Ranking higher on Google as a whole can have a huge range of major benefits for your company, but there is also a lot of value in aiming for something more specific. Google Maps has become an increasingly popular tool in recent years, and that’s made it into a great marketing opportunity.
Being able to rank higher on Google Maps can push your business listing just that little bit higher, making sure that more customers see it. While this might not be the thing that skyrockets your business to the next stage of its growth, it is still an invaluable thing to focus on.
Google Maps business listings are extremely easy to create, and having one is always better than ignoring the platform completely. Even so, knowing how to rank higher on Google Maps can take the platform from “good” to “amazing” with only a few small tweaks.
Here is a full breakdown of how ranking higher on Google Maps helps, how you can rework Google Maps business listings to increase your ranking, and what other methods you have available to market your business through a simple Google Maps profile.
Table of Contents
- Why Should You Rank Higher on Google Maps?
- Marketing to Local Business Audiences
- Create a Google Maps Business Listing
- Practicing SEO
- Adding More Google Maps Listing Details
- Adding Optimised and High-Quality Images
- Changing Your URL
- Focusing On The Right Target Audience
- Using Good Reviews
- Dealing with Bad Reviews
- Making The Most of Your Google My Business Profile
- Other Ways to Improve Rank on Google Maps
- Useful Guides
Why Should You Rank Higher on Google Maps?
While it is easy to overlook Google Maps, almost 70% of all internet users end up turning to the platform as their preferred navigation tool. This means that a Google Maps listing has a chance of appearing to a large portion of search traffic, something that can give your business listings a lot of value.
Even a basic check for directions on the Google map system will give a consumer a range of different nearby businesses, meaning that it has become especially important for local businesses.
Beyond that, Google Maps is integrated into Google search results themselves. If you look up “restaurants near me,” then Google Maps will display any relevant local business in your area as long as they have Google Maps listings.
But what specific reasons make Google Maps so powerful compared to direct advertising on other Google platforms or even on other search engines as a whole? Understanding the reasons behind ranking on Google Maps can help you make more informed decisions about your Google Maps business listings going forward.
A large part (almost 85%) of Google Maps success comes from “discovery” searches, where your Google Maps listings appear because of a keyword that potential customers used. This means that it is actually a very effective advertising platform – it just needs to be handled correctly.
Google Maps is open to a lot of the same SEO and digital marketing techniques as the main search engine platform, only with some specific tweaks behind how it all works. Since these listings can also appear on the normal Google search engine, your listing can appear in two different places.
This means that a single Google Maps business listing can be a very powerful promotional tool and one that local businesses should never overlook.
Google Maps provides a unique navigation benefit that makes it far better for businesses with physical stores or offices. A local business can have a listing that directs users to their building, while a larger company or chain can point customers to their nearest location.
This makes local listings very useful. Not only do they appear on both Google Maps and regular Google results, but they can become a core part of your sales funnel and a great source of lead generation opportunities.
Ease of Access
Google Maps is a very easy platform to work with, and you do not need to spend much time getting set up with it. If you already have an existing Google Maps business listing, then you barely need to do any work to start tweaking your Google Maps presence.
This also means that it is readily available to customers. Instead of being a specialized app or platform, Google Maps is integrated into Google itself, meaning that you have access to a huge customer base even if they are not actively using the Google Maps platform itself.
Improving Your Google Maps Business Listings And Ranking
If you want to know how to rank higher on Google Maps, then you need to understand which techniques and tricks can actually improve your ranking. Rankings are all about hard data and algorithms, but these are algorithms that you can work with to bolster your own marketing success.
But how do you improve your Google Maps rankings, especially if you are not familiar with how Google Maps handles the individual ranking factors associated with each listing?
Marketing to Local Business Audiences
If you have a local business focused on a specific area, then putting most of your effort into Google local search results is the best option.
Whether you are a national business owner creating local landing pages for each individual local market, or just a local business owner trying to target your own town, there can be a lot of ways to optimize your local business marketing options.
Every time relevant Google searches occur, Google tries to show the best match for that customer’s search. In many cases, this means that it will display an actual business near their location as local search results – something that can be very powerful for your own marketing.
If you want to rank higher in Google Maps results within your local area, then you can do a lot to make that possible. Add photos of your business, create local landing pages, and improve your SEO, so you appear in Google’s Local Pack system when somebody looks for businesses in your area.
