A listing on Google Maps is an invaluable marketing tool for local businesses. It helps businesses to be discovered by customers, to stand out from competing businesses, and drive traffic to the store that can be converted into sales. While the good thing is that you can do all of this for free, you will only be able to reap the rewards only if you can ensure high visibility for your Google Maps business listing. You need to keep in mind that just because you have your business listed in an area; it does not mean that Google will rank it automatically for local searches.
Why Is A High Rank on Google Maps Important?
Studies have established that the number one choice of navigation among 67% of users is Google Maps. Local businesses need to rank high on Google Maps because most users do not bother looking beyond the first few search results when searching for something locally. Even though research also reveals that Google Maps receives most of its traffic from keyword search than from search using a business name, it is still important for you to make sure that your business continues to rank high for the same terms on Google Maps to drive your visibility. According to Forbes, another important reason for you to try to get a high rank on Google Maps is that the Google search results page also displays the top three results of Google Maps listing if the search term is applicable. This can be a big advantage since as many as 46% of Google searches have local intent. Another reason for paying attention to Google Maps ranking is that it improves your listing quality and opens up additional ways for customers to interact with your business. With as many as 77% of users using Google Maps to search for businesses, according to Search Engine Land, the opportunity to engage customers is matchless. Some of the most effective things you can do to drive your Google Maps ranking:
Get Your Business Listed on Google Maps
The first step to take for building search visibility on Google Maps is to get your business listed there. First, you need to check if your business already has a listing on Google Maps. You can go to Google Maps and search by your business name. If your business name appears with the right location, you can go ahead and claim the listing. If the search does not turn up your business, you need to exercise the option to add a missing place. When prompted, you can give your business name, location, and category. Anyone can add a business to Google Maps but only the person who claims it can control the Google Maps business listing.
Claim Your Business Listing on Google Maps
By claiming your listing, you can add more details to your business listing, which helps it to get better ranks on a Google Maps search. Furthermore, you will need to claim your business so that you can proceed with the other steps for search optimization. To claim your listing, you need to have an account on Google My Business, which is free of charge. Either you can create a new account or if the account is already present, you can click on the option for claiming your business and follow the prompts to complete the claim process.
Add More Information to the Listing
You are ready to start the process of optimizing your Google Maps business listing for higher ranks in local search results. Adding more information to your listing is one of the basic steps for ranking better. You can access the dashboard by logging into your Google My Business account and add information like service areas, business hours, phone numbers, URL of the website, products, and services, etc.
You should ensure that you use the name and address correctly and consistently across all other places on the internet where you are present, like your website, social media accounts, Yelp listing, etc. Using a local telephone number with the area code of your business is interpreted as more authentic by Google. It will verify that your business is indeed in the locality mentioned by you and will use it to drive your rankings up. Do not forget to include your main telephone number even if you use call tracking as your primary contact as Google will use it to match with other online information sources. Keep your business hours updated so that Google can inform users whether the business is open, opening soon, closed, or closing soon. Updating these hours regularly will signal to Google that you are an active business and, therefore, trustworthy and worth ranking higher, recommends a Digital Assets Factory SEO consultant.
Compose a Succinct Description of Your Business
The description of your business on the Google Maps business listing is necessary to inform visitors of the details of what your business does, as well as, the unique benefits of your products and services. The narration should be in a way that compels visitors to know more about you by viewing your posts and interacting with you. To enable a better connection, the description should not only be in the tone of the brand but also contain critical keywords that will help search discovery by both the business name and products and services.
Select Your Business Category Carefully
The accuracy of the category of your business on Google Maps plays an important role in your search ranking. Choose the category that describes your business the best as the primary category, and then choose other categories to cover your secondary activities. Do the selection through the Google My Business dashboard for the best rankings. You cannot have custom categories; however, you will be presented a choice when you start typing in your primary business activity.
Include Photos in the Listing
Uploading photographs can improve the ranking of your business listing because the action signifies that your business is active. Google is also showing images in its local search results using advanced technology that can act to drive customers to the store. Also, since users like photos, the presence of images acts as a strong SEO signal for driving up the search ranking. You can upload photos and videos from the Google My Business dashboard on your account.
Chase After Reviews
Since Google always favors what customers are inclined to prefer, not surprisingly Google Maps drives businesses with positive reviews up the rankings. While creating a business listing on Google Maps opens up the opportunity of getting reviews, it does not mean that customers will rush to provide reviews. You need to request customers to review your products and also respond to the feedback appropriately. When you respond, it encourages more customers to offer their reviews, which acts to reduce the damage caused by negative feedback. Responding to reviews not only demonstrates that you are a responsible business that is willing to listen to its customers but also allows you to engage customers.
Consolidate All Listings on Google Maps
If your business has multiple listings on Google Maps, you need to make sure that the name of the business, location, and contact details are identical in all of them. Multiple listings of the same business with different details can be deterrent to high ranks, so it helps to remove all of them and ensure only one listing with accurate information exists on Google Maps.
Publish Regularly and Consistently on Your Listing on Google Maps
You can publish content that users can view on your Google Maps business listing similar to Facebook. When you post regularly, it sends out a very strong signal to Google that your business is active and you are taking steps to manage your listing. This has the result of driving up your Google Maps ranking. Additionally, if the posts are optimized with careful use of keywords, they will also turn up in the search results on Google. Since these searches are usually of high intent, you can get the opportunity of engaging with customers in the purchasing frame of mind.
Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
You should keep in mind that close to 60% of all Google searches are fired by users on their mobile devices. Since all Google Maps business listings also incorporate a link to your website, the traffic to your website should be able to view the website contents on virtually every screen size of mobiles and tablets. If your website is not responsive, your visitors will have great difficulty in reading your website pages and it will result in a high bounce rate because nobody has the patience to pinch and zoom in to access information. The high bounce rate will hurt your Google Maps rank.
In addition to the steps to create and optimize your Google Maps business listing, you should ensure that you insert relevant keywords in your web content that promote local search visibility. While this will help to promote your Google search rank, it will also impact the rank of your business listing on Google Maps. Embedding a Google Map to point to your business location also can drive up your Google Maps listing rank.
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