If you're out to get a significant increase in website traffic, just appearing on the organic search results isn't enough. You need to rank higher to stand out among your competitors — especially with the COVID-19 disruptions the world is grappling with now. So, it makes sense to redesign your marketing efforts to include a strategy for Google Maps.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how Google determines local search results and why it's important for your business. Then, we'll walk you through ways to rank your business higher on Google Maps, so you can optimize your online content for greater visibility.
So, how does Google determine local ranking?
To determine local results, Google takes the following factors into consideration:
- Relevance — measures how closely your keywords are to a user’s keyword search on Google.
- Distance — This is simply the location of your business address with that of the user.
- Prominence — When ranking, Google usually takes into account the popularity of your business, both offline and online.
In addition, Google usually checks out for regular NAP citations for your business on the web by users. NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone, are critical elements in SEO. They're critical indicators for identifying a business.
Why is ranking high on Google Maps so important for local businesses?
When you search your business by name on Google (called a direct search), or by exact address, there's a high likelihood that your site will be the first thing to appear on Google. But for your customers, this may not always be the case. They might not have the exact address or name for your business. 92% of online searchers end up clicking the first results on Google. If your business name does not pop up when users do a related search to your brand, unfortunately, you might be losing tons of sales.
9 Effective Ways to Get Your Business to Rank Higher on Google Maps
#1. Get more reviews to your Google My Business (GMB) listing
Besides helping brands improve customer experience, online reviews are essential components that also help you rank higher on Google Maps. Google understands that most customers are likely to take action only when they read online reviews. Positive reviews are good for social proof, and they help build trust.
#2. Utilize all the features of your Google My Business profile
There are a lot of different features available to businesses within their GMB profile. When you use all the features within your profile, not only is it good for users, but this will help increase your visibility within the Google Maps listings. Use the photos section, post videos, list your business hours, and products and services. Don’t forget to add your business website and even create a shortcode. We’ve also seen businesses have successful results using the Google Posts feature to post recent promotions and sales.
#3. Make sure your categories are correct and max them out
While GMB categories are quite effective, they may not always be useful for every business. Making sure your primary category matches up very closely with the related keywords you're using will help increase your impressions and, ultimately, your rank.
#4. Fight off GMB spam in the map
GMB spam fighting is arguably the easiest way to rank. The goal here is not to try to outshine your competitor, but to eliminate competitors who are manipulating their ranking on Google.
#5. Claim business directories to improve local area citations and links
A big part of SEO includes building niche and related local citations. First, businesses should claim their business profiles on websites like City Search and Yelp. Once claimed, make sure you fill out your profiles and make sure you have a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) across as many directories as you can.
#6. Fix your on-page SEO
On-page is an important factor both in organic searches and when you want to rank higher in Google Maps. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Install an SSL certificate and ensure that page loading speed is fast — fewer than three seconds. Use your website’s marketing analytics to identify any other issues that may appear.
#7. Improve social signals
Social signals such as likes, shares, and the overall appearance of your social media are very effective in helping brands get more exposure and drive traffic. More importantly, they're crucial ranking factors that Google Maps considers for high ranking.
#8. Write a press release to help improve your Google Maps ranking.
Aside from providing high-quality backlinks, press releases are quite helpful as they help drive traffic to your website. Press releases are also effective forms of social proof. Your customers will be impressed since they can access news links on your site.
#9. Guest post outreach
Guest posts are compelling for building a strong presence in your niche or location relevant to your website. Use guest post opportunities to create high-quality content and optimize them to rank high by using your selected set of keywords.
Google Maps is a big part of thriving local businesses that have a noteworthy presence on the web. To drive in-store foot traffic and sales, companies now need to do everything possible to ensure they appear prominently within the local listings on Google Maps.
In a world where you can do almost anything on the internet, local businesses can no longer afford to simply wait for customers to find them offline. Today's businesses must also ensure that their website is the first thing potential customers see when searching online for local offerings. To get your local business enterprise to rank higher on Google Maps, get in touch with Found Search Marketing today.