Regardless of the type of business you run, many of your clients are looking at Google Maps to find you. Do you remember when you wanted to find a restaurant to have dinner with your friends, and one of them said, “let me check on the map”? By map, he most likely meant Google Maps and not a printed map of the town. Walking around a city to find a place for dinner sounds very romantic and is less likely to happen than people pulling out a phone and searching for a business. According to statistics compiled by The Manifest, 77% of smartphone owners regularly use navigation apps, and Google Maps (67%) is the most popular among them. Because of its popularity, Google Maps is a wonderful place for your firm to appear, so that you get more clients to your doors.
Why Google Maps
While traditional SEO is crucial for your company to appear in the relevant search results and get more traffic to your website, users who locate businesses on Google maps are more likely to convert to customers. Searching for a physical address already indicates a higher possibility of the searcher coming to your office than a user searching for “how to become a dentist.”
For users, Google maps is a great choice to look for information if they want quick answers and recommendations. Here, searchers can see the address of a business as well as hours of operation, ratings, reviews, pictures, menus, websites, directions for walking, and driving. They can also add businesses to their “favorites,” write reviews, upload pictures, give feedback, etc. So not only can clients find your business, but it helps others find you if they have a pleasant experience with you.
A successful SEO strategy should include ranking higher on Google Maps, and in this article, we will discuss the ways to do so.
One of the great reasons to list your business on Google Maps is the Local 3-pack. When searchers on Google type keywords that are related to a local search, such as “near me”, “nearby”, “best restaurants in [the name of a city]”, or “dentist near me”, Google understands the intention of searchers and provides a selection of results called a local pack. A local pack, also referred to as Local 3-Pack, is a section of results where Google displays three best local results in a search. Then a user can hit “more places” to see more businesses on the list. If your business appears in the Pack, then you have more chances to get more people to your website or in your doors. But to appear in the Local Pack, you need to invest in local SEO and rank higher on Google Maps.
How to Rank Higher on Google Maps in 2020
According to MOZ, there are eight ranking factors to keep in mind when we want to rank higher in Google Maps. These are:
- Google My Business signals
- Link signals
- Review signals
- On-page signals
- Citation signals
- Behavioral signals
- Social signals
“Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer and therefore rank it higher in local results.”
When users search for businesses on the map, they type keywords such as “dentist near me,” and the results show the businesses on the map and as a list on the left side of the screen. These are not the websites of the businesses; although many of them will have them included in their info, those are Google My Business listings. Google My Business is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google – including Google Maps.
Step 1 – Set Up Google My Business
The first thing you need to do to rank higher on Google Maps is to appear in it and to do so, you need to list your business on Google My Business.
To get started, click here. Click “manage now” and in the search box, type the name of your business. If you can find your business, you’ll need to verify to manage the location by sending a code to your phone.
- If you can’t find your business, click Add your business to Google.
- Type the name of your business.
- Choose the right category for your business such as “Dentist” or “Dental Clinic” – this is a crucial step to rank well on Google Maps.
- Add a location customers can visit, such as a store or your office. Type in the address and choose the location on the map.
- Indicate if you serve your customers outside of this location.
- Input the contact information such as your phone number and website.
If you create a new account, you will need to verify your dental clinic. Google will send you a postcard via mail.
Step 2 – Add Photos to Your Listing
People love visuals, and looking at the pictures of your business gives your business more credibility. Google knows what users want and includes pictures in ranking factors when sorting businesses in search results.
“Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you tell the story of your business. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your business offers what they’re searching for.”
Choose high-quality images that are consistent in size and represent your business in the best way. According to Search Engine Land, businesses with more than 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business, while those with just one image get 71% fewer.
Step 3 – Make Sure Your Website Is Responsive
When you list your business on Google Maps, you need to fill out your website URL. Google then uses the site to determine category relevance, domain authority, and keywords – all this might impact your ranking on Google Maps. If you have one of these websites that are not mobile-friendly and have slow loading times, this might negatively impact your ranking. When people find your business on the map, they may click the website, and their frustration while loading your site is the last thing Google wants.
Step 4 – Get Online Reviews
Who doesn’t love getting some positive feedback? Hearing from your clients is like a pat on the shoulder that motivates you and gives your business more credibility.
Additionally, clients love reading reviews, so they know what to expect from a business. If there are lots of good reviews, there are more chances that a user will decide to visit your office. Google knows reviews are essential to users, and that’s why the local algorithm includes review signals for ranking. There is no exact formula on how Google sees the reviews. Is it better to have 1000 reviews and 4 stars than 150 reviews and 5 stars? Although there is no precise answer to that, the more positive reviews you get, the better.
“High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Respond to reviews – both positive and negative ones. If you thank positive reviewers and appreciate their comments, others will see you care about your clients and you care about reviews. If you respond to negative reviews and apologize for any inconvenience, others will see the opinions of your clients matter to you. Respond to negative reviews with apologies and solutions, so potential clients see even when things don’t go well, you can find ways to fix them.
Step 5 – Embed a Google Map on Your Website
If you embed a Google Map on your website, you will have more chances to rank higher on Google Maps. Embedding a Google map on your site is another signal for Google that the address of your business is where your listing says it is.
The best place to embed the map on your site is your contact page. That way, the map is not only for ranking purposes but can help customers find you. To embed a map on your site, search for your business on Google Maps. Click on “share” in the listing and choose “embed a map.” Copy the resulting code and add it to your site (you may need the help of your web developer for that part).
Step 6 – Use the Proper Schema on Your Website
Schema markup is a code, semantic vocabulary – simply a language that helps search engines display website information better to users. When it comes to Google Maps, it’s crucial to let Google know what the business is about and the address and contact information of the business. If you include your business name, address, and location in the schema, you’ll send a signal to Google about the relevance and authority of your business location. For more about the schema, read How to Add Local Schema Markup to Your Website.
Step 7 – Build Citations
Citations are links that are crucial when it comes to Google Maps. If your Name, Address, and Phone Number exists on a reputable local site, that improves your chances for a better ranking. Another way to build citations is by listing your NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number in different online directories.
Step 8 – Create Local Content and Get More Backlinks
Content is crucial in any kind of SEO and will help you to rank higher even on Google Maps. A great way to get more local backlinks is by creating local content. The content can be connected to both your city and your business. The local content you write should be helpful for your audience and other businesses, too. If your articles are helpful to others, more businesses in the area will link to your website and this will help your ranking on Google Maps. If you own a dental clinic, you can write about a rare dentistry book collection at the public library or the oldest dentistry school in the region. You can also write about the history of dental clinics or other important locations in the city.
Get help if you need it
If you just don’t have the time to take care of the above steps to help you rank better in Google Maps, it might make sense to reach out to our team! We have over a decade of experience helping businesses improve their rankings in Maps. Just head over to our contact page and drop us a line. We would love to help out!