A Guide For Local Businesses
Google Maps is one of the top GPS systems that people turn to when looking for businesses all around the world. Businesses use Google’s large audience to advertise their business to people looking for a service online. Google Maps is often the first thing that users will be exposed to when they make a local search, and as a local business you should be taking advantage of the exposure that this can give you. Ranking high in a search can increase your exposure and allow you to advertise your business for free.
Number 1: Make use of your GMB
The Google My Business or GMB, was originally quite a powerful service, but the marketing effects of this service have increased its power when Google Maps was introduced. Local businesses are able to get a higher listing when users make local searches on Google Maps through the GMB service. Once your business optimizes your GMB account, it will become a powerful tool to increase your sales.
Make sure your registration is complete
The best way to ensure that you rank highly in Google Maps is to make it as easy as possible for Google to discern your business from other businesses. Take a look at your GMB registration and make sure that you have as much detail as possible. This will make it more likely for Google’s algorithms to pick up your business and place it higher up in the search results.
It is increasingly crucial for you to keep your GMB registration details updated. In order for your business to come up in searches you will need to make sure your GMB registration is accurate and as detailed as can be.
A quick search online should bring up a number of resources for you to utilize in optimizing your GMB profile. These resources will point out what has to be done to optimize your GMB profile and how to maintain it.
Make use of Keywords in your name and GMB description
One of the best ways to rank higher in Google Maps is to make use of keywords in your name and your description. You should have already researched keywords that your customers or people looking for your product or service will use to search for businesses like yours. There are many resources that you can use to find hot keywords. One of the best is Google Keyword Planner which will show you the keywords that your potential customers are looking for and will show you the monthly number of searches that that keyword has. For example, if you are a dentist in Atlanta you should make use of the keywords “dentist Atlanta” to make sure that your potential customers can find you.
A keyword modifier in your GMB listing name will separate you from your competition and help your local business stand out. When you search for a business in a certain city you will notice that the top ranking results on Google Maps will all have a keyword modifier to help them stand apart.
When deciding to use a keyword modifier in your GMB business name, you will need to have the same format in all other listings. Google’s algorithms are complex, and if your format is not consistent you will lower your business’s ranking on Google Maps. You should have your keyword and business name formatted with modifiers to make your GMB easier to read.
Your keyword should be used within the first 250 characters because only these first characters will be displayed on a Google Map search result.
Through the inclusion of a keyword modifier, Google will be better able to keep your business standing out from your competition. A unique business name and description in your GMB can drastically improve your ranking on search results. Through keeping a consistency in your GMB in all of your Google platforms, your business will have a higher ranking in search results on Google Maps.
Use your Categories wisely
It is well known that in order to increase sales, your business should come up in search results for as many customers as you can get. It is increasingly important that your business is placed in relevant categories to maximize this effect. Google Maps tends to reward your business if your GMB is specific and aimed at your potential audience.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your business shows up in Google Maps search results is through making sure that your GMB categories are maximized. Through categorizing your business to categories that are relevant to your business. For example, a vegan restaurant may want to place their business in the vegan restaurant category, but should also consider placing their business in the health food restaurant and wellness restaurant category.
Any category that applies to your business should be used to ensure that you have a higher rank on Google Maps. This will allow you to show up in a wide range of results for your industry, and also will allow you to rank in niche results. Through reaching several audiences, this increase in exposure can help to maximize your sales and leads.
Although extremely useful, Google Posts is a little known tool for local businesses. If you are not already aware of this feature, your competition is most likely unfamiliar with it either. This feature is able to give you information that is crucial in showing you how to increase your ranking on Google Maps.
Google Posts help businesses like yours make posts on their business listing with call to actions. You’re able to create a Google Post to show CTAs such as “Reserve” or “Sign-up” . This can be extremely useful in providing incentives for potential customers to click on a link to your website. This is an exceptionally powerful way to increase sales and leads.
Google Posts should only have one message at a time. Too many keywords will cause your post to be ineffective, and you should spend time experimenting on which keywords and messages produce the most leads.
Place Videos in your GMB
Videos can drive a 157% increase in traffic to your website. Using videos to help market your business will increase your conversions because videos truly engage your audience. Placing a video on your GMB will help you to stand out from your competitors and will help you to get more traffic to your listing. Once your traffic increases Google will increase your rank on Google Maps.
Optimizing your profile is a surefire way to increase your chances of ranking higher on Google Maps search results, but there are a few other steps you should take. Google constantly works to provide the most useful and accurate results when users use it’s platform to search. The best way for your business to ensure that it is placed higher on the ranking is to concern yourself with your GMB profile’s credibility.
Number of Citations
The number of your citations and the quality of your citations are extremely important to google. These citations are references or mentions made online of your business’s name, address and phone number. This means that it is crucial for your business to create and expand the listings that your business is in.
When users search for a business or service, Google will place businesses with more citations higher up in the rankings. A business that has more citations will make it easier for Google to find and have data on that business. The best way for you to use this to your advantage is to make sure that any information that you have is consistent across every listing.
There are a number of citation building services that will help you to submit your business listings. One such service is Bright Local’s service which will ensure that your listings are consistent.
Consistent NAP citations
Your name, address and your phone number must be consistent in order to increase the credibility of your business in search results. Google will prioritize a business that has consistent and seamless information across the web, so ensuring that all of your citations are consistent and accurate will make it easier for Google to find and rank your business higher on search results.
