Hey LCT, we wanted to deliver to you another incredible piece of hybrid training content that illustrates how you can achieve success with ranking GMB listings in the 3 Pack, and we also included the same checklist that Brian uses to crush maps rankings. We know this update, introduced several months back, dramatically changed the landscape of local marketing on Google forever, but it seems no one has addressed the strategies that need to be implemented to effectively compete in this incredibly important piece of digital real estate.

My Grand pappy always said, “The proof is in the puddin’.” Aside from refusing to enunciate his g’s, he was a man wise beyond his years. I am being facetious of course, but that does not negate the fact that there is a lot of theoretical content disbursed throughout our industry. I do enjoy spit-balling some “what ifs” back and forth, but to preach that theory as gospel is a disservice to everyone taking it in a literal sense.

Questions? Join the discussion here in our official Facebook thread.

Why this rant you might ask? Well, we like to make it clear when we are separating theory from actual data backed information to share with the community. So with that said, let’s start by looking at some of these ranking snapshots.


Here are but a dozen screenshots-just some of Brian’s actual clients that are crushing their local markets by pulling leads from the local 3 pack. He walks the walk and the following training can get you started on the path to more rankings, more leads, and essentially more revenue for you and your clients. No theory, no bs, just results. Join us in taking over maps and please do let us know your results in the LCT Facebook group.

A special thank you to LCT co-founder and our resident Google My Business Bada** Brian Willie for putting together such a comprehensive training and checklist to help accelerate your maps rankings so you can generate more leads, charge clients more money, and get your foot in the door by offering a service that many agencies drop the ball with.

Oh, did we mention it can be used on your own lead gen sites too?-whether you use a rank rent model, a pay per lead model or the hybrid site rental/lead generation model we teach here.  You can also check out Brian’s maps services over at Maps Liftoff. 

Grab Our FREE GMB Ranking Checklist Here


In a brief introduction, Brian introduces himself (sorry for the redundancy) and outlines some of the nuggets we can expect to gain from participating in this training. Whether you currently don’t have a listing, you are onboarding a client that needs an immense amount of work, or anywhere in between; we are confident at the conclusion of this mini course you will have the necessary tools to take your GMB campaigns to the next level.


Key Takeaways from this Video: 



Part II: Initial Research and Understanding Google’s Blended Algorithms to Determine Competition 

In this second video, Brian explores some essential research that you should complete before optimizing ANYTHING! This simple, and often overlooked process will have you optimizing for the most intelligent queries, and avoiding investing time into ranking for keywords that are not pulling maps listings when searched.

He also covers some important points pertaining to what he refers to as a “disconnected” or “disjointed” blended algorithm vis a vis understanding how Google has evolved over the years to look at much more than GMB on page optimization and the citations that we build. In the same breath, the importance of being in the 3 pack is stressed as Google’s Entity search technology is favoring large brands like Yelp and Home Advisor in the top organic positions over SMB inside of local queries.

In conclusion, Brian discusses the true blended algorithm that haunts many of the more competitive queries and niches and what that means for your ranking campaign. This video will make crystal clear the steps we need to take before we embark on any GMB optimization campaign. Understanding these principles alone will set you apart from the majority of local marketers you will be going up against. In fact, here’s a hint: most local marketers have no idea that this blended algorithm even exists and why it’s so important to understand.



Key Takeaways from this Video: 


  • Take the time to test your keyword research against what queries actually serve a 3 pack. This will enable intelligent optimization rather than wasting time optimizing for search terms that do not provide a local pack.  PRO TIP: If you need assistance with geo-targeting your search since Google disabled that feature for us, use this tool to set your location.
  • Understand whether the local queries for which you are optimizing utilize a disjointed or true blended algorithm and what that will mean for your campaign.
  • Some high-level tips and advice for what is needed to tackle your competition based on the aforementioned algorithms.
  • Download the full GMB ranking checklist here
  • Questions? Join the discussion here in our official Facebook thread.

