Rabih Rizk


Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Rabih Rizk, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Rabih is based out of Chicago and specializes in local SEO map ranking leveraging location authority strategies.

As one of the top sellers on Legiit, he can share his insights on GMB ranking factors.

If you have any questions about local SEO, feel free to pick his brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.


Table of Contents

What’s your top local Seo tactics to rank ? And what’s the best way to rank a GMB?

I do look at the whole picture/puzzle, but If I have to choose I would choose OnPage Optimization especially for the page linked to your GMB.

The best way to rank your GMB is to focus on your Location Authority by building citations, local and niche backlinks.

Custom maps with map embeds and social signals along with keyword/city pages.

Where do you send social signals?

Combination to the custom map and GMB.

What are “location authority strategies?” And do you use EXIF data?

Great Question.

If you want to rank organically, you build domain authority.

And I believe if you want to rank on the map, you need to build location authority.

You can build location authority in different ways:

1. Nap Citations

2. Optimizing the landing page keeping in mind the location authority.

3. City Focused pages content

4. Local Niche Backlinks

5. Custom Maps.

Oh and I use EXIF data. But it’s not priority in our work flow.

Why are you using exif since google stripts it?

It all still shows up in G Photos when uploaded.

So I’m guessing the data is still there even if it’s not visible.

Since geo-tagging can be manipulated do you think Google is giving more weight to where a photo is posting to GMB from? Is geo-tagging still a viable tactic to expand locations / services areas?

I believe it has some weight but not like it was a few months ago.

But we still do it for our orders just to be safe, it won’t take much time to do it.

I do believe also outbound links for service city areas has more weight than just geotagging the images.

Does having all the details in your GMB fully filled out really make that much difference for ranking?

Any extra information for the big G will be helpful Aaron.

We completely fill out the GMB in our campaigns and I especially focus on the brief description of your business section.

Which has about 750 characters. So make sure you utilize this space, and use your main keywords at the beginning of 1st paragraph.

Do you recommend creating multiple different custom maps to use in embeds and to link to or is one or 2 good ones enough to get most listings to the top?

To be clear here, the custom maps are one of the tasks to help your GMB ranking.

You will not rank on the map pack if you are only doing custom maps tasks.

The purpose of the custom maps is to focus on the main keyword ” Which will be the meta title of the map” and create a map with your GMB as a map center point, with map point citations and directions.

And after creating map embeds and social signals which will give higher authority to the actual custom map for Google to pass the juice to your ranking by seeing some location authority.

So one or 2 custom maps should be enough if you focused on creating map embeds and social signals.

What is best strategies for ranking a single gmb in surrounding suburbs and near by towns?

A while back I posted a video in my Map Pack SEO group explaining the page structure and how it helps with expanding the coverage area and the surrounding suburbs.

Please check it out:


Does citation stacking work? As in sending tier 2 links to your citations to gain rankings?

Great question.


I noticed sometimes after we create citations, we do not see them on the top of Google when we search the business address.

So if I googled the business address and I do not see the top citations on the 1st page of Google.

I start building tier2 links to the citations to give it more juice to rank higher and pass that authority to the GMB ranking.

What’s the biggest mistake you see people do when optimizing their GMB listings? And how to avoid doing that.

DUPLICATE ADDRESSES is the most mistake I see.

And people tell me “Oh its not ok to have tow GMBs businesses under the same address?”

As soon as we fix the duplicated listing by deleting one of the GMBs or by updating the address their listing sky rock.

And if you open your GMB in the classic mode.

Check the status of each GMB you would see a status called ” Duplicate Addresses” which is a big signal for us that we can’t have 2 GMBs with the same address.


Many of companies have multiple location pages. But the fact is I don’t see any of the company who is ranking for several location targeted keywords. such as, (they are ranking for Plumber in los angles, not for san diego)! Why this is happening for everyone?

Do they have a separate GMB for each city? If yes, they should rank for both locations.

For duplicate addresses, what would you recommend for a building that houses two different businesses? So they would have the same mailing address, but different phone number.

Add a Suite Number or Unit number.

That might fix the issue.

This seems to becoming more of a problem to lots of local businesses. Some claim that they did not open 2 GMB listing but yet see it. Is this from Google itself or some competitors doing shady stuff?

Usually it’s a previous business, or the client them self using a friend business to get the post cards or even simply a shared office.

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Do you see any correlation in GMB CTR and rankings?

TBH I did not do enough testing on this.

But I do know that CTR does help the ranking organically so it might have some weight on the GMB ranking.

