An online web presence can make or break any modern business. One of the most important ways businesses hope to appear on the web is on maps.
If a client is searching for a local business in their area, they will likely pay more attention to the ones that appear first. The higher a business is able to show up on Google Maps, the more attention it will receive.
It’s important to know all the tips and tricks to maintain a higher status in a search result. Keep reading to learn more about how to rank higher on Google Maps.
What is SEO and Why is it Important to Rank Higher on Google Maps?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is important for your business and will help you to appear in relevant search results. Local business SEO also helps you get more traffic to your website and convert more users to real-life customers.
Many customers are searching for businesses through maps on their smartphones. Google Maps is one of the most popular and helps customers to find information and answers faster.
Listings on Google Maps show a business’s physical address, along with their hours of operation, website, reviews, pictures, information like menus, and directions for how to drive, walk or take public transit to the location.
Customers also have the ability to rate your business on Google, and add it to their “favorites” list. This means they are able to find all the relevant info about your business and inform other people about their experience.
Learning how to rank on Google Maps is a must for any successful digital marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn eight essential tips for ranking higher on Google Maps!
1. Set Up Your Google My Business Listing
Listing your business on Google Maps is an essential first step, and to do so, you need to set up a Google My Business account.
If you Google your business and see that a listing already exists, you can simply verify it to prove that you own it, and then you can manage the location.
If you can’t find your business, you can add it to Google and select the correct category. For example, if you own a Hair Salon, make sure you select the appropriate category. Otherwise, you will not appear in the correct search results.
The address on Google My Business should be a physical location that customers can visit, like a storefront or an office.
This is important for setting up your business to appear on the map. You can also select if you service customers outside of this one location.
You will include other contact information, such as your phone number, website URL, and hours of operation.
If your account is entirely new, you will need to verify your business. Google will send a postcard via mail to the physical address you’ve listed.
From there, you’ll input the code on the postcard and get your business verified. Once you’ve done so, it will be important to continue to fill out all the information.
2. Optimize Your Listing and Complete All Information
Now that you have your listing set up, you will need to optimize it. Google My Business (GMB) is a listing service that has been around for many years and is connected to Google Maps. This is one of the many benefits of Google Maps.
In order to appear higher in Google Maps, your GMB listing needs to be filled out and optimized. A GMB listing that has not been completely filled out will not be prioritized by Google’s algorithm.
These algorithms are complex, so you will want to help Google discern your business from others within the same category and in a similar location.
Also, you want to make sure Google can separate you from other businesses with similar names and other information.
This means that the more detail in your profile, the better off you will be. These details will help Google to put you in the correct search results and will help you to rank higher over time as you gain this type of credibility online.
Frequent updates are another important way to separate your business listing from others of its kind. These updates tell Google that the information listed is up-to-date and correct.
Another essential aspect of your business profile to fill out is the keywords and business description.
3. Add Keywords to Your Business Description
While Google’s search algorithms have changed many times, one of the most consistently important things to fill out according to Google is the keywords.
Before listing out keywords that you think might work for your business, make sure you do your research. You will need to understand what keywords potential customers are using to find businesses that are within your category.
One of the most popular tools for researching keywords is Google Keyword Planner.
This can help you find keywords to utilize and it will show you the monthly search volume for those words. This will help you understand the popularity of those words within Google searches.
This tool also shows you the competition for each of those keywords. For example, there might be a keyword for your hair salon that is popular in your area but doesn’t show much competition for you.
This gives you a better chance of ranking higher with that keyword. Once you’ve found the right keywords for your business, make sure you then implement them in your profile.
When filling out your business description, your primary keyword should appear within the first 250 characters.
These characters will be the only ones displayed on a Google Maps search result, even though Google allows you to include 750 characters.
Listing the correct keywords for your business is essential, but it will be meaningless if you don’t also have the correct categories listed.
4. Correctly List Your Categories
When it comes to Google Maps, optimizing your business listing also means correctly listing your categories. This will determine which audiences you are catering to and how you will appear in the results.
Your business will be more visible to customers on Google maps if you will out all of the applicable categories. Not only do you want to show up in the general category for your business, but also any sub-category that will also describe it.
