Gimbo

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Hi Guys,
I've been hearing that you can build links to the GMB and embed maps to gain ranking in the GMB listing, all though i haven't really understood what url i should build the link to, also is embedding a map in a web2.0 enough will this help? looking forward to hear what you pros say?
 
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Hi Gimbo,

I haven't seen any proof in a while that a GMB map embed helps things in a big way, but I do think it still helps Google to connect the dots at least, and gives it a stronger signal to understand which business listing is associated with your website. I put it in the same category as setting up proper schema. I wouldn't call it a direct ranking boost, but it does help clear up any ambiguity for Google, which can be very important for certain clients.

I always put a proper map embed on client sites, but it's a low priority for me, I get to it when I have a spare 15 minutes of billable time for the client and there's not anything more important to do.

As for building links to the GMB profile, it's been even longer since I've seen that suggested. I'd be very interested if anyone has a contemporary case study showing it's worth exploring, but for now at least, it's not something I would consider doing. If for no other reason than because it'd provide basically zero customer value. The GMB profile doesn't have much on it that'd make it worth visiting at this point.
 
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Sorry Tim, I probably should have been a little more clear with my wording. Here's a thread from a while back describing what I meant. The idea is to embed a google map of the client's business on a page of their website, hopefully helping Google figure out what business exactly your website is about. It doubles as a good way to allow customers to look up driving directions and see Google reviews from within your site proper. The only downside, Google's map embed will also potentially show competitors nearby if the map is zoomed out too far, or there are competitors very close by with place labels showing.
 

Gimbo

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Hi James,

I really appreciate your reply, what would you consider the most important signal for ranking local? like if you were about to mention one strong signal would that be citations? NAP consistency?
 
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My background is in coding actually, and I have some data scientist friends, so while I'm no data scientist myself, that's where I put my faith. If you want to know what works, anecdotes are fine, I like hearing what experts think works, but nothing beats some proper data analysis done on the right data set.

Not a lot of people do that work in local unfortunately... I need to get off my butt and get into that myself one of these days, but for now, Dan Leibson's the guy to pay attention to. He's working right now I guess on the 2017 local ranking factor study, but his 2016 study is still great, even if it was done pre-possum.

For my two cents, you're basically looking at two classes of factors. You've got 'the price of entry' factors first up. Those are the things everyone needs to do to have even a shot... you can do everything else perfect and still shoot yourself in the foot if you mess this stuff up. It's stuff like site load speed, NAP consistency and citation work, onsite UX (bounce rate and CTR from the SERPs are both known to affect ranking) building solid reviews on the right sites, and so on. Then you've got your competitive difference makers... if you do everything else right, this is what decides who 'wins'. So if I was to pick one factor that I'd say is most important for local pros to focus on, it'd be getting your backlink game up to speed... though obviously you still need to hit everything else too if you want it to actually work.

Moz also posted their 2017 expert survey last month, so if you'd like to see what all the experts think to go along with the data study I posted above, you should check it out. That'll give you a great sense of what's happened post Possum too, Darren Shaw made a point of organizing things around that topic for this survey.
 

Gimbo

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looking at Dans study he says links are an important ranking factor, but where are those links pointed to? he doesn't explain this, do you have any idea?I mean are they pointed to the website connected with GMB or is it links to the map he is talking about?
 
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Just normal backlinks to the website, especially to the page the GMB profile is linking to. In other words, if the page the GMB links to is ranking organically for a search term, you're very likely to find the associated GMB in the 3-pack.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Here's my take on this thread:

James has a lot of great information in his responses, and I really don't have much to add. He sourced a few solid survey's/studies, so definitely check those out.

The biggest thing you need to do is test yourself. Local search does not operate in a vacuum, so every situation will be different. The most common advice is to link to your website, but there are exceptions to this. Create a hypothesis, document, and test the theory for a very weak market. If it proves true in that market, then build upon it as you go into tougher industries.

It all depends on your situation and how much time you can devote to testing.
 

VDecastro1

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I can say with a fair degree of certainty that many of the old GMB ranking factors are changed, for instance the strength of the page linked to in the GMB no longer seems to be a ranking factor. We have been testing some ideas including linking directly to the GMB from sources other than citation sites or general sites. I will come back with some info as soon as I can confirm or deny that this tactic has any value.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Looking forward to the case study you're working on!

< rant >

One word of caution for people that will read it; it's not going to be 100% applicable to every business. Not all businesses are on equal playing field, and it's near impossible to isolate specific ranking factors. Hopefully the strategy and hypothesis behind the test will be outlined in good detail for others to replicate on their own.

You can only learn if something works by testing for yourself. To also prove or disprove something, the sample size of tests needs to be significant. Testing one or two sites could be an indication if both share the same result, but never stop testing.

< /rant >
 

Igor

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I can say with a fair degree of certainty that many of the old GMB ranking factors are changed, for instance the strength of the page linked to in the GMB no longer seems to be a ranking factor. We have been testing some ideas including linking directly to the GMB from sources other than citation sites or general sites. I will come back with some info as soon as I can confirm or deny that this tactic has any value.

So, any findings? I'm curious about this as well.

Generally speaking - is there such a thing as a 'natural link' to a GMB page? I suppose a popular local company/place that has no official website might have people linking to its GMB place, but what about companies with a website available?
 
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