Do you run a local company and wonder how to attract even more potential customers? If so, Google Maps SEO is an ideal and uncomplicated solution for you! Check out how to do it successfully, and discover useful tips that will help you outdo your market rivals.
Google Maps is one of the most popular and frequently used tools released by Google. Most importantly, it allows customers to find your company a lot faster and easier. Proper optimization of the Google Maps listing is one of the key elements of local SEO and it bly influences the traffic or to be precise, the traffic acquisition. Therefore, it’s a good idea to learn how to optimize your Google Maps listing and include it in your online marketing strategy.
Why is Ranking High on Google Maps Important?
It significantly supports local SEO, gives you a chance to reach potential customers and clients in your area who are ready to make a purchase. Apart from that,ranking high on Google Maps equals being displayed in top results, on the first page of the SERPs.
This way, you can easily improve your brand recognition. It’s also worth mentioning that Google Maps listings include a number of contact details such as a phone number, an email address, a website URL, and a physical address of your company. This gives potential buyers the possibility to engage and interact with your company in a way that suits them best.
According to the research, even 67% of potential customers choose places with Google Maps listings and don’t even check venues ranked out of top3 or top10.
So, optimizing your Google Maps listing gives you a great competitive edge over your market rivals, and may be an effective tool for boosting your sales, and brand recognition.
How Does Google Maps SEO Work?
When you type a keyword related to a specific area like “Italian restaurant Athens” in the search engine, there’ll be several types of results: advertisements at the very top, Google Maps with business cards of certain companies (or restaurants in this case) and organic results below them.
Whether your company name will or will not appear among Google Maps results depends on numerous factors.
One of these factors is the quality of your website and your number of backlinks. However, in the case of Google Maps SEO, optimizing your Google My Business profile seems equally important. Depending on a keyword or a key phrase, several business cards appear in the search results but only the first 3 generate the vast majority of traffic.
Let’s start with taking a closer look at how users take advantage of Google Maps and available listings.
One of the most frequent queries concerns the opening times of a given shop or a company. For example, if you type “IKEA Berlin, opening hours”, thanks to the properly optimized listing, you’ll immediately get to know that you’re actually able to shop only till 9 p.m.
Very often people use mobile devices for the local search and then, almost always, the first result is a business card from Google Maps. This is an extremely user-friendly solution that allows people to call a given company directly from the search engine, just by clicking on the phone icon. Another very useful option is route mapping to the object (it uses your localization on the map).
Thanks to the reports from Google My Business you can easily monitor your reach – you’re able to check the number of searches, phone calls, or even clicks referring to customers wanting to find out how to get to your company.
The proper optimization of Google My Business profile is relatively simple and not so time-consuming, therefore it’s worth taking care of it. So it’s time to pull your socks up and get down to work!
How to Check Google Maps Rankings?
Wondering how to check your Google Maps rankings? The easiest way is to simply enter the phrase that is of interest to you in the search box e.g., “Italian restaurant near me” (it’s better to use the incognito mode for that purpose). Then, you just need to see where your business (in this case your restaurant) is in the ranking.
Of course, you can also use special tools such as Google Maps Rank Checker, where you provide all necessary data like your business’ URL, specific keywords you want to check, your country, and up to three cities you want to analyze. Then, the tool generates a report (that will be sent to your email) with your Google Maps positions in these specific cities for these specific keywords you’ve provided.
How to Rank Higher on Google Maps - 10 Tips
1. Create Your Google Account and Google My Business Listing
Your Google account is the most important thing to start with. It’ll allow you to create a Google My Business listing. If you aren’t sure if your company already has a Google My Business listing, go to Google Maps and search for your business name.
If it’s there, you can proceed to the next step, which is filling inappropriate information. If it’s not there, find the “add a missing place” option, and provide your company’s name, location, and category. The entire process is intuitive, so you shouldn’t have too many problems with that.
Remember that virtually anyone can add companies to Google Maps, therefore, the fact that you haven’t listed your business doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else hasn’t done it for you. For this reason, it’s always better to double-check if your company is already shown on Google Maps. Even if someone created the business listing, you don’t have to worry. This person can’t modify or delete it. Only someone who proves the ownership of a company can do it. That’s why we need to proceed to the next step, which is…
2. Claim Your Google Maps Listing
If you want to reach better positions in Google Maps, you need to show Google that you’re the owner of the company. At the stage of creating the listing, you can only fill in information such as name, category, and location.