For example, if you own a coffee shop and also sell food, you want to be listed as a coffee shop, but also use the categories for your food. Do you sell vegan food? You should include the vegan restaurant category.
If you serve healthy food, make sure you list the health food restaurant as well. These categories will help you to target several audiences.
Sometimes that more niche categories can generate more business than the general categories. Make sure you’re maximizing this opportunity when filling out your entire GMB profile.
5. Add Photos and Videos to Your Google Maps Listing
A great way to stand out from your competitors on Google Maps who have similar categories is by adding photos and videos. People love looking at visuals and getting a sense of the business before taking the time to travel over to it.
These visuals also tell Google that your business is more credible. Google will display the photos in the search result and help you to rank higher.
When choosing photos and videos for your GMB profile, you want to choose ones that are high quality and consistent in size. Videos are even more engaging than photos and this can be an easy way to set yourself apart from the competition.
For example, if you own a party bus service, you can show many pictures of the various buses you have to offer. A video of the inside of the bus, with people having fun and enjoying the different features will go even further in drawing in more customers.
Increasing traffic on your listing by having photos and videos for customers to engage with will help you rank higher on Google Maps.
6. Use Schema on Your Website
One of the more complex ways to appear higher in search results is by using schema on your website.
This sounds scarier than it is, since schema is just coding vocabulary that means a language that will help search engines to learn more about the website’s content.
Schema markup is used by websites to ensure that their information is displayed correctly on Google search results.
On Google Maps, you want Google to be able to read your website easily by including the correct schema. Google will particularly need to be able to read the address and contact info about your business.
When the Google algorithm reads your website, you want to send the correct signal about the authority of your business location. Businesses that use schema markup will be rewarded by ranking higher.
By including your Name, Address, and Phone Number (also known as NAP), you’re telling Google that your business information that is listed on your GMB can be trusted.
This is another great way to set yourself apart from your competition. You will rank significantly higher than businesses that do not use schema markup to verify the information on their website when Google crawls for it.
Schema markup will help build authority on your website, but you need consistency across the web as well.
7. Build Citations to Add Authority
Another way to build authority and prove your business information is correct is to have online citations that reflect the same information. These citations are simply other listings that display the same NAP information that appears on your Google My Business listing.
This is why you will need to build other listings, or citations, that show your business information and strive for both quality and quantity.
When Google’s algorithm is evaluating your business information and listing, it will prioritize a business that is listed in other places and has more citations. This is because it’s easier to find a business that has a better portfolio of citations and appears more credible.
The most important part of listing your NAP across other sites is making sure your information is consistent. Other information that will be important is your website, email address, and your company’s additional contact info.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by using a service like ours to be listed across the web. Iconic Web Headquarters will list your business across several online directories, which will help you to compete within your business category on Google Maps and will increase your visibility.
Other than having a consistent listing with your business information, you also want more user engagement to increase your chances of ranking higher on Google search.
8. Get More Google Reviews
Google reviews show more user engagement with your listing and show that your business has even more credibility.
Customers also love seeing reviews and it will help them to decide whether or not they want to visit your business. Some customers even include photos in their reviews and will tell other customers exactly what their experience was like.
Google is aware of how important these reviews are to customers, and they display stars for ranking businesses. The exact formula for star ranking isn’t clear, but the more positive reviews your business receives, the better you will be.
It’s also important to respond to reviews. Both negative and positive reviewers will want to see your comments to show that you care about these reviews. Especially if you receive a negative review, you will want to comment to apologize and clarify your future solution.
Google will give priority to listings that receive new and positive reviews. You can encourage new reviews from your customers in ethical ways that maintain the integrity of your business while helping you to rank higher on Google Maps.
Make Consistent Updates and Get Assistance with SEO
It’s vital in today’s business market to list your business on Google Maps.
If you want to rank higher on Google Maps, these eight tips will go a long way if you remain consistent! Making updates to your business profile, categories, keywords, website, and reviews will help you to build authority online.
There’s also no need to go at it alone! Click here to learn more about how you can receive help with your SEO and discover how to optimize your business’s online presence today.