There is not a perfect local business schema or guideline to follow because no two businesses are the same. Local searches are also going to be wildly different depending on your location, so the way that you add local keywords depends on what would boost your own personal local ranking best.
Create a Google Maps Business Listing
If you do not already have a Google Maps business listing, then you should always create one. There are no disadvantages to putting yourself on the Google map system, especially not if you are a local business that thrives on in-store activity.
You can check if your business already has a business listing, then claim it for yourself if one exists (once you send proof that you own the business). If one does not exist, then you can get started with creating one.
Anybody can create a listing, but only the owner of the business can claim it. Claiming it -which means sending proof of ownership to Google – gives you full control over the business listing.
Unclaimed listings are usually just a marker and a business address, but claimed ones can be so much more in-depth. Remember: you will need a Google My Business account to claim it.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is always going to be the strongest way of improving your Google Maps rankings. Through SEO, you can make your entire website rank higher on Google and countless other platforms, and that extends to Google Maps as well.
Google map listing SEO is tough, but it can be one of the best ways to ensure great advertising results and a much stronger online presence.
Before you do anything else, perform a local SEO audit to see what kind of keywords and intent are performing the best in your local search results. The more keyword research you can do, the more direction you can give yourself when you are trying to improve your business listing and Google Maps rankings.
Improving your own website SEO is always helpful, but it is also a good idea to improve the SEO options of your Google My Business listing. Using the right keywords and adding more marketing phrasings to certain parts of your listing can make a huge difference.
In general, you want to provide a Google My Business listing that is effective for sales and spreading brand awareness. Even if somebody does not click on your listing themselves, you want something that will plant your brand in their mind and lead to future conversions.
Adding More Google Maps Listing Details
One of the best ways to try and rank higher is by adding more information. The more information you add, the more customers you might be able to attract – but this can also lead to your Google Maps listing getting ranked higher as well.
Just like the normal Google platform, Google Maps ranks listings based on how well they are constructed, how consistent they are, and a range of other ranking factors. This means that adding more detailed information can often be a good way to boost your ranking.
There are a lot of pieces of information that can be important for a Google business profile, so updating your Google My Business listing regularly can be important.
Adding basic business information might seem like an obvious step, but many smaller businesses never fully update their Google My Business listing.
Keeping your business information clear and consistent is simple enough, but that simplicity makes it very easy to overlook. There is no point pushing your Google Maps listing higher in the rankings if the listing itself is almost completely empty of useful information.
Details like your business description, contact details, and opening hours can all be extremely important. They are some of the first things that consumers will want to look at, and making a good first impression is a vital part of succeeding in any market.
Remember that Google Maps might be the way that a lot of consumers find out about your business for the first time. A clear description in your business listing can be important for clarifying what your business actually is, then making a subtle sales pitch to the reader.
A description can be both a breakdown of the business, a list of product types, and a call to action if you write it correctly. Be sure to look at how your competitors are describing themselves on their own Google map marker profiles, and do not skimp on using popular keywords.
Adding Optimised and High-Quality Images
Adding some good, clear images can be the difference between standing out as a local business or struggling with your local SEO options. There are a lot of ways that you can play around with images, and making the right choices can really improve your business listing.
Images play a massive part in building the best possibles Google Maps profiles you can, and it is not always easy to use them correctly.
Upload high-quality images that are relevant to your business and the products or services you offer. A restaurant can post pictures of food, and a supermarket can post images of rows of shelves, and so on.
Not only does this improve your SEO within Google’s algorithm, but it can be a great way to appeal to certain customers. By replacing the normal Google map auto-generated image with your own custom photos, you can effectively give customers a quick peek at what your business will offer.
This means that a business listing can become a direct marketing tool rather than just a background detail to a Google search. You can have your Google map listing appear in normal searches, along with a picture of whatever image you think represents your business best.
Changing Your URL
Changing your Google My Business URL can be a small but effective tweak that makes a big difference. For example, instead of using an auto-generated string of numbers, you could change your URL to end with your business name or a particular service you offer.
This is more for SEO than anything else, but it is an easy change that will not really get in the way of anything else you are doing. Just make sure to keep the URL consistent with your branding for the best possible SEO results.