It is not enough to have accurate information, you will need to display your information in the same format and the same order across the web. For example, if your Vegan restaurant’s name is The Vegan Diner and Bar, then using The Vegan Diner will make it more difficult for Google to rank your business because of the inconsistency. Google will look at all of the listings that your GMB has across the web to ensure that their search results are always relevant and accurate. The more that your consistency increases, the higher that your business will rank.
There are many tools and resources that can help you with ensuring that your listings are more consistent, one of these is MOZ Local. They will check that all of your information is complete and consistent.
As one of the top search engines, Google works tirelessly to make sure that it’s search results are accurate and relative. Google will rank business websites relative to the authority of the business’s listings.
Adding your local business into a listing that is authoritative will increase your credibility with Google. One great way is to make sure you have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Through adding your business to an authoritative listing, you will show Google that you are invested in your business and that other people trust and believe in your business. This increased authority will help Google to rank your business higher in their Google Map search results.
Including niche categories in your GMB listing will increase your search ranking, but there are more benefits to thinking niche-specific in all of your listings. If your business is listed in other niche directories you will expose your company to more potential customers and also increase your credibility to Google at the same time. This will increase your rankings on Google Maps search results.
Local citations will improve your credibility to Google and will increase your results in local searches. A great way to increase your local listings is to add your company in the Local Chamber of Commerce. This is authoritative to Google and will increase credibility through showing Google that your business is important in that locality. Google prioritizes proximity and having a local listing will increase your rankings for local searches.
Number 3: Increase your number of Reviews
The number of reviews that you receive is important in gaining priority in search results. Google will prioritize a business that has positive and new reviews, so it is crucial that you are receiving new reviews as often as possible. Google has guidelines on asking for Google reviews, so if you are sure to follow these guidelines you can still add to your reviews without violating policy. It is a great way to increase your ranking and your business should be taking advantage of the ability to seek out reviews from your customers.
Other platforms such as the Yellow Pages tend to look down on businesses asking for reviews, but you should be constantly looking for ways to get reviews on those other platforms too. Local customer reviews will help you to establish your authority on local search results with Google. Ethical ways that do not violate policy should be used to remind customers to leave a review for your business.
Many platforms have policies that are against requesting customers to leave a review for your business. On Yelp, businesses are unable to place links to review their business on their websites and are unable to place signs requesting reviews. Fortunately there are subtle hints that you can leave your clients to get them to leave a review.
You may choose to remind visitors or customers to look at your business on review sites, display a congratulation letter from a platform for receiving a number of reviews or share your best ratings on social media.
How to handle negative reviews
Each business will go through one or more bad reviews from customers. Some customers may have had an unhappy experience with your company and want to alert others through posting a review. There are a few ways that you can handle these negative reviews.
Firstly, you can just leave the review as it is. You can accept that most businesses will have one or two bad reviews and it’s easy for your potential customers to spot whether a bad review is legitimate criticism or just a customer venting.
Secondly, you can communicate to the person that left the review and offer to help resolve their issue privately. When a customer insists that the conversation is public, it is better for you to publicly apologize and offer to discuss the matter in private.
You must also stay professional and take in what your customers are saying. Customers are the people that give your business meaning, so you should show in your response that you care and will work to fix an issue if it is possible.
Have a link to a Google maps review embedded wherever you can
Embedding a link for customers to leave a review is one of the best ways that you can increase your ranking. A large number of positive reviews will help Google to find you and place you higher up in search results. You can embed a link for customers to leave a review in a number of places. This could be in your email signature, posts on social media, website content and anywhere else that is relevant. This will help to increase the number of reviews that your business receives.
Your Google Maps review link can be found through searching for your business on Google and then clicking on the link to leave a review. The URL that you see will be your review link, and you can include this link in your marketing content and email signature to increase the number of reviews that customers leave.
Why do positive reviews matter?
Positive reviews increase the customers chance of trusting your business. In America, an estimated 73% of consumers trust businesses with great feedback over businesses that do not have these positive reviews. An estimated 85% of consumers agree that a positive review is reliable and would take this in to account. On average, seven positive reviews are enough for someone to trust local businesses.
Number 3: Utilize Schema Markup
Google and a number of other search engines introduced a system called Schema. Search engines use Schema Markup to learn about content in a website and organize and present the information they learn in a way for users to easily see and understand. The businesses that choose to implement schema markup will be given a “rich result” on Google as you can see in this picture.
Utilizing local business schema markup on your website will help you rank higher on Google Maps. It will become much easier for the Google system to detect and learn important information from your website which will work well with your GMG listing. If you markup important information on your website then Google will display this as a knowledge card which can be seen in the image below.
Google has added two additional features in their Local Business Schema Markup section. These are called “Local Business Listings” and “place Actions.” Local Business listings is a feature that is similar to your average GMB listing, and the Place Actions option will help users to perform actions such as booking a consultation or ordering.
Through using these four tips, you can increase your ranking on Google Maps with just a few simple steps. These steps will allow you to rank higher than your competition, which will result in your sales and leads increasing.
If you are a local business owner that simply doesn’t have the time or skills to implement these tips, let DeveloClub’s team of Local SEO experts help. We are a premiere Monroe SEO agency that has helped dozens of small business owners increase their sales.