Optimize listings for Google Maps

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Google constantly works to maximise the accuracy and customise its search results. The search results to a user query should be specific and most of all useful. Consequently, local searches become increasingly essential. What does it mean for your business? Well, if you value visibility, you need to improve your local ranking especially as regards your business listing on Google Maps. Here we will help you understand how to do that.

Can everyone optimise their business for Google Maps?

Yes, everyone can optimise their business for Google Maps. However, this method to increase your business’s visibility online is mostly recommended to businesses which operate locally, such as hairdressers, mechanics, restaurants, flower shops or beauticians. 

What is key here, as usual, is good market research. See if your industry is listed on Google Maps, take your time searching the web for your competitors. Are they visible on Google Maps? If so, you have your answer.

Businesses operating locally, which either offer services in a particular location or focus their activity within a given area, such as a city, need to ensure optimisation for Google Maps. A GMB listing has a potential, which we will help you bring out.

How to successfully optimise your listing for Google Maps?

Positioning, either local or Google-made, is a long term process. Some actions may yield fairly quick results, yet, in the long term, patience is required to achieve satisfactory results. There is no single uniform answer to that question. There are, however, such solutions which can be implemented by individual users, and which will affect your ranking in search results positively. 

Let’s begin.

In order to rank your business on Google Maps, you will need a business listing first. You can set up a listing via Google My Business. It’s a free tool, which will help you reach out to your clients and increase your visibility online. 

There are a few factors affecting your ranking:

  • Prominence, which refers to the frequency of a search and keyword visibility,
  • Distance. Google makes use of location, so the closer your customer is to your business location, the better the ranking position becomes,
  • Relevance, which is the degree to which your business listing matches user’s queries.

In order to improve these three aspects, follow a few steps we have outlined below. These tips will help you better your local ranking and achieve top positions in search results.

NAP: An absolute must have

You listing should comprise a range of information essential to your customers. First of all, make sure you enter primary contact details, such as your company name, address and phone number – or NAP, for short. 

Also, keep the data accurate. Regardless of whether it’s your Google listing, your website, a social media profile or any other online service, the NAP data should correspond. Not only does it improve your credibility, but it also proves useful to maximise your ranking.

Choosing a category – it’s research time

It’s imperative that your business listing is attached to a relevant category. You are allowed to add additional categories, but be aware that they do not carry equal significance. Bear in mind that the choice of categories is limited, as these are set directly by Google.

When in doubt as to which category you should choose, do some research. What does that entail? Just check which categories your competitors have chosen, as simple as that. Visit their listings to find the relevant information.

Your business location

You can show or hide your location. This is no easy decision. It all depends on your particular line of business. Location should be strictly tied to the area you operate in.

There are a few options. You can, for example:

  • set your location to your physical point of business, which is recommended for storefront businesses that serve customers at their business address, like a flower shop. Also, make sure you specify you service area.
  • hide your address and show only information on your service area, which is recommended to businesses that visit customers, like an electrician.
  • If you happen to combine the two types of service, so you operate from a business address as well as visit your customers, you can enable both options: business address and service area.

Mind you, for such hybrid businesses you need to set an accurate and precise service area. This will reflect in your ranking well.

Let them know you — describe your business in Google Maps

Google allows you to add a description of your business. Make certain that your description is word-perfect and contains keywords you would like to rank for. Place the most important information in part one of your description (first 250 characters) as part one is displayed instantly. To read the remaining part of your description users must expand the record manually, and not all users do so.

Pay attention to posts in your listing

This functionality will let you share information about your business and also strike a relationship with your customers. Furthermore, an information-rich listing is favoured by the Google algorithms. For example, you could present your products/services currently on offer, introduce your company or focus on news. Your options here are numerous.

Google Maps Attributes

Attributes are extra pieces of information about your business activity meant for Internet users. You can add some of these yourself, while others depend on user reviews. Attributes may provide information on features such as a garden in your restaurant, free Wi-Fi available or accessibility.

As your customers can likewise add attributes, see to it that you monitor this feature regularly. If there appear any untruthful attributes, request having them removed.

Services and product carousel

You can add information on specific services you perform, such as dishwasher service or chimney sweeping. It will enrich your offer. Product carousel is an interesting way to present a selection of your products or services.

You can add an extra description to each product/service on the carousel and link it back to a relevant page on your web site.  It’s a simple, yet effective tool, which should not be ignored.

You customer reviews cannot go unnoticed

Keep you Google Maps business listing active. What does that entail? It’s important not to neglect your customer reviews. If a review appears, make sure you respond to each, be it praise or criticism. Engage other users and build a community to show Google that your listing should rank high.

If GM users send you a question, be sure to reply to each. It might be a good idea to prepare a set of FAQs in advance. 

Photos, films — good content is priceless

Your listing’s content affects your ranking. Upload photos or films onto your listing to show your customers what your store or office looks like. You can also introduce your employees’ photos, naturally, provided they agreed to it. A comprehensive listing ranks higher. Remember to add in your logo and cover photos.

This feature allows other users to upload photos to your listing. Unfortunately, they might not be of highest quality. You can request having them deleted, but do not take it for granted, as ultimately Google is free to decide here.

Entrench links to your listing

Mind the links which redirect to your listing. You can link up from your own website, your social media profiles, or other NAP directories and listings available. Link building is an important ranking factor, so we recommend you invest some time and effort to establish the links.

Is Google Business Site generator a good idea for my business?

It depends. 

This simple free website creator is available from your account on Google My Business. It may come in handy if you do not have a website of your own. Use it to your hearts content! Make sure you place a link to your Google My Business listing on the newly created web site.

What if you already have your own website? Opinions differ on the issue. A professionally created website has a greater rate of success in presenting your business to your potential customers. Alternatively, you could just generate a simple one-page website and place all information vital to your business there. It’s your choice. 

Local ranking in Google Maps — what not to do?

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Finally, a few words on common SEO mistakes are due. 

  • Don’t charge in blind. Instinct is a valuable talent, but in case of SEO a coherent optimisation strategy is advised. Prepare a thorough action plan and your success will be the greater!
  • You cannot afford to lose mobile users, so take steps to ensure that your company website is fully responsive.
  • Remember how we said that NAP data must be accurate? Well, let us stress the issue one more time, as many a business pay little attention to the matter. A business is credible provided its contact details are consistent!

Take good care of your listing. Don’t neglect it on an assumption that all is done and perfect. Interacting with your customers is just as important as keeping your information, such as business hours, up to date. It took a lot of your effort to create a listing, so don’t waste it. 

Local SEO — expensive, complicated and ineffective

That headline is a lie. It mirrors several popular urban legends on local ranking that can be easily found on the web. 

Local ranking in Google Maps is neither expensive nor complicated as you can see to a range of activities yourself. Don’t be afraid to look things up on the Internet blog posts, such as this one. 

This is just another way to effectively boost your visibility online and gain potential customers. We hope you will have a chance to see it for yourself soon. 

Foster your listing to gain top ranks and new customers. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Good luck!