Google maps is a platform that hosts millions of businesses and the information about them. It’s one of the principal ways that people contact or travel to offices, restaurants, cinemas, etc. Hence, it’s a valuable tool, especially when it comes to benefiting local businesses.
70% of all smartphone users say that they use Google maps frequently. Whether it’s to get to work, avoid traffic, or pick out a place to eat or hang out at. Billions of searches happen on Google every single day. Since Google’s apps are integrated, that means the searches take results from maps as well.
Hence, your business or website should take advantage of that search volume. With the right approach, you can be raking in a major increase in online traffic.
How Does Your Business Benefit from Google Maps Local SEO?
Since Google maps is integrated into Google search, whenever you search for a business, you get the maps results as well. These results are not just filtered by keywords, but instead by relevance and location. Hence, local businesses near a certain location have a greater chance of being ranked higher on search results.
That’s what Google maps local SEO is all about. It grants more visibility to businesses that are closer to the user. Not only that, but how visible your Google maps profile is impacts how high its rank is on the search results page. Hence, if you have a more complete profile, if you have more reviews, you will be ranked higher.
What’s more a Google maps listing will ensure that your business comes up as a snippet. Those appear on the right of the Google search page with the exact information that your customers need. That makes it more likely that the customer will choose your business instead of your competition.
Google even recommends that you input accurate information to make sure people can find you easier. The details include basics like a phone number and address, but you can also list your website, social media, and email address. You can also add images and recommend different products and services through the listing.
Businesses seldom use all the options made available to them through Google maps. Hence, they fail to capitalize on the local SEO benefits that can drive traffic towards them.
8 Tips to Improve Your Google Maps Ranking
1. Add Your Business to Google Maps
If you never had a Google maps listing in the first place, you can’t even get in the game. Having a website or social media presence isn’t enough. Go to Google.com/maps and add your business. If someone has already added it, then claim the listing (go to tip 2).
Start adding details to the page and correcting any false information.
There are millions of fake listings on Google maps as well as genuine listings. At times, when a location shifts to another, they forget to update their listing. Hence, for your listing to be recognized as genuine, weed out duplicate listings. Remove any inaccurate or false information to ensure that your listing will dominate the others. Otherwise, the fake listings will interfere with your local SEO Google maps ranking.
2. Fill Out Your Google My Business Page
You can only claim your Google Maps listing by adding a Google Maps Business listing. You will likely see a “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” prompt. Follow either link and lay claim to your business.
3. Don’t Skimp on the Details
How many times have you come across a Google maps listing that doesn’t have all the details, or any details, for that matter? They simply tag a location and forget to do anything else. There are no office hours, no phone numbers, addresses, websites, or emails. That’s a pretty useless Google maps listing.
How will the customer contact you? What if they live far away and want to confirm office hours before they come in? What if they have any other questions? You’ve left them no way to contact you at all.
Hence, make sure that you fill out every single detail that is available. Don’t skimp out on the business description either. If a customer is confused about what you do, a description will clear it up.
4. Keep Updating the Details
If there’s one thing that’s even more recurrent than blank Google maps listings, it’s outdated or obsolete listings. How many times have you called a number posted on a Google maps listing and gotten a wrong number? There may have even been times when you arrived at a location and found out that the business has closed.
That’s incredibly frustrating and actually hurts your business’ ranking on Google maps.
One final thing. Keep adjusting your timings for the holidays and for different circumstances. If you’re changing your schedule, it’s not enough to post it on your social media or website. Your Google maps listing is most likely what people will check when they want to know your office timings.
5. Add Relevant Photos and Encourage Customers to Do So
Google maps listings that are devoid of any images are immediately off putting. They either seem unpopular, or too new to invest any money in them. Hence, it’s a good idea to add images of your office, outlet, or location. The best part about this is that you can control the first impression that people have about you.
You should also encourage customers to post their own photos to Google maps. This will allow new customers to see that there’s a lot of activity at your location.
Images mean activity, and activity means a higher local SEO Google Maps ranking. So don’t miss out on what could be an incredible traffic booster for your website as well as your business and sales.
6. Encourage Customers to Review
Make sure that your customers leave reviews on your Google maps listing. Reviews are an incredible asset to any business. It also helps when potential customers are searching for a specific type of business. A high review score will definitely appear more appealing.
Not only that, but reviews allow you to interact with your customers as well. You can reply to their queries and answer questions or offer a refund if they had a bad experience.
You can also encourage reviews by offering a small discount on their bill for a review.
7. Post to Your Google Maps Listing Regularly
Be honest to yourself. You didn’t know that you could post regularly to your Google maps listing did you? That’s fine. You can start now.
You can publish posts on your Maps listing that will appear just as Facebook posts do. It will send signals to Google that you can manage your listing actively. This is a huge bonus when Google considers ranking a business highly.
When consumers are on search engines, their intent is a priority. Hence, through Google posts, you can get offers in front of an audience that is ready to engage.
Be sure to highlight sales, discounts, and important promotions. Also advertise if you’re opening another store at the nearest location to it. It can perhaps convert those customers who live just a little too far from the previous location.
8. Add Local Keywords to Your Website
If you want specific locations for your business to be visible on Google maps, add local keywords. Location based keywords work best, and there are two most effective ways to employ them.
Build Specific Landing Pages
A great way to double down on Google Maps local SEO is to create specific landing pages. This will work great if you have smaller, local stores or separate locations for your businesses. Separate maps listings aside, creating landing pages for different locations will compound that effect.
Try to use local keywords for this landing page. Mention the neighborhood, town, or the city that the location is in. Mention local landmarks that are in close proximity. Make sure that those landmarks aren’t competing with your business however. You don’t want to publicize their existence after all.
Use location based keywords as often as possible to promote local SEO. That way, you’ll get a greater ROI for local interest in your business.
A few blogs here and there don’t hurt your chances. You don’t need to consistently upload. However, you can upload blogs to advertise a sale or a local promotion at a specific location. Be sure to mention location based keywords in these blogs as well.
These steps will compound your local SEO.