Every local business wants to make the most out of Google Maps listing and leverage all the benefits local SEO provides to their businesses. However, going from nothing to being a top-listed company on Google’s list of local businesses takes time and can be a tedious process. In fact, it’s all worth it, because the moment you get listed in the 3-pack, you’ll manage to get an unexpected level of growth and traffic to your site.
In this post, we want to dive deeper into Google Maps SEO (Local SEO) and show you specifically how you can rank higher in Google My Business (GMB). We will show you both basic and advanced methods of how you can capitalize on Local SEO in order to grow your reach and outperform your competitors.
Let’s start by looking at some of the reasons why you should want to rank higher in Google My Business.
Why Boost Your Google My Business Ranking?
Google My Business is excellent for any small business selling products or services to a local audience. For instance, if you have a physical bike shop in the heart of New York, you definitely want to leverage the power of GMB. Becoming visible in the first 3 places (Local 3-Pack Results) in GMB means that you could have a massive exposure to thousands of potential customers, so you’ll be able to grow your business considerably and get increased traffic, leads, and conversions to your site.
Getting high rankings on GMB comes with additional benefits. Researchers showed that over 85% of people who searched for a specific business on Google Maps visited the location within 48 hours. If you are not even listed, you’ll lose out on a lot of potential customers.
Additionally, Google determined that more and more people are making quick purchase decisions based on listings & reviews on Google My Business. This place is highly relevant for modern, savvy, and millennial customers, thus ignoring it is a big mistake.
By following the ranking guide listed below, you’ll get a shot being listed in the local 3-pack (link to https://www.link-assistant.com/news/google-local-3-pack-update.html) and you’ll be able to outperform your competitors.
Google Maps SEO Ranking Guide
Add your Business to Google My Business
The first and obviously most important step in the process of ranking higher on Google’s platform and in the local 3-pack is adding your business. Before adding your business, you want to make sure no one else from your business has tried to add before. If you’ve worked with a marketing specialist before, he/she might have already tried adding it.
To check if your business exists, simply open up Google Maps on your laptop or smartphone and search for it by location or by typing its name. To add your business, go to Google My Business, create your profile and follow the next steps.
You can do that here: Google My Business (Google Maps SEO)
Be Accurate with Your Business Profile & Make Sure Verifying Your Business.
You will get through a questionnaire in the process of creating your Google My Business page. Questions you need to fill up are such as business name, address, contact information, website URL, and business category(ies).
All the information you input should be accurate and best represent about your business. And the business category you select shouldn’t be way much multiple. Make sure selecting one or a couple business categories closest to what you do in the business, or else it might confuse Google and it couldn’t list your business to the most relevant search results that your customers are searching for.
Now that your business is added, it is imperative to claim your business name and then importantly, verify it. At this point, Google will send you a code at your postal address. In some areas, you can also verify it using email, phone or instant chat.
After all of this initial setup is done, you can have fun with the following basic and advanced local SEO techniques.
Ensure all the Data is Consistent
Emphasizing again, all the data you have in your local directory profiles, including the business name, address, contact information, website URL, business hours, and photos, should be consistent. You need to have only one listing all over the places, that contains the exact information a customer might need to find you.
When building local citations (NAP) or listing your business in local directories, you want to ensure that all your data is the same and that you offer a unitary, streamlined experience. This aspect matters quite a lot to Google, as they want above all else to offer an accurate and reliable navigation experience.
Include Local SEO Keywords
On GMB, It’s not exceptional that keyword is as important as organic SEO. The local search algorithm is to crawl keywords and rank them as relevant to a local search query. That’s why you need to research and find FEW of certain main keywords that are most relevant to the audience. (It also needs to test out)
Look at the capitalized letter: “FEW“. This part is where the common local SEO mistake is made by many. I was stressing “FEW”. Because keywords in Google Maps Listings don’t need a lot of keywords stuffed. It doesn’t help with your Google Maps SEO, rather it hurts your rankings and might force your page to drop down on the listings since keyword stuffing no longer works and Google had gotten much smarter than a decade ago in its algorithm to detect manipulative attempts in your GMB page.
