that people spend longer on than most? Is there a way you could capitalise/engage that group of people to take some form of action; sign up to a newsletter, share this information on social media, provide an offer?

You Are Targeting the Wrong Users

Being the authority for branded keywords related to your business is a given. However this only helps people who already know about you find you. Think about the benefits of your services and products and the questions people would ask if they were looking to solve those problems and develop a search engine optimisation strategy that includes content be that blog posts, articles, videos that provides people with the answers to the problem they are looking to solve thus increasing the relevance of your businesses services. You may find a whole new audience that are interested in your products.

Search Engine Optimisation is Not Relevant

Search engines have a very complex algorithm that they use to calculate the search engine rankings of a page for a given keyword term. Pages are presented with the most relevant first. There are many contributing factors as to how the search engines calculate this but one of these is the number of references/backlinks pointing back to your site from authoritative and trustworthy domains.

This means if someone else in your niche finds your website helpful then they point their readers to it by inserting a hyperlink in their article or post. By doing this the search engines can see that your content is trustworthy and will send their users to benefit from the great value it offers.

Problems can arise when the links pointing back to the site are from less than authoritative sites or are from sites that do not offer any relevance to what your site talks about.

If search engine optimisation is part of your overall online marketing plan then think quality over quantity, every time.

Your Website is not optimised for Mobile Browsers

Having a website that is not optimised for mobile browsers is like having an office or a clinic on the second floor without having a lift. You will immediately lose out on a large part of the potential market.

Mobile vs non mobile

Mobile is very important not only because everybody has access to a mobile phone but a lot of people also have access to tablets or smart devices that they can now browse the internet on.

If when that user lands on your site if they can’t read the text because it is too small or they can’t navigate easily between pages because the buttons are too close together or they can’t see all of the screen. They will leave that website and go somewhere else.

Google has made it very clear that sites that do not confirm to their mobile policies will lose out on search visitors.
Read this post about checking to see if your website is mobile friendly or not.

Your Not Social Enough

The world has gone social and to reflect that shift by the user base the search engines place more emphasis on how popular your content is. In other words is your content being shared across social media; Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc. By having your content shared it shows to the search engines that the content is valuable to other people and this helps with your rankings.

An example of this is would be if a new restaurant opens up in your town, eventually by the restaurant serving great food, having a friendly atmosphere, and providing an excellent customer experience the restaurant will start to be mentioned by word of mouth to other people in and around the local area.

Social media just mean it can happen quicker. Instead of the word of mouth referral being the next time the bump into their neighbour in the street people are now taking picture of their food, or the party of people at the restaurant and sharing it immediately to their local social following. Therefore instead of a one to one referral there is an instant one to many referral.

Include social media share buttons on your website giving people to tell all their friends and connections about your website if they find something that really engages with them. Also, make an effort to interact with your target audience on social media and encourage conversation and sharing of your content.

There is a Complete Lack of Consistency

Online Marketing is not a set it and forget it strategy. There are too many changes implemented daily for that to happen. That is not to say that you have to adapt to all of them because even businesses with the largest budgets in the world would find that too difficult. Focus on providing the user with an excellent experience, through great content and interaction and you will find that your website becomes a magnet for targeted clients resulting in increased sales.