Whether you are a small local business or a company with hundreds of locations, ranking on Google Maps can open a wide window of customers. Google My Business is the platform that works like a magnet for potential customers within your service area. It also conveys invaluable information about your business such as, working hours, address, phone number, category etc. The best part? It’s Free!
Here are some essential tips to improve your local ranking and rank higher on Google Maps. All these tips are up-to-date with Google’s latest guidelines.
First, let’s discuss the importance of Google Maps ranking.
Why Consider Google Maps Ranking?
- Research shows that Google Maps is the preferred navigation app for 67% of consumers.
- An optimized Google Maps listing will show up first for relevant searches.
- Consumers end up on Google Maps business listings from discovery keywords (category and attributes of your business).
- Ranking on Google Maps solidifies the authenticity of your business. Consumers are more likely to trust you that way.
- It opens up the opportunity to work on SEO for your business.
To summarize, it can be said that every local business should care about ranking in Google Maps to increase Brand Visibility. Isn’t that your ultimate goal?
Google My Business (GMB) is a very powerful tool when used with your online business and SEO strategy. It is a free platform by Google where local businesses can create a profile that is displayed across a variety of Google products. Your verified GMB profile will display information about your business including:
- Business name
- Business description
- Phone number
- Business category or industry
- Locations that you serve
- Business hours
- Products and services
This platform has gained such popularity that Google Maps marketing is now a legit process. It is not enough to just list your business on GMB. You must also optimize it. To improve your business’s local ranking, claim and update your business information on the platform.
How Google Determines Local Ranking?
Before jumping into the tips, you need to understand Google’s perspective. It ranks local businesses based on their relevance, distance and prominence for the consumers. If someone searches for a category of business, Google will not only show results based on location proximity but also depending on the other perspectives.
“Our algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”— Says Google.
How Relevance Helps in GMB Ranking?
Your business needs to meet what consumers are searching for. That is why, there is a huge scope to play with the keywords. Also, it is the place where you need to target those local keywords. Your profile must contain as much information possible to satisfy a potential customer’s needs. Add complete and detailed business information to help Google better understand your business.
How Distance Helps in GMB Ranking?
If you are a business in Maryland, chances are you will not be able to entertain any consumer from say, India. So specify your location and territory properly. If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on the user’s location through GPS. Sneaky right!
How Prominence Helps in GMB Ranking?
Prominence refers to how well known a business is. Suppose, you run a restaurant with a dine-in facility. Your GMB profile will be ranked based on that attribute. Businesses that operate offline, can gain a lot from this. Try to put your SEO game accordingly. However, if your business operates online, it’s a great chance to interlink that. Google will calculate whatever info it can gather from your online activities from across the web, like links, articles, and directories.
Tips to Improve Your Local Ranking on GMB
We are listing every aspect you can explore to rank higher on Google Maps. If you don’t have a GMB listing, follow these quick steps first.
Go to Google.com/maps or to the Google Maps app on your smartphone and search for your business name.
If it appears in the drop-down menu with a location next to it, then you have a listing! Skip to the next section.
If your business name doesn’t appear, you’ll see an option in the drop-down menu to “add a missing place.”
Once you click that, you’ll be prompted to provide your name, category, and location.
Important Note: Anyone can create a business listing for free. So don’t freak out just yet to see your business already listed; even if you haven’t done it yourself. It is always best to check and see if your business listing already exists or not. All you need is to claim it. Google gives access to only the one who dares to claim their business.
So with that note, Let’s Dig in!
# Tip 1: Claim your Google Maps business listing
It ain’t yours till you claim it. The entire process is free but you need to put some extra effort to maintain the authenticity. Be it a small one room start-up or a multinational business, claiming your name for the GMB listing is mandatory. If you can’t find a “Claim this Business” or “Own this business” link on the Business Profile, you’re likely already an owner for the business. On your profile, search for a “You manage this business profile” badge.
# Tip 2: Add Relevant Information and Keywords to your listing
Make sure that your business information in Google My Business is accurate, and engaging. Add good quality images to your business profile, especially if you are a local business operating offline. If you want to rank higher in Google Maps through organic search, avoid unnecessary keyword stuffing. Remember, SEO doesn’t mean to give overdose of keywords but to optimize them. Google has made it’s algorithm very specific on that note.
You need to complete every section of your Google My Business dashboard. Keep your name, address, and phone number consistent. The phone number serves best if local; or else a mail ID serves the purpose well. Properly describe and categorize your business to help Google to find you.
# Tip 3: Get Google reviews
Google reviews count! Request your customers to rate your business on Google Maps and post reviews. If you are a new company, perhaps your friends can help. The review score or the stars that you won will help into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings will boost your business’ local ranking all together. It basically shows Google your credibility in the eyes of your consumers.
# Tip 4: Build Niche and Local Citations
Since the GMB is just another part of the search engine, SEO plays a major role. But how would you know what keywords to use if you don’t define a niche for your business? Don’t confuse Google with multiple niche keywords. Local SEO includes building niche and local relevance via on-page and off-page optimizations. For example, a niche relevant citation of a plumber would be plumbing and HVAC directories.
Don’t forget to get the citations indexed. You can link out to the citations from your site, put them through the Google mobile-friendly testing tool, or send them to an indexing service. Remember, they are pretty much worthless for SEO if they don’t get indexed by Google.
# Tip 5: Get Social Share Links
Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube etc. have become an integral part of your online presence. The significance of these social signals are undeniable for ranking higher on Google Maps, as well as in organic search results. So make sure to get social share packages, or at least run a simple social media promotion/ad with your company’s link. It is not only a ranking factor, but also will help you get more traffic and potential customers.
# Tip 6: Optimize your Website
In addition to taking action directly on your business listing, there are some optimizations you can perform on your website to support higher Google Maps ranking. The more traffic you have on your site will automatically reflect on the GMB ranking and vice-versa.
Make sure your website is responsive across all devices. You can also perform other optimization tasks related to keywords and backlinks. Create strong backlinks to get higher rank on both Google searches and Maps ranking. Make sure your landing page, meta data, tags, images are all in line.
# Tip 6: Add local keywords
If you have gone through all the points, this small thing is a no-brainer. Local keywords will help your business to rank higher whenever someone searches for the related services in your locality. Google maps plays a huge role in local business rankings as it also literally leads the customer to your doorstep with directions and guidance.
# Tip 7: Embed a Google map on your website
Not only your website needs to be embedded with Google maps but the map also needs to be added to your website. It creates a closed chain of information. It is a great way to rank higher on Google Maps by connecting the maps on the contact us page. By doing this, you are telling Google that your business is located where your listing says it is. Be consistent with the address!
To embed a Google Map on your website, search for your business name in Google Maps. Click on “Share” in your listing and select the “Embed a map” tab. Copy and paste the link on your business’s contact page.
To increase your business visibility and revenue, a business listing on Google Maps is one of the must tasks to perform. It allows the consumers to quickly get the information they need and make informed purchasing decisions. Follow the tips with a clear understanding of what Google My Business is and how it validates your local ranking. Rank higher on Google Maps by optimizing your website and the listing. Both are important!
All being said, if you have a new website, ranking for a competitive keyword can take time. You have to be patient and understand that you are up against multiple websites who are performing all those off-page, on-page activities. The more you walk the web, the more backlinks you collect. These backlinks work as gold mines for your website’s traffic and visibility. Once you have done all of these and added enough original content under every necessary box, keep adding guest posts until you hit the 3-pack.
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