Google Maps Ranking Factors
While Google Maps ranking used to be based on such things as proximity and industry categories, Google is now including other factors into its calculation of rankings. This is good news for