However, completing the verification process gives you much more possibilities when it comes to the information, and details about your company. As you may guess, the more informative and helpful your listing is, the higher it’s shown in the search results, and the more potential customers it attracts.
But what should you do to claim your Google Maps listing? All you need is a free Google account. Then, find your listing, and look for phrases like “own this business?”, or “claim this business”, and click them. Follow the instructions, and wait for the confirmation.
3. Provide Contact Details
Now, once you’ve claimed the ownership of your company, you can proceed to the next step, which is providing contact details. Complete information related to your company.
Remember to include keywords important for your business in the company’s name displayed in Google Maps.
However, don’t exaggerate or overuse them and come up with a name that will be attractive both for robots and for the users who, after all, are your potential customers. Filling in information related to your address, telephone number, and website is a must. This will help potential customers engage with your business.
4. Provide Even More Details
Think about all the information that may be useful and attractive for potential customers. First of all, define the area of your company’s operations, add opening hours, and the category that best describes your industry.
Write a catchy company description that is concise, readable, and contains selected keywords important to your business. Categorize your business properly to ensure that you’re displayed for phrases related to your activity, and keep all the data (especially opening hours, address, and phone number) up-to-date.
Remember that the more informative and professional your business listing, the greater the chances of reaching top positions in the search results.
5. Add and Optimize Images
Don’t forget about high-quality and optimized pictures, including your company’s logo and important pictures. Uploading high-quality images to your Google Maps listing informs Google that you’re actually active, and you care for potential customers.
Remember that the technology is constantly evolving, so Google analyzes images more and more precisely, and starts to show them in the local search results.
Apart from supporting your SEO process, images can appeal to potential customers. They help them assess whether a given place is likely to meet their expectations (this is particularly important when talking about all the entertainment and leisure venues such as restaurants, and hotels). Moreover, catchy photos can help you gain a competitive edge over your market rivals.
6. Create a User-Friendly URL
After some time there’s a possibility to change your Google My Business URL to a more accessible and personalized one. So instead of:
you can generate something like this:
7. Encourage People to Write Reviews
This stage is more complex, as you don’t have full control over customers’ comments. However, it’s worth taking care of this aspect, as the number of positive reviews affects your position in Google Maps.
If it came to your mind that fake accounts would be a great idea, don’t even think about it! Google robots are getting more and more proficient at detecting fraudulent comments. Remember to respond to the comments, and reviews written by buyers.
User generated content has a significant impact on social proof and shows Google that you’re worthy of attention.
8. Take Care of Structured Data
Thanks to it you can easily mark important website elements such as dates, addresses, prices, or sizes. This will allow you to make your Google Maps listing even more precise. If you want your logo, address or telephone number to be displayed directly in the search results, schema can help you achieve your goal.
Want to learn more? Check out our article: Structured data - but what actually is it?
9. Be Active and Regular
To a certain extent, Google Maps resemble social media platforms like Facebook. This means that you can publish posts that will appear directly next to your listing.
When preparing the ranking, Google takes into account your activity and rewards companies that take a proactive approach. Moreover, posts can intrigue potential customers, attract their attention, and encourage them to visit your website.
10. Fill Your Website with Local Keywords
If you target your website for local keywords, you increase your chances of being displayed in top positions for these specific keywords. This will help you rank higher on Google Maps and in the regular search results.
Saturate your homepage, product, or service subpages, and the contact page with location-based keywords. Think about creating a FAQ section where you could mention your address, scope of activity, industry, and popular questions. Your answers may be displayed in the so-called Rich Snippets, which may encourage users to enter your site and learn more.
To conclude, if you think about local SEO, you should definitely start with creating a Google My Business listing, thanks to which you’ll become visible on Google Maps.
Why is it a good idea to consider Google Maps SEO?
First of all, it doesn’t require a lot of work and doesn’t generate additional costs. At the same time, the benefits of being displayed in the first position on Google Maps are priceless.
Although we aren’t familiar with all the algorithms responsible for Google Maps SEO, the above-mentioned tips and guidelines should make it easier for you not only to improve the position of your business listing but also to attract new customers.
This is an update of an article published in 2019.
Managing Partner, has been building Delante since 2014. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has a strong analytical approach to online marketing backed by more than 12 years of experience. Previously associated with the IT industry, as well as the automotive, tobacco, and financial markets. Has experience in creating scaled processes based on agile methodologies.
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