10 Key Steps to Ranking Better in Google Maps
You’re looking for a place to have lunch in an unfamiliar neighborhood, or you need a mechanic to help you with an unexpected flat tire.
Where are you looking?
If you’ve answered Google Maps, you’re not alone.
These days, many of us turn to Google Maps to discover local businesses and make more informed purchasing decisions.
So how can local businesses rank better where consumers are increasingly looking to buy local products and services?
Here are ten steps you can take to rank well, drive more traffic, and secure more customers through Google Maps.
1. Claim and complete a Google Business Profile
The crucial first step to establishing visibility in Google Maps is to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP – formerly known as Google My Business or GMB).
You can do this by simply searching for your business name on Google or Google Maps and checking your listing if you haven’t already.
Once you have a listing and are signed in to your Google account, you can now edit it, even directly in search results.
Being owned by Google, GBP provides a primary signal to Google that your business exists – and the information here is believed to be accurate and up-to-date.
Google will cross-reference these details with those it finds on your website and other local directories and resources; more on the importance of these in a moment.
2. Post related content (including photos)
Once you’ve claimed your GBP listing, your job is only half done.
Google rewards active businesses with higher visibility in Google Maps, so it’s important to post regular updates to your GBP profile.
These updates can and should include special offers, hosted events, links to relevant blog posts, or general business updates.
Where possible, incorporating photos into your updates is also encouraged, as visuals are more likely to drive viewer engagement in terms of shares or clicks.
You should also include links in your posts, ideally to the main product or service pages of your website.
3. Optimize your web presence for local organic search
If you want to rank well on Google Maps, you need to make sure your web presence, including your website and external content, is optimized for your local audience.
You can start by doing a local SEO audit to identify where you need to focus your attention from a keyword, content and link perspective – as these are the three main components on which a presence is built.
Your website should be properly structured to make it easy for Google to crawl and index your content, and your site content should be rich in relevant, locally and intent-driven keywords, and internal linking and external logic to your audience’s responses. he’s looking for.
Google rewards websites that lead people to get answers in as few clicks as possible.
Websites should also load quickly and offer seamless navigation regardless of device.
This is especially important locally, as more and more searchers start their quests on their phones.
4. Use Local Enterprise Schema
When it comes to structuring content, and especially business details, Google and other search engines prefer standardization, which led to the development of the schema.
Local Schema allows businesses to wrap code around their content to make it easier for Google to crawl and index.
The Local Business Schema covers many of the same business details captured in a Google Business Profile, which Google will naturally reference.
The easier it is for Google to validate your location, the more likely your business is to appear prominently in Google Maps.
5. Embed the Google map on your Contact Us page
Although it is not explicitly stated that embedding a Google Maps map into your website will make a difference in terms of ranking in Google Maps, it is not a stretch to assume that this is the format Google favorite.
Again, Google is able to ensure a consistent user experience for its Internet users, which should also be the goal of any company seeking to please its customers.
6. Mine and pay attention to your critics
Any business can build a GBP listing, ensure their basic business information is up-to-date, and publish lots of relevant local content.
However, customer reviews are another hugely important factor in determining if and where a local business shows up in Google Maps.
Google pays close attention to the number of reviews your business gets and how active it is in responding to those reviews, whether positive or negative.
Every business naturally wants to limit the number of negative reviews it receives and all negative reviews should be addressed promptly.
It can actually become a valuable way to display your company’s commitment to customer service.
While there are many places where customers can leave reviews online, including Facebook, Yelp and other industry-specific review sites, reviews on GBP profiles will carry more weight in terms of concerns Google Map rankings.
Consider proactively asking your customers for reviews soon after successfully delivering a product or service when a presumably positive experience is their customer’s priority.
There are services available to help automate review requests (via email or SMS) once certain online or offline customer actions have been completed (e.g. appointment completed, invoice paid, etc.). ) and the management of reviews on several sources via a central dashboard.
Automation can save busy local businesses a lot of time and ensure positive reviews flow consistently.
7. Update your local listings/citations with your NAP
The three most important directional pieces of information about your GBP, your website, and the web are your name, address, and phone number or NAP.
It’s critical to Google and your audience that your NAP is consistent and accurate across all of these sources.
These references to your business from third-party sites are also called citations.
To find and make sure your NAP is up to date, you can start by simply searching for your business name and noting all the places where your business details can be found.
Check each instance and contact each directory or website owner to update this important contact information, if necessary.
There are also free and paid automated local listing services, which will allow you to identify and update your NAP, as well as other important business information such as your website URL, services or even relevant images, from a central location.
8. Create local backlinks
Backlinks or inbound links are actually an extension of our NAP strategy, whereby you seek to have relevant links from local third-party websites to your main website pages.
Backlinks can validate your business from both a local perspective and a product/service perspective.
If you maintain listings with links in local directories, you’ll want to make sure those listings are in the correct categories, if category options are offered.
Ideally, these links to your website are “follow” links, which means that Google will track and recognize the source of the link to your content.
Most directories realize the value of “follow” links and therefore charge for inclusion, but you should also look for opportunities to secure links from other non-paying sources such as partner, industry or service organization sites. relevant.
9. Engage with your community
Just as Google rewards activity in GBP, it also pays attention to a company’s activity within its community in order to establish its local presence and authority.
Businesses rated as engaging with local service organizations (e.g. chambers of commerce, charities, or sports groups), sponsoring local events, or associating with other significant local businesses are naturally considered a thriving part of the community.
Engagement may include posting and/or promoting related content, e.g. event announcements, partner pages linked to those partner organizations and of course physical engagement and perhaps being mentioned/linked in local reports or other publications.
10. Pay attention to SERPs and the long tail
If you are planning to optimize any aspect of your local web presence, you will want to monitor your progress in ranking or not in Google Maps and Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) based on the keywords you you are. hoping to be found.
You can perform your own manual searches on Google (preferably in incognito mode and without being logged into a Google account), or you can choose from a number of ranking monitoring tools, many of which allow you to specifically filter out the map rankings.
When considering which keywords to track, be sure to consider and include local identifiers and qualifier keywords such as “near me”, “best” and “affordable” – for example “body shops near me”, “best body shop in Barrie”, or “affordable body work”.
Three, four and five keyword phrases like these are considered long tail, meaning they may not have significant local search volume – but those volumes can add up, and any business locale is well advised to focus on thematic groups of related keywords instead. than chasing more competitive phrases.
Over time, if you have truly established local authority for your business, short rankings will follow.
Put your business on the Google map
So now, with your laundry list in hand, go ahead and put your local business on the map.
Establishing your authority and expertise online isn’t much different than it always has been in the real world, but it can take time, as any real relationship should.
Google rewards businesses that provide the best answers to their customers’ questions, offer strong products and services, play an active role in their local community, get their customers to say nice things about them, and provide superior customer service. high level at all times. .
If that describes your business, go ahead and do it.
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