Promoting social profiles can be a lot easier than promoting your own site due to their authority. This is a well-known tactic that many SEOs use, but have you thought about creating a Google map for?
Why should you be creating Google maps?
Alon Y. Halevy of Google’s structure data group said at the 9th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC), Heraklion 2012
“maps are the most popular visualization, because it is very local. You can get down to your neighborhood and look at what is going on. A lot of data can be presented on maps. The second most popular visualization are timelines, then comes network graphs” (22:55 in video).
In the video Alon produces a number of Google maps, many of them got millions of views. One of the maps he showed (not because the number of views it got) is of public toilets in Australia, apparently it shows that the stereotype about people from Tasmania is true. (26:00 in video)
Maps can go very far – The Guardian Data Blog and Simon Rogers won “Best UK Internet Journalist award” 2011 from the Oxford Internet Institute. The Guardian has used Fusion Tables (to create maps with the data) for many stories.
The Story: Murder around the world received links from 26 root domains and almost 800 shares and likes on Facebook. The story about the riots in England received links from 33 root domains and almost 1,000 shares and likes on Facebook.
Just to top these 2 stories, WNYC created a map of NYC Evacuation Zones that got 246 links from root domains, 6,627 Facebook Shares, 5,321 Facebook Likes and 2,981 Tweets. All figures are according to SEOmoz’s OSE tool.
Besides the fact that maps are the most popular visual aid there is another big advantage maps have. You can get them to rank for local search results relatively easily. You can also get rankings for locations that are not located at your address or location.
This is a great tactic to get rankings in a SERP with local results but not as part of the local result block. The ultimate guide for Shawarma in Jerusalem post is an example for a number 1 ranking with a map in position 2, outranking the local results for the search shawarma in Jerusalem.
There are three factors which need to be pointed out:
- The map is part of the blog post so it was created anyway.
- The URLs in all the bubbles point to the article so even if a user goes to the map there is a good chance they will get to the blog post.
- The map contains keywords.
By the way, the first image result is also from the article. This is a good example of dominating the search results with various types of results/data.
Second example is for the search term Amsterdam theaters. The first result under the local listing is a Google map. This phrase is much more competitive than the previous example.
- Keywords are utilized in title
- The name of creator contains “Amsterdam”
- All links in the bubbles point to pages in simplyamsterdam.nl
- simplyamsterdam.nl does not rank for the phrase “Amsterdam theaters”
simplyamsterdam.nl will never have local rankings because it is an aggregator site. They call themselves “an internet guide for the independent traveler” so they don’t have an address for local rankings but that does not mean they can’t get listed in SERPs with local rankings. As mentioned before it is a lot easier to get Google maps to rank then it is to get your site to rank.
Finding Ideas for maps
If you don’t have ideas for a map here are some tips to help you come up with some:
- Look into the information Google supplies in the knowledge graph for related topics.
- Trending news topics.
- If your site has a blog you could easily go off topic a bit, but stick to your local area.
- Try using Google Fusion Tables
So next time you are looking for an inbound marketing strategy, will you be creating a map?
Disclosure I took part in creating the shawarma article.
Thanks to Eliyahu Speiser for editing the article