Instead, focusing on one or two most relevant local target keywords with few of LSI keywords that naturally come is ideal. It’s the best local SEO practice making it as natural as possible.
Optimize Your Landing Page
Another crucial aspect of doing Google Maps SEO in 2020 revolves around having a mobile-optimized site that loads fast and is appealing to your prospects. People who enter your site after finding you on Google Maps look for specific answers, so you’d better not disappoint them.
Ensure that your site has the SSL certificate installed, it loads quickly and it complies with all Google’s regulations. Going with a mobile-friendly design will enable you to convert much better the prospects that come from your GMB listing and will also increase your overall SEO, both in search engines and on Google Maps.
Of course, this also means that the content on your page should be SEO-optimized and should include relevant search terms that you are already targeting on your GMB listing
Dive into NAP Citation Building
NAP, which comes from Name/Address/Phone, allows your customers to find you with ease on local business directories and other similar places. In addition to using NAP on local directories and review sites, consider using schema markup and place NAP directly on your page.
In Google Maps SEO, citation building is the most crucial factor for your listing to rank up. It’s a great practice to build as many business profiles as possible on your local business directories such as Yelp, Facebook, Bing Places, Local .com, Apple Maps etc importantly with NAP information of your business: Business Name, Address, and Phone Number. (additionally website URL and postal code)
All the NAP data you list across all citation sites should be consistent and matching all together especially for the address number or phone number that may have some variations. This is an identical code that Google crawls through in order to recognize your online presence and how actively your business is spreading over the internet.
If you want to get higher rankings locally, try to use a local number with a local code. That builds trust with Google and also entices your prospects to call you right on their smartphones.
Attach Photos To Your GMB Page
It’s no secret that a picture is more valuable than a thousand words. A picture can describe all that words cannot at times. If your business sells visual products, an image content becomes way more powerful.
It’s safe to say that image based content is proven giving more intense impressions to an audience than text based content does. Not to mention, it plays a vital role in gathering more engagement, clicks, and leads when the photos are giving your potential customers more credibility and reliability by showing your business office, shop, products you sell, a kind smile on your face, or a professional looking at your workplace.
To make it even better, adding a video on your page is a great idea if you have a video on your shop or staff. your customer will feel more personal to your business even before they pay their first visit. In a result, that catches more engagement of your local people and obviously it leads your Google Maps listing to position higher. Added images and videos being searchable through image/video search engine of Google is another huge plus for your search inbound traffic.
Add Google Maps to Your Website
The better your platforms are connected, the easier it will be for users to navigate on your pages and the higher your SEO rank will grow. Google loves when customers are engaged, so when they spend more time on your page, you’ll be able to rank higher in Google.
Inserting Google Maps on your site using a plugin enables you to offer a streamlined navigation experience and to build trust. Customers who want to work with you will see that you have the same location, phone and business email, and won’t hesitate to contact you.
Get Backlinks from Guest Blogs/Forums/Local Media
Having a high domain strength and large and healthy link profile on your domain definitely helps with your Google Maps SEO. This is a factor of how Google determines your Local SEO rankings as being important as building NAP citations, GMB reviews & ratings, and local search keyword optimization.
The way how you gain more domain strength is not so different as how you do for your organic SEO improvement. Needless to say, it’s about getting quality backlinks from other websites pointing to your landing page. But the slight difference lying in local SEO link building is that the way you build your links is physically more local focused and the content you publish on the other sites include “NAP” data in its content and anchor texts.
Try to target websites or guest blogs that specially serve in your local area and have many local subscribers who might see the content about your business. Try to link to sites with a High DA(Domain Authority), importantly that allows you Do Follow backlinks which will also improve on your local organic search result rankings.
