If your business has a physical location, then it’s likely listed on Google Maps. But to get the full value of your Google Places listing, you don’t just want to be on the list – you want to be at the top.
Research shows that Google Maps users are more likely to click on listings that appear on the first page of results.
Google determines local ranking based on:
- Relevance – how well a local listing matches what is being searched for.
- Distance – how far each potential search result is from the location term used in the search, or a user’s location.
- Prominence – how well-known a business is. This is based on how famous a location is in the off-line world, and also on the information that Google has about a business from across the Internet. This includes Google review count and score, SEO rankings, and more.
While you can’t pay for a better local ranking, there are methods you can take to raise your placement.
- Make sure your listing is complete and accurate.
This may seem basic, but it’s something that very few businesses actually do. Go through your Google My Business profile item by item and make sure that each section is filled out as much as possible.
Take the time to also verify that all information listed is up to date. It can be easy to build a profile in one go and then never update it again – even if you’ve changed a phone number, hours of operation, and so on.
Specifically, you will want to make sure your profile includes:
- Contact information and website. Your name, address, telephone number, and website should all be included.
- Business hours. Even if you don’t have a traditional 9 -5 business, or you take calls at all hours, this is still vital to include.
- No duplicate pieces of information. If you have multiple phone numbers or location addresses, this will actually hurt your ranking. Decide on the most important phone number and list only that. If you have a local phone number, it’s generally better to use that one (rather than an 866 number). If you have more than one location, create separate listings for each location.
- Use keywords.
Not just for pay-per-click marketing, keywords can also help your Google My Business listing rank higher. Think about keywords that relate to your business. For instance, if you run a private investigation agency, you might think about and research words that people looking for a PI would search, like “private investigators near Toronto” or “background checks Toronto.”
Include keywords and phrases in your listing. This will help your business rank on searches related to your services.
Similarly, when you first create your Google My Business listing, you can add a primary industry category to describe your business. But you can also add up to five additional categories. You should be using all five of these.
These can be keywords from your list. If your primary category is “Private Investigation,” your secondary categories might be “Toronto private investigator,” “background checks Toronto,” etc.
- Use citations.
Moz has a great breakdown on what local citations are and how to use them in your Google listing: https://moz.com/learn/seo/local-citations.
In a nutshell, a local citation is any online mention of your business’s name, address, and phone number. This might look like a listing in a business directory, on a website or app, or on a social media platform. These are used as verification of trust.
It’s to your benefit to make sure your business is listed multiple places across the Internet – and to make sure your information is kept up to date and consistent with your Google My Business listing (i.e. if you have two phone numbers, make sure the same one is used across directories).
- Get more Google Reviews.
Google ranks businesses with good reviews higher on Google Maps. It makes sense, right? If you have a good online reputation, then you’re likely a safe bet to recommend.
(Want to improve your online reputation? We have a blog about that – click here to read it.)
For many businesses the problem isn’t necessarily that they don’t have good reviews; it’s that they don’t have enough reviews. The solution is getting more.
If you haven’t done so already, consider asking trusted customers who have had a positive experience with you to leave a review. You might also ask referral partners for reviews – you could even make a quid pro quo arrangement where you also leave them a positive review.
You might also consider creating a landing page on your website where visitors can leave a review that connects directly to your Google Reviews page.
You should also respond to reviews as this will help your ranking. According to Google, “responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. 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.”
- Embed Google Maps on your website.
If you have a “Contact Us” page on your website, consider embedding your Google Maps location directly onto the page.
This will tell Google that your business is actually located where you say it is. Make sure that the address you use is the same one as listed on your Google My Business profile.
- Use photos.
This is a big one. One of the easiest ways to increase your ranking is by adding photos to your Google My Business listing. You can add multiple photos.
A general rule of thumb is to use a few good, high resolution photos of the exterior of your business location. You can also add a photo of your logo, team members, the interior of the building, and more.
- Run other PPC ads.
A simple social media promotion or ad with a link to your company’s Google My Business listing can help increase your prominence and drive more traffic to your page – both factors that could increase your ranking.
- Follow general SEO best practices.
While we are talking specifically about the Google My Business ranking, the truth is that the same measures you take to improve the SEO for your website can also help with your Maps listing.
Because Google takes prominence into effect – how well-known your business is – items like backlinks, guest posts, an optimized website, and more can also improve your Google Maps ranking.
Your Google My Business listing should work with your overall SEO strategy.
At DigiForce Marketing, we can help optimize your Google Places listing and other SEO efforts. We’ll take a look at your overall SEO strategy to help improve your ranking.
Contact us today for a consultation. Call 1-888-701-4441 or visit www.digiforcemarketing.ca to learn more about our services.