What are some of your favorite places to embed the custom driving directions maps? Web 2.0? PBNs? forum posts? Comment sections?

The number one rule we use is to keep the map embeds as a tier 2 with no direct link to your money site.

The purpose of the map embeds is to build location authority which will help to pass the juice to your GMB ranking.

I only use Web 2.0 and PBNs embeds.

On a scale of 0 to 10, how much does custom my maps factor into GMB rankings if you had to guess?

If you would have asked me about 7-8 month ago, I would have said its 7.

Now, I believe its 3 or 4 out of 10, especially if it was done correctly with powering it up with map embeds and social signals.

Are keyword optimized reviews a factor on ranking GMBs?


Google crawls the reviews and matches them to the search term to help rank higher on the maps.


I have multiple GMB locations. Do geo tagged pictures make a difference?

If you have multiple GMB locations make sure each location has its own page and linked to your GMB.

And yes, GEO tagged pictures bring some weight to your location authority.

What tactics have you found to be most beneficial to cover a wider area?

Page structure and local nitch backlinks.

Below is a quick video I shared with my facebook group about page structure https://www.facebook.com/…/permalink/2155112398061044/

What is the best way to Validate the Business Entity?

Not sure if you meant business branding by ‘Business entity’?

If yes, I focus on building branded achor text backlinks and keep branding anchor texts at 20-30 link ratio.

What are your favorite link building strategies for maps? Which tools you mostly rely on for link building when you run a GMB ranking campaign?

There are multiple Web 2.0 tools out there to build map embeds.

I have built my own Web2.0 sites and diagram on a couple of them which helps. The strategy I use started with:

1. Keyword Research, making sure we going after the correct proximity keywords.

2. OnSite Optimization: Optimizing the GMB landing page keeping in mind the location authority priority.

3. Sitewide Optimization: Content and city/keyword pages to cover a bigger radius and add authority to the location.

4. Citations, Custom Maps, Map Embeds, Social Signals, PBNs, Local niche backlinks …..

5. GMB Optimization and more.

What is the best way to verify listing?

Ordering it from me lol.

I mean, if you have the location just verify it via postcard.

If you do not contact me.

Is page updation a big ranking factor for local SEO? Do local SEO pages slip in ranking over time if not updated regularly (monthly or quarterly)?

I would not call it a big ranking factor but it is a ranking factor.

If their no offsite tasks completed, nor you are updating your pages it will gradually decrease.

I try to update and add content on a monthly basis, to keep the crawl spiders satisfied

What type of content should be written(how to use keywords, Keywords Mappings etc) on the page to rank on local? And how can i target more than one keywords (Sub services)?

Your page content should have the norm on page tasks.

I would focus on adding at least 1.5k words.

Inbound and outbound links along with service pages, embedding the GMB map, listing your address or linking to your top citations.

What safe, completely white hat services can I order to dominate my local map pack?

We all agree Piers that any work to manipulate the search engine results is not considered a white hat strategy.

But our strategy avoids penalties or future algorithm updates by

1. Not embeding the custom map on the money site. (I know other vendors do and recommend that)

2. Building tier 2 Web 2.0 map embeds which does not have a direct link to your money site.

The actual custom map is not available for the regular internet user.

The purpose of building it is to build higher location authority especially after powering it up with our special combined strategy of Map Embeds and Social Signals to pass the juice to the GMB ranking.

That’s of course if you have enough synced citations and your website on page is solid.

I do have a 30-60 Days Guaranteed ranking service that I sell on Legiit and go over the campaign from A to Z.

Check it out and if you are interested to talk about it lets schedule a screen share meeting on rizkad.24sessions.com/quickvideochat


Schema and ranking influence of GMB, what are the strongest factors for a boost?

Im not sure what you mean.

But for me the strongest ranking factor is the URL linked to your GMB.

So you don’t think there is a connection between Schema and helping GMB?

I do think there is a connection.

Especially the Local Business Schema with geo coordinates.

Does it make a big difference in ranking if you hide the physical address as opposed to showing it?

Based on my testings and the campaigns experience.

The GMBs that have the address shown publicly rank better than the ones that hides it.

So I always recommend showing the address.

What is the total number of citations yo usually try to hit when ranking a GMB listing?

TBH I look over the quality over the quantity on this.

I do not believe that you need x amount of citations to be able to rank better or who ever has more citations will rank better.

The strategy that I use is building the top 20-50 citations that I get from BrightLocal citations report.

And of course, power them up with web 2.0 backlinks to give them more authority.