 Part II: Onboarding a Client’s Existing GMB Listing

Fasten your seat belt because Mr. Willie takes a deep dive into his checklist that outlines the exact procedure he follows for bringing on new clients. Actually, there should be no seat belt. If you are reading this while driving then that is irresponsible and a seat belt is not going to make much a difference in the horrid end you are inevitably facing. I digress…

This is a must for your agencies’ SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) as it is going to allow you to not only go about ranking in the 3 pack effectively but in an organized manner as well. Having this stuff laid out in to-do lists and templates will make your life easier, and Brian certainly engineered an easy to swipe action list for you guys in this video.

I know it is always fun to jump into some ninja ranking tactics, but first and foremost we need to do a lot of information, credential, and profile collection. We need to exhaust Google’s list of categories that are relevant to the GMB campaign we are working on, and then finish phase II by writing a definitive and lengthy business description to be added into our listing.

Do not miss the very end of the video where Brian gives us some helpful tips, Dos and Don’ts if you will, for optimizing your listing. PSST…There is one tip here that outraged a bunch of so called gurus as they vehemently disagreed with Brian on this point a year ago. Fast forward a few months and people were getting slammed out of the pack for this misstep, getting their listings penalized, and we were reminded why Brian Willie is the king of the Local Pack.

Key Takeaways from this Video: 

  • Determine first if cleanup is required or if their citations are consistent with the information listed on the GMB page.
  • Obtain any login details your client may have for their existing listings
  • Collect photos from clients to use when building out their page. Don’t miss this step. The photos GMB wants have drastically changed over the past year. Get this wrong and it will be tough for you to rank!
  • Get access to your client’s site and ensure you have the client’s permission to perform edits that are needed for the GMB ranking campaign
  • Verify that the GMB listing in question matches exciting citations.
  • Obtain the URLs of the brand’s social properties
  • Add in proper categories until all relevant options are exhausted. There is no longer the option to create custom categories, so we have to live with what GMB allows as category options.
  • Write a lengthy description to add to the GMB page
  • Get the full checklist, for free, right here
  • Questions? Join the discussion here in our official Facebook thread.


Part III: Optimizing Your Listing and Why We Cannot Have Nice Things 

In this short training video Brian takes us into an actual highly competitive listing he put into the 3 pack, but will be shutting down, and explains why this is the best example he can give because we most certainly cannot have nice things (See blurred screenshots above and you’ll understand why!).

More important than the example itself is the thorough explanation, he gives on optimizing your actual GMB listing.

Brian makes us privy to some helpful tips pertaining to adding categories, handling the introduction section like a pro, and adding your photos the right way.


Key Takeaways from this Video: 

  • If there is one thing you learn from this video it should be the completeness of the GMB page you are working towards ranking. But-not completeness for completeness’ sake. He’ll walk you through the intelligent way to complete your listing by adding the right types of information that Google wants to see here.
  • Don’t forget to download your GMB ranking checklist here
  • Questions? Join the discussion here in our official Facebook thread.

Bonus Video

Before leaving this section we wanted to discuss the situations in which there are no categories available for queries that are serving a 3 pack in the results when searched, as well as keywords that pull listings in which the results have nothing to do with the categories of the GMB pages that are being served.

This is manipulated using different optimization techniques both on the GMB page as well as the website connected to that listing, which can/will trigger different semantic categorizations when Google is determining the relevance of the query compared to the content associated with the brand, and content that is synonymous with the intent of the search in general.

Translation: You’ll rank in the 3 pack for many more keywords, even when no category is available that would normally be associated with your keyword or group of keywords. This is what separates the amateurs from the pros.


Grab Our FREE GMB Ranking Checklist Here
Part IV: New Client Listings Done the Right Way, Like a Boss

You will run into scenarios throughout your GMB ranking journey in which the client or site you are working with/on has no existing listing. In this case we need to roll up our sleeves and knock this out of the park. Who better to walk us through this process than the Willie-a-nator. That is not a real thing… I am borderline embarrassed. Let’s continue on.