In this process of building your link profile, you will not only get traffic from those sites linking to yours, but also it passes on link juice and NAP citation that put your rankings higher on both local organic SERPs and Google Maps listings.
Get more Social Signals
In addition to organic searches, which are crucial in Google Maps, social signals are growing in importance by the day. All of these signals are based on how well you promote your company on social media platforms. Your page likes, comments, shares and users’ interaction directly affect how well you rank in Google Maps listings.
To get better social media signals, you should focus on both free and paid advertising. You should create compelling messages, add videos & photos of your products and services, share blog posts and also comment in groups. Creating events on Facebook is also or collections on Instagram is also a great way to boost your social media signals and go viral.
In terms of paid advertising, you should focus on creating campaigns that bring traffic to your landing page. Create geo-targeted campaigns and maximize the features and benefits offered by local awareness ads to target people around your physical location and drive them to your business.
Evaluate the Competition
Another thing you can do to rank higher in Google my Business is to take a closer look at your competition. While it is crucial to track your rankings and see how you compare with the competition, it is equally important to inspect the citations of your competitors.
Study your competitors and see how their listing stands out of the crowd. Do they have more photos and reviews than you? Do you find them listed in certain business directories? You want to see what they are doing and do those things better. For example, if you see they are listed in a certain directory, do your best to get listed there and also list your business on other directories they have not yet discovered.
Get more Reviews and Good Ratings
Lastly, probably the trickiest part, yet one of the most important in ranking high locally, is reviews. When it comes to Google Maps SEO , reviews play a crucial role. Know from the start that buying reviews will only hurt you in the long run. Businesses that bought reviews were eventually caught by Google and penalized drastically.
What you want to do is to obtain quality reviews for your listing. To get that, make sure you put your Google Maps listing in your signature, newsletters, invoices, and even business cards. Make it easy for people to find you on Google Maps and ask them to review your business after they have visited your location or made a purchase online.
When asking for reviews, make it so that you don’t seem obvious. Make it sound similar to this: “We would greatly appreciate your feedback so that we can know what to improve or what we’re already doing great.” Do not use the word “reviews”, but always use “feedback”. (Offering a discount or a small freebie for a review works good too.)
Even if you’ll get negative reviews, respond to them with care and show that all the ratings you receive are important for your business, and you’ll improve your listing.
Key Factors That Hugely Impact on Google Maps SEO Rankings
- Business Verification on Google My Business: Make sure the business you list on GMB is verified by processing a verification code mailed by Google.
- Citation Building with NAP: List your business profiles with the correct and consistent NAP data on both structured and unstructured citation sites.
1. Structured Citation Sites: Where it has a structured format to present each entity of your business information to its audience such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, YellowPages, SuperPages, or Apply Maps, Simply as a business listing site.
2. Unstructured Citation Sites: Any other types of websites that’s not specifically a business directory site where you’re placing your business information in an unstructured way such as blog commenting, social commenting, or in a blog post.
The more and wider local citation you build, the higher chances your Google Maps Ranking increases. Citation building also includes your on-page as well.
- Reviews & Ratings: Getting reviews from its real customers is a significant signal to your business being populated. Google counts it, also how well rated the business is.
- Link Signal: The Domain authority of sites your website links to plays a vital role in local SEO as well as organic SEO. According to a study of MOZ, link signal constitutes 20% portion to the entire key ranking factor proposition.
- GMB Profile Optimization: The business profile settings such as business title, keywords, business categories should be optimized.
- User Experience: This includes “SSL certificate” , “fast page loading speeds” , “mobile responsiveness” and all that matter to how great experience your visitors have during the visit to your website.
- Business Location & Target Area: The proximity of your business location to the central city or to your geo-target
Work with Qualified Google Maps SEO Experts
Growing your business in the local SEO and getting featured in the local 3-pack can be hard work and may take a lot of time.
You can enjoy all the thrilling benefits offered by Google Maps SEO by hiring experts in Local SEO services. If you want to learn more about how we can help, do not hesitate to contact us.