The Google ecosystem can benefit your business once you learn how to break through. First, develop an excellent SEO strategy for Google Search Engine and Maps to secure a top-of-the-list position and drive traffic to your business.
Why Is It Important to Rank Higher In Google Maps?
It is standard user behavior to look for desired places close to them on Google. Therefore, ranking higher on Google Maps is essential for businesses that attract and serve a local audience.
For example, someone who would want to eat Chinese food Googles “Chinese Restaurants Near Me.” They would then decide among the results shown on Google.
Google Map rankings initially would show around seven results, but now only three top listings for location-based queries are shown. To find more results, the user would have to tap on “more results,” which is as uncommon as moving to the second Google page for search engine results.
Studies suggest that 88% of users who search for local businesses on Google Maps visit within the next 24 hours, and 28% of these searches result in a conversion, usually a purchase.
Additionally, businesses that rank higher on Google Maps are also displayed on regular Google Search results. This improves the overall off-site SEO strategy for the business and its visibility.
How to Improve Your Business Listing Rankings Higher on Google Maps?
The biggest determinant for a higher Google Maps ranking is location; however, positive reviews, mentions on social media, and presence on local directories also play a vital role.
As discussed, a higher ranking on Google Maps is essential, making implementing strategies such as on-listings and off-listing optimizations important. However, the first step is always to ensure that your business is listed on Google Maps.
Add Your Business to Google Map
You can add your business using your PC and mobile.
Start by creating your business’ Google account and then look for your business’ name on Google Maps. If your business already has a listing, you’re good to go.
Claim Your Google Maps My Business Listing
If your business comes up when you search on Google Maps, you need to claim your listing.
Anyone can virtually add companies to Google Maps, which means if you haven’t claimed your listing, there is a possibility that someone else might have. If someone has already created one for your business, you can prove the company’s ownership via the verification process.
Just look for phrases like “own this business?” or “claim this business” and click the links. Follow the instructions to complete the process and then wait for the verification.
Add Important Information to Google Maps Business Listings
Your Google Business Profile (GBP) must be complete and optimized to establish visibility.
Google usually cross-checks these details from your website and other local directories; hence it is essential to be consistent and updated on all platforms.
Be Consistent with Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)
Your business is one of the first visual assets that the customers come across. Ensure that your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are consistent with your local listings and website. If your business is named Rho & Nya, ensure that you use the symbol (&) on all platforms and not “and.”
Google crawls through your Google Business Profile and the backlinks to verify and cross-check the links. Therefore, a consistent NAP doesn’t weaken the crawling result.
Use a Local Phone Number
Toll-free numbers are usually used for spam calls, so it is preferred to have a local phone number that people can reach you. In addition, a phone number with the area code of your location will help in the Google Map ranking and verify that the business operates in that area.
If your business uses call tracking and has a main number, use the tracked number as the primary business phone number so that most calls come through the tracked line. However, ensure that your main number is the secondary number and still on the listing so that Google can cross-reference the number on your website and other local listings.
Keep your Hours Updated
Updated hours help customers understand when to reach out to you via a call or a visit. Customers leave a negative review or get upset when they do not receive a response or find the store is closed.
Moreover, updated hours build credibility in the eyes of Google, which in return pushes your ranking up.
Do not forget to use the “updated hours” option to update your hours on holidays, so there is no inconsistency in the information.
Add Photos to Your Google Map Business Listing
Photos visually appeal to customers and build up an idea of what to expect from your business.
Ensure that high-quality pictures are captured by a good camera and a decent photographer. This builds credibility and reduces the fear of scams and below-average services.
Additionally, pick the photos you upload very carefully since these build the customers’ expectations. Make sure they do not expect a service too high that they get disappointed later, or too low that they do not try you.
Check all categories relevant to your business.
While claiming the Google Map listing, Google allows you to choose among the five categories. A good SEO strategy ensures that the primary category perfectly matches the business and that the additional categories complement the business.
Get Google Reviews
Google monitors the reviews a business receives and how active the business responds to those positive or negative reviews. Resolving customer grievances from the negative reviews is an excellent way to reduce the number of unsatisfied customers and potentially receive a positive review and a tag of good customer service later on.
Customers can leave reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and other online platforms; however, to improve the ranking, it is essential to have reviews on the Google Business Profile. These reviews carry a more significant weightage and push the ranking higher.
Use automated emails and services that remind customers to leave a review a few days after the order is delivered or the service is provided.
Post Regular on Google Map Business Listing
Businesses that post regularly are assumed to be up-to-date, active, and appreciated by Google. Active businesses are rewarded with higher visibility.
Updates include promotional offers, sales & discounts, events, updated blog posts, newer product offerings, or general business updates.
Adding more photos to the updates boosts viewer engagement by sharing and clicking.
Embed Your Google Map on Contact Us Page
Another practice that leads to a higher Google Map ranking is embedding your business’ exact Google Map location on your Contact Us or About Us page. Google then identifies the same address and pushes the rank higher.
Additionally, adding the business name to the location helps customers identify the location, and they can easily see it.
Build Local Backlinks
When websites refer to your website, they are called backlinks. These are essential in recent times since they are a digital version of people referring customers to your business. The higher the number of people (or websites) that refer to you, the better your ranking. However, these websites need to be credible and of high quality.
High-quality backlinks are backlinks coming from a website that has a Domain Authority (DA) score of >50 on a scale from 0 to 100. It would be best if you always tried to have a high volume of backlinks with a DA score closer to 80 or more.
Moreover, the in-text anchor text on the referring website should be highly relevant to the cited website to reduce the bounce rate.
Engage With the Community
Engaging with your community can be a great way of establishing that your business is updated regularly. For example, you can post content on your Google Business Profile, including promotional offers and photos, or by physically engaging with reviews and comments.
Moreover, you can partner with local organizations, businesses, and publications to get featured on their handles and Google Business Profiles, which also serve as a backlink.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
This guide might be overwhelming but understand that SEO strategies are a marathon you run with consistent effort for an extended period. Listing your business and claiming the listing might be a small process but keeping the profile up-to-date and optimized is what pushes your Google Map ranking higher.