So obviously the first part of this procedure will be a bit redundant as it is identical to the first steps of the last section. Once organized and ready to trudge on, we run into another set of steps that may seem painfully obvious, but we decided to add them into this training to satisfy the needs of our beginners. If you are an avid user of GMB you can skip pieces of this video as it will be rehashing information that is pertinent, but essentially review.

For those of you who want to refresher or hands on aspect of setting up your GMB, page stay tuned because Brian covers the entire process in intimate detail.


Key Takeaways from this Video: 


  • Complete the checklist from previous sections to get everything organized and assess how much work we have ahead of us
  • Head over to Google my Business and use your desired Gmail account to get started with your listing
  • Following Brian’s demo, enter all of the requested information correctly
  • Choose one category for now. Don’t worry, we’ll add more later after the listing is verified.
  • Select whether this listing is for a service based business or if the business will cater to customers at a physical address. Warning: Tread lightly here. If you are working with a service based business, make sure to check the correct box that you see customers at their location. Doing this wrong can flag or penalize your listing very quickly.
  • Once complete verify the listing by continuing through and having Google send a postcard to the given address.
  • After receiving the postcard, sign back in and enter the code to confirm verification
  • Finish optimizing the listing by adding relevant categories until they are exhausted, use the earlier training to create a lengthy business description, being sure not to repeat categories or city/business names here, refer to the video training on photos below and implement those steps, grab the GMB URL for later use and you are done with this phase.
  • Make the process easier by downloading the full GMB ranking checklist 
  • Questions? Join the discussion here in our official Facebook thread.


Want to See it Done Live? No Problem! Check it out Below



Part V: Lead Gen Listings, A Gentleman’s/Woman’s Guide to Getting Awesome with GMB

CAVEAT: This can get a little gray hat. If that seems icky to you please cover your ears and eyes and sprint to the next section as we do not want to make you forever unclean.

If you are still with us that means you appreciate living on the edge a bit and you obviously know how to party. In this video, Brian tiptoes around some high-level concepts that can be used to obtain an address and verify it. We have some pretty awesome tactics in our Final Frontier mastermind that pertains to obtaining and verifying addresses for lead gen and rank and rent sites as well, so we are hesitant to make all of those tactics public. The abuse would run rampant.

For the sake of transparency, this video is more about awareness than a big bag of tricks to get the job done, but using the steps outlined you should be able to make some magic happen. Brian covers a few ways of accomplishing our goal with both service based and physical location businesses.

Aside from acquiring the address and some sneaky verification tactics, the steps you need to follow to rank these bad boys are in line with the checklists we have been sharing. Follow them when optimizing and your gray hat, lead generating GMB will be turning a profit for you in no time flat.



Key Takeaways from this Video:


Part VI: Maximizing Optimization for a Better Tomorrow, for your GMB Listings

In the final sections, the Final Frontier of optimizing these listings, we delve into some strategies that can and should be used to outwit and outperform your competitors. We have been preaching a lot of these since the inception of LCT. It makes me smile when I see gurus still rehashing stuff from our early videos to their communities and positioning it as golden nuggets. I love how our training has helped so many people whether directly or from the recycling of our tactics. Let’s get started…

Firstly, Brian walks us through the correct way to optimize and geo-tag our photos. This is as simple as throwing some latitude and longitude coordinates into the deep meta data of a photo (EXIF data) using whatever tool that tickles your fancy, cross referencing those geo coordinates to make sure they match using Google Maps or ithouchmap.com, and then further optimizing the photo by adding the NAP information into the meta data as well.

PRO TIP: Be sure to not skip the part where you verify that your meta data stays inside of your photo after uploading to whatever platform you are adding them to. Some themes, sites, scripts, etc. can essentially clear the meta data thus making the time you took to optimize a complete waste.

ADVANCED TIP: Add your optimized images to select high DA sites for additional power.

