How to improve your natural referencing with MSO (Map Search Optimization)?

by bold-lichterman

Historically, one of the first sectors to understand the value of local SEO is certainly real estate. Internet users looking for a property necessarily use queries made up of several occurrences (type of property, economic model, criteria, geographical area, etc.) including location; often more and more precise; of the desired good.

In the past, and in different sectors, I have been able to realize personally how important the geographical criterion was. On average, more than 60% of Internet users from natural referencing used a geographic variable in the search. This trend is easy to understand. Search engines offer so many links in results, that Internet users are forced to resort to increasingly precise queries to refine the proposed results.

By way of example, to illustrate this observation, there is much more traffic on the query “rent apartment in Paris” than on the query “rent apartment in France”

How to improve your natural referencing with MSO Map Search

Moreover, from a semantic point of view, the tendency being frankly to the increase in the number of keywords typed by Internet users, it would now be much more legitimate to speak of “key expressions” rather than “keywords”.

From a strategic point of view, we can also see that directories (UrbanDive for the Yellow Pages, etc.) and search engines are positioning themselves more and more on local content: maps, routes, local news. Even social platforms like Facebook have integrated a map navigation service.

We can also anticipate the impact of new features such as geotemporality (which allows Internet users to personalize a page by dynamically memorizing their location) on the SEO profession. These techniques will inevitably result in new uses and new strategies in terms of local referencing.

The answer to these new uses lies firstly in referencing techniques in interactive maps (Google Map, Yellow Pages, Bing, etc.).

First step: Add your card to the Google address service

Google offers a local SEO service.

Several fields must be filled in: Country, Company, Full address, Telephone, e-mail, site url, description and categories. You can take advantage of the “Company” and “Description” fields to add (sparingly) some important key expressions.

Once the form has been completed, the validation procedure by Google (validation by sending a letter) will take about two / three weeks.

Google’s advice for filling in the Google Address file .

These tips are also included with a concrete example on the official Google blog.

Useful precision, do not forget the indexing on the mobile version of Google maps.

Second step: Add your listing in the Yellow Pages directory and in the Bing Map service

Listing your site in the Yellow Pages directory is an excellent practice since in terms of traffic, the volume of yellow pages users is enormous and in terms of usage, users of the Yellow Pages web service, of its mobile version or applications have become accustomed to performing a double search made up of both a name (company or profession) and a place (postcode, town, department, region, etc.).

In addition to the traffic from the Yellow Pages, the other strategic advantage of appearing in their directory lies in their partnership with Microsoft, since Bing Maps displays results from the Yellow Pages directory:

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Indeed, to reference you in Bing Map, direct service exists but it is only accessible to companies located in the United States. So the only alternative to appear in Bing Map so far is to go through their partner: The Yellow Pages.

The local SEO tool offers 3 services (via Infobel): adding your contact details to the directory, updating and deleting them.

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Let us salute here the work of the teams of the Yellow Pages marketing department, which has understood the interest of local referencing, since if you carry out a search on a service of “referencing of Internet sites” in the “92”, among the 5 results offered by the Yellow Pages directory, appear (respectively in 1st and 2nd position) the headquarters of the Yellow Pages and the PJMS entity (Pages Jaunes Marketing Services) …

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Third step: Add their contact details in their meta tags

We recommend adding the key elements in the 3 tags (title, description and keywords).
Here is the possible structure for writing tags:

{SITE NAME}: {key site activity} {Complete address}. Tel: {phone number}

Fourth step: Mention your contact details on all pages of the site

The simplest technique is to display their contact details (physical address, telephone and email) on all pages of the site, in the header or in the footer.

This practice has several advantages:
On the one hand, it is “user friendly” for the visitor Internet user who will not have to multiply the clicks (contact> contact details) to find a phone number.
On the other hand, it is technically useful for referencing since more and more Internet users are adding criteria linked to a particular geographical area in their requests.
Finally, it makes it possible to comply with the law, since articles 14 of the LCEN and 121-18 of the Consumer Code stipulate the obligation to display on the site the name of the seller of the personal data (company name, rcs number, capital company) as well as its full contact details (head office address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc.).

Note also that this practice will prove to be very useful for Internet users who surf the site via a mobile since the framework of the mobile OS will automatically transform a phone number into a clickable variable triggering a call and an address into a variable. also clickable to the available map service (Google Map or Bing), allowing it for example to benefit from the “route” function from its position.

Fifth step: Integrate the interactive maps into your own site

It is technically interesting to add interactive maps to a site for several reasons:
On the one hand, the service is practical for Internet users since it offers many practical features: zoom, url forward, route calculation, etc.
On the other hand, for a brand with several points of sale (franchise network for example) the integration of a card will make it possible to offer a value-added service for the CRM-oriented web user of the “store locator” type.
Finally, the integration will technically constitute a true exchange of reciprocal hypertext links of the “backlink” type with Google and Bing.

Sixth step: Anticipate the use of “Microdata”

Like Sitemap XML files to help search engines index the urls of a site, we can find recommendations (“Microdata”) on how to better encode the geographic coordinates of a site. site.
Thus, on the site http://schema.org/ one can find suitable syntax guidelines.
For example the “itemprop” to mention an address is “streetAddress” and that of a city is “adressLocality”.
The screenshot below shows an example with classic html and its transcription in the “Microdata” format:

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The site offers personalized titles depending on whether the address is a simple place (http://schema.org/Place) or more like a local business (http://schema.org/LocalBusiness).

At Modedemploi, we have for example adopted this syntax in the contact page of the site: http://agence-modedemploi.com/site/contact/index.

Webmaster Tools offers a free url that allows you to check whether or not Google parses the data entered correctly:

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It is really a shame that the Google Trends service does not allow to know the traffic on the url http://maps.google.fr/ since Google Trends refuses to display statistics concerning the Google ecosystem but on the other hand we can see that the traffic of Bing Map is constantly increasing, which clearly illustrates the use of Internet users and therefore therefore the strategic interest to be included in it for brands.

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Concretely, if your site is indexed in the Yellow Pages, that your listing is up to date in Google Maps and Bing Maps, that the information entered is consistent and includes key expressions and links, then you maximize your chances of seeing your site appear in answer in a geographic search.

In conclusion, Map Search Optimization brings immediate benefits in improving natural referencing. Not only does this technique respond to a trend of new use among Internet users, but in addition it directly and immediately impacts the positioning and visibility of content when a user’s request includes geographic criteria.

Francois Sutter

Executive Board Manual