Google Maps touts itself as “an experience designed to highlight what matters most to you with every search.” If you haven’t paid much attention to the platform since its launch almost fifteen years ago, this might sound a little over the top; but it’s true. The Maps system now operates utilizing a complex algorithm. This is intended to offer searchers valuable results that compel them to actually make purchases.
This entire process is achieved via a number of methods. The most important thing for businesses to remember is that ranking plays a massive role in how helpful Google Maps is to your business. The higher you rank, the more likely customers are to see your content or learn about your business. The more customers are exposed to your brand, the higher your chance of landing a client or bagging a sale.
Why Your Google Maps Ranking Matters
Ranking well on Google Maps allows you to reap the full benefits of having a listing at all. Just getting onto Google Maps is a great start, but it won’t net you the results that high rankings will.
It’s easy to see why once you place yourself in a consumer’s shoes. If you were to perform a map search for a business, product, or service, how far would you look past the first few results? Regardless of whether you had hopped on the computer or whipped out your mobile device, it’s tough to argue that you wouldn’t be offering any attention to companies who ranked poorly.
That’s why your Google Maps ranking matters. Optimizing your listings will allow you to show up within the first few results after a search. Oftentimes, regular Google Search results pages will even include Maps results, too. Only the top ranking handful of businesses ever show up here. If you want that same opportunity, you’ll have to work to get it.
Tips for Ranking Higher on Google Maps
Make sure your Google My Business listing is complete
It seems obvious– but that’s what makes this step easy to forget. You need to actually make sure that your Google My Business listing is filled out as thoroughly as possible if you want to rank well on Google Maps. Your business’ ranking in the Maps system is directly related to the accuracy and completeness of that listing.
Google uses My Business listings as a way to pull and display information for web users as they navigate the Maps system. Providing Google with all the information you can about your brand ensures that they, in turn, can offer that information to searchers. More information equals higher rankings in search results.
Filling out your listing should be a simple affair. You’ll just need to input basic information like your business’ website, hours of operation, phone number, etc.
Double-check your Google My Business categories
Categories on the Google My Business Platform are so worth mentioning that we gave them a little section of their own. As you fill out your My Business profile, you may realize that the business categories you can select from don’t quite match up with your company. Sound familiar? There’s no need to despair!
Just be sure that your primary category is matched up as closely as possible to any keywords that you’re trying to rank. From here, take the time to consider your options within secondary categories; then max them out. Any related business category is fair game. This increases your impressions for certain keywords in the long run, which contributes to improved ranking.
Start bringing in the reviews
Your customers can review your business (for better or for worse) through the Google platform. These reviews– especially if they’re positive– can have a tremendous impact on your Google Maps ranking. Amassing a healthy variety of positive reviews is a great method of boosting your ranking.
You should make it easy for customers or clients to review your business. Offer friendly reminders with basic instructions on business cards or receipts. You can also leverage WordPress plugins specifically intended for Google Reviews. Sticking one of these on your business’ website is a great way to facilitate happy customers providing you with feedback.
Embed your Google Maps listing on your website
Google Maps gives businesses the freedom to embed a copy of their listing into pages on their primary websites. Whether it’s on your contact page, a dedicated directions page, or in your footer, including a dynamic visual of where you’re at and a link to a tool to help customers get there is smart business.
Taking this step will help legitimize you in Google’s eyes. It’s an extra way for them to verify that your business is where you say it is. This boosts the legitimacy of your Maps listing itself which, in turn, pushes you higher in rankings.
Optimize your website’s content
There a number of steps you can take off-platform to improve your website’s searchability and speed. Putting a handful of search engine optimization (or SEO) and user experience best practices into use could make all the difference in your Google Maps rankings.
We’ve put together a quick list of steps you can take to brush up your site’s edges. Whether it’s polishing your content or double-checking that everything is up to speed, here’s what you should be doing to ensure your website supports and promotes a higher Google Maps ranking:
- Use local keywords where possible
- This is especially critical on pages where you want to drive traffic
- Choose keywords with location-based searches in mind
- Use geographically-modified keywords (keywords with some local flair, basically)
- Don’t forget all of your opportunities to use keywords!
- Headers, body text, URLs, images, etc.
- Make sure things are quick and responsive
- Websites that load faster rank better through Google (especially if they’re mobile-optimized)
- Fix broken links
- Address slow loading times
- Reduce unnecessary redirects
- Optimize images
Ranking higher on Google Maps doesn’t come without some effort, but we believe it’s well worth the time. Sitting down for a day or two and taking the time to complete these steps could net you tremendously positive results. Your business’ ranking has a direct correlation with potential customers’ exposure to and opinion of your brand– is that something you want to risk?
If you’re looking for assistance in your next web design or SEO venture, get in touch with the team at Mankato today. We’re well-poised to help you improve site speed and SEO and game the Google system to your benefit. Whether you’re green to the world of digital marketing or you’re a seasoned pro, a helping hand never hurts.Request a free estimate