Brian then briefly expresses the importance of creating an almost mirror-like relationship between your website and its GMB listing. I take this a step further when coaching people by explaining the importance of triggering Google’s entity search and it’s semantic engine by using all of your branded properties to your advantage, by interlinking them, syndicating content across them, and appearing as if you have a ubiquitous presence across the serps, but more on that another day.

We chat about Schema next. We talk a lot about semantic search and schema in the group and in my most awesome Schema training post ever (Swipe File Included), so we will not deep dive into that at this very moment.  However, its importance when optimizing for the 3 pack cannot be overstated, and because people are still in the early stages of adopting these techniques, it can create a definite advantage over your competition.

Citations are still very important. Citations have been made synonymous with local and national directories but by definition it is any time a source cites our brand. Let that sink in and allow your imagination to run wild as to all of the opportunities you have at your disposal to get a link with your NAP associated with the content that points back to your properties.

I am not going to deep dive into the different kinds of citations in this post as that could create an entire other training course inside of this mini course, but you need to have an understanding of the three main data aggregators and ensure your information is correct on these sits. Getting this wrong could cause you to plunge into a rabbit hole of citation repair, and that is a journey not even Alice could come back from. (I have a 5 year old so those references just happen some times)

A final word on citations is to really step up game here.  Most people only consider the major business directory style citations (think Yelp, Super Pages, Insider Pages etc.).  You should also consider geo-specific state sites, niche specific citations, and hyper local sites from which to acquire these little rank booster gems. Brian also covers an interesting citation boosting strategy that can deliver some stellar results.

Creating authority boosting networks and IFTTT syndicating machines can provide what are referred to as unstructured citations and quick ranking boosts. We have some wicked IFTTT training and social autopilot material that will fast track this process and have you on the road to rankings in no time.

A final thought for this video is one that brings us back to the first training introduced in this post, where we discuss analyzing what algorithm Google is using to organize and display search results. If we are working with a true blended algorithm then we need to work towards increasing our site authority and rankings as well. A lot of this stuff we discuss can and will benefit both the site and the listing, so rest assured if you follow this checklist, Brian’s blueprint of brilliance, you will do just fine.


Key Takeaways from this Video: 


  • Geo-tag your photo’s EXIF data, implementing the best practices laid out in the training videos
  • Ensure your GMB listing directly mirrors your site (and even other properties) thus creating a ubiquitous presence on the SERPS
  • Add schema the right way
  • Create branded authority networks and IFTTT syndication automation 
  • Cut no corners and enjoy no shortcuts when it comes to complete and powerful citation building. Boost these citations if you deem it necessary. This can be a game changer in more competitive niches.
  • With a true blended algorithm in play-keep a holistic mindset and boost the authority of your site with proper on-site optimization, link building and variety of other ranking factors
  • Download the GMB ranking checklist here
  • Questions? Join the discussion here in our official Facebook thread.


Part VII: Cross Referencing Addresses with Geo-Coordinate Data 

In the final video in this extensive and in depth tutorial, Brian goes through one final step to take before you scale out the optimization for your GMB ranking campaigns. While this is not the most widespread issue it does indeed happen, the instance where Google erroneously sticks the marker in a different city or state based on the address you input.

The worst position we could possibly put ourselves in is using a set of geo-coordinates to tag our photos and Google thinks that latitude and longitude set exists somewhere it does not. It only takes a few moments to double check this data so it’s best not to cut corners and verify that your lat and long are showing up on the maps in the correct location.


Key Takeaways from this Video: 


This is a super solid foundation to get you guys started ranking in the 3 pack and blow by your competition. Don’t forget to download our checklist so you can keep yourself organized, and have a secret weapon to outwit and outperform everyone else that is pushing for your spot in the snack pack.

If you guys want to converse about this guide, ask questions, make comments, etc. join that chat in our Facebook group and let us know what is on your mind.

For tougher situations where you are having trouble ranking or just want to know some serious shortcut secrets to getting your site or client’s sites into the 3 pack, head on over to Maps Liftoff for more details.

Grab Our FREE GMB Ranking Checklist Here