Focusing On The Right Target Audience
If you are not sure how to rank higher on Google Maps with your current audience, then try targeting another one as well. A Google Maps listing can be a very flexible thing, and there are some cases where your Google My Business profile might benefit from you targeting another group.
For example, focusing on local SEO and local search results can be a great option, but you might want to change exactly where that local SEO is being targeted. Local search results do not just have to mean results within your own town – you can always expand to neighboring towns and cities.
Higher Google Maps rankings are sometimes easier to get if you shift your focus a little bit. Even something as simple as altering your current local keywords and local SEO strategy can help you target relevant audiences that will be more receptive to your advertising options.
Remember that most business owners do not fully understand their target audience. If you want your Google map rankings to improve, you might have to make some major changes or start experimenting in ways that you otherwise would not.
Using Good Reviews
Any business can set up a Google My Business page. However, customer reviews are one of the few elements of Google My Business that you can’t create yourself, and that means that positive reviews have a huge amount of sway in both local SEO and your overall Google Maps ranking.
Because of this, pushing for more good reviews can be a great option. More positive reviews mean that you will place higher on Google Maps ranking results, but it also means that customers are going to see those Google reviews whenever they come across your business.
Not only does this give you a higher rank on Google Maps, but it can also actively boost the number of customers that visit your site or contact your business. A lot of potential customers choose businesses based on reviews, so having good reviews means that you get a lot of unexpected traffic.
It is important to ask for reviews at the right time. Positive reviews are much harder to get than negative ones, so you want to slip in hints towards the review page right after a delivery, purchase, or some other positive experience. The more you can earn, the higher your Google My Business listing will rank.
Dealing with Bad Reviews
Not all reviews are good, and knowing how to tackle negative reviews can be extremely important. Reviews are both major local search ranking factors and a serious blow to your business’s online presence, so you want to tackle them before they can damage your reputation.
If you get a negative review, contact (or reply to) the person who made it and offer some kind of compromise. This could be a refund, a replacement product, or some other option entirely – just find a way to give them some kind of compensation for whatever happened.
Not only does this allow you to flex your customer service work, but you can often get that review changed to a positive one if the compensation is good enough. In some markets, having a review that mentions you resolving a problem extremely well can be better than a typical positive review since it shows how you chose to act in a worst-case scenario.
Sometimes you can’t deal with negative reviews. Removing them is not ethical – instead, leave them up and do not worry too much about them. No companies have a perfect track record, and keeping a few negative reviews around can actually help boost the authenticity of your entire review profile – all positives can start to look suspicious, especially for a newer company.
Making The Most of Your Google My Business Profile
Even if you know how to rank higher on Google Maps or at least have an understanding of the basics, you will not necessarily know how to use them. A well-ranking Google My Business profile for Google Maps is great, but there are ways to make it even more useful.
While backlinks might not seem all that effective, they can still be important for making better use of your existing Google My Business profile.
Creating Google posts on your Google My Business or Google Maps account can be a feature that many people under-use, but it has a lot of powerful techniques associated with it. For example, you can use the posts to create your own backlinks to your main website.
As long as the post is relevant to the rest of your site, you could backlink from your Google My Business account to your regular website and gain a significant SEO boost. However, you need to do it properly because many Google URLs are nofollow to prevent exploitation.
No matter how useful you will think they will be, it can’t hurt to link back to your website more often. If your business page contributes to your SEO, then great. If your business page doesn’t contribute to your SEO, at least you have another link that might draw in new website traffic.
Stay Consistent with your Business Website
While you should never copy content from your business website word-for-word, consistency is good. It can help with SEO, give you a more defined brand image, and will help you avoid the problem of consumers not knowing if you are actually the same company.
A lot of businesses forget about their Google My Business page, even to the point of leaving old logos up or forgetting to change the listing name on a renamed business. This causes plenty of confusion, and it can be something that many business owners just do not ever resolve.
Consistency is key. You want your Google My Business account to represent your business well, from the business name right down to the relevant searches that bring it up. Even things like business hours can be important to keep consistent since getting them wrong could lead to annoyed customers and negative reviews.
Engage with Consumers
Another common mistake is to remain completely detached from your consumers and audiences. Google Maps is not exactly a social media platform, but that does not mean that you can’t use Google business platforms in a more social and engaging way.