What are the top 3 questions you ask your clients when “on-boarding” them on new orders?

If it was for my monthly SEO campaigns.

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I wouldnt like to ask a lot of questions since the questions should have been answered in the pre-sale discussions.

But Ill make sure they understand my work flow, phase notifications and support ticket system. Oh and I would also ask how would they like to pay!

Where do you insert keywords for the on-page SEO? I.e. a dentist has an emergency service. Would it make sense to have <H2> Emergency Dentist on the homepage, or enough to have the H2’s on the service pages?

For my top 3 main keywords.

I use H1-h2, meta titles and meta description, content, inbound link to the service page, and enough content around the keywords.

A business has their GMB account logged out by their SEO agency whom they’ve fired. They tried applying using another email but same business name & address. Google didn’t bite nor send them the verification code. What will you do?

Request access and wait a week and see if the current owner will pass it on to you or hoping he misses the email because it will pass on to you automatically if he/she didn’t reply in a week.

I would also try to call google and ask for the postcard verification. Most likely you would be able to get a solution with them over the phone.

What is the impact of Call tracking numbers in the first spot and Business numbers in the second slot?

Honestly I do not do a lot of lead gen for my self.

I do focus on selling white label ranking services

My client has been floating at 4th place how can i bump them up to 3rd?

I won’t be able to know unless I take a look at the entire campaign.

But most likely they need some onsite tweaks and build higher domain authority than the competitors

How are you link using social signals and web 2.0s? What are you linking to with those social signals and 2.0s. What should people look out for and avoid when linking to Map embeddeds, GMB and the site with those web 2.0s?

I use facebook likes and shares for social signals.

I always use the map embeds as a tier 2 embeds, basically do not use the money site url on the embeds.

I’ve only purchased Facebook likes, which look good, but I heard Facebook shares are important too. Do you sell these, or have a vendor to recommend?

Yes, I sell them as an add ons on my legiit services.

1) whats your best result in GMB? I mean how many leads you ( your customer) received and in what niche? 2) Can you rank in Europe GMB for different languages like German, French, Italian etc. If yes than it easier than english or harder (because you don’t know the terms in foreign languages)?

1. I do not value the success of the campaign with the leads or the calls.

Unless I’m running a full monthly marketing campaign. I meger it with the top 3 ranking.

Best results was about 10 keywords on the map pack in about 15 miles radius in the Kitchen remodeling niche.

2. In english will be easier.

We can rank world wide but it requires help from the client for the translation.

What are the most risky penalty actions? What to pay more attention to?

There are a lot of actions that could cause penalties.

Keywords stuffing on the website and spammy links could get you penalized.

Google allows for professionals to have their own GMB i.e. attorney, doctor, real estate agent that are working for the business at a specific location. If professionals actually took adavantage of this would it impact the main GMB? Assuming different name and number is used.

Great question.

Based on google guidelines doctors and attorneys are allowed to have their own GMBs under the same corporate/company address.

But the main GMB could struggle since it’s using the same exact address especially if the practitioner is running seo campaign and creating citations.

Which will lead the main GMB to be marked as duplicate.

I would like to do more testing on this and would love to hear your results if you are running similar campaigns.

Will you let someone shadow you on how you do seo from start to finish?

I don’t think it’s possible. Thank you so much for your interest.

In the near future I will launch a training class regarding a Local SEO.

With your service on legit of $15 you will create a map for which it it will rank locally on Google maps for 40 locations in 5 mile radius, is this correct?

Oh no.

This will be a custom map built on google my maps strategically to power up the main GMB listings.

How would you tackle the next situation: A B2B client with an office in only one country, who wants to target buyers in multiple cities and countries. Most of these locations feature a map on SERPS. They sell only one type of product. Currently, an agency handling this client is creating dozens of pages for “PRODUCT in CITY” with content that could as well be spun (very low quality with a bit of kw stuffing). How would you approach this? Creating and verifying multiple GMB locations for each city? Around 30-40. Or is there a better way.

I would be very careful with building dozens of pages for Product + City pages.

These type of strategy will help with the organic ranking but It will not benefit your map ranking, it will actually harm the map ranking in my opinion.

The Best approach though is to build multiple verified GMB locations for each city.

Try to keep them about 10 miles radius apart. With separate email accounts.

Think about it as a franchise company with multiple branches with a different address and phone numbers.

As of now, we are still able to create and verify GMBs without the postcard.

But this could change any moment, I would jump on it as soon as possible before google rule out an update to make it harder.


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