Google notices if you are engaging with people, both in terms of talking and responding to customers or representing local events. Adding local keywords like this – such as charities you are partnered with – can make a huge difference in the long term.
Keeping engaged with the world and consumers around you is important, especially for a local service area business with a limited pool of customers to work with. Appearing on Google local search results is great, but you need something that makes you stand out from the competition.
Some users search for businesses specifically to learn more about them, and these are the customers you definitely want to make a good first impression on. If they see that your Google business regularly responds to reviews and answers questions, then they might be more tempted to get in touch with you themselves.
Other Ways to Improve Rank on Google Maps
When you are looking at your rank on Google Maps, you might feel like there are only a few specific strategies that work. However, there are a lot of smaller details that many people overlook that can help you rank higher on Google Maps – and others that are just nice to include.
While not all of these lesser-known options will directly help you rank higher in Google Maps overall, it is still a good idea to look for constant sources of improvement on your Google business profile. The more positive changes you can make, the more ways you can draw new customers in.
Local Information for Local Search Results
Never hesitate to add in more details for local search results, such as a local phone number for a particular branch of your business. This not only means that contact is easier, but it means that people using mobile devices can even call your business directly if they choose to.
Using a local phone number removes the requirement to constantly redirect people to other branches or offices. Even if you only have one office, you might have multiple phones for different departments, so using a phone number that suits the profile is a great way to reduce overall hassle.
Improving your Google local ranking results is as simple as focusing on the local elements of your business listing. Google Maps search results appearances are very specific, so you will appear in local search results as long as somebody in your local area searches for you.
Make sure that you are consistent and accurate with all of your details. Whether it is your overall business category or your website URL, you want to keep all information correct whenever possible.
Your Google Maps search results listing relies on your business data, primarily those that you add yourself. You need to add photos, website link details, and possibly even a clarified business name – all Google Maps adds are the Google reviews and the Google map.
Auto-generated results, or listings created by people ahead of time, may not be completely accurate. Check the business name and correct it if necessary, and make sure that the business category is all correct – having the wrong primary category might cause SEO problems until you change to the correct business category option.
Do not rush headfirst into fooling around with details that you are not prepared to think over. Search engines are very sensitive to changes, and it only takes one mistake to push you out of local search results.
Even changing the primary category of your business, adding a detail to your business name, or tweaking your websites link can have a minor impact on whether you rank higher on Google Maps than you expected.
Take your time and think over every change you are making. Even if you are desperate to rank higher in Google Maps and Google local search results, you need to be sure that everything you are doing is going to contribute positively towards that goal.
Even if you are just using your plan as a general guideline, it is going to help you figure out how you want to proceed with future changes to your listings. Having some kind of plan is always better than trying to market your business with no defined end goal.
Always set goals for yourself and your company when possible. Without a clear goal, it becomes much harder to keep yourself on track, and it can be far too easy to slip into using every marketing method you can think of.
By having a clear goal, you can focus your attention and energy on the things that matter most. This makes it much easier to limit your efforts to marketing methods that would make practical sense, keeping you on target and making sure you know what you want to achieve next.
Your business will always be improving and expanding, and that means that goals change. Even so, a short-term goal can be more important than you might think when it comes to marketing.
All of the advice here is great for marketing your business through Google Maps and Google My Business, as well as tailoring your site to make sure that it can be properly supported by those platforms. Of course, this is not the end of your marketing journey.
Whether you want to overhaul your business name and branding or just change the way you market yourself, you will want to keep making changes to your marketing. No industry is completely stagnant, and you need to keep adjusting your marketing to match current industry trends.
Beyond that, building a recognizable business name brand is not easy. There are a lot of ways that you can get your name out there, from putting yourself in local directories to optimizing your site and business map listing to appear for mobile device users.
At the end of the day, what matters is that your business can grow. A good business listing provides countless opportunities to gain more customers, either by diving deeper into your current niche or spreading out to gather attention from new markets. How you choose to handle this depends on how you manage your company’s image and what your goals are.
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Kasra Dash is a Scottish entrepreneur, Kasra Primarily focuses on SEO & digital marketing for companies in the UK he enjoys brining positive ROI’s for business owners with his marketing expertise.
Kasra is also an investor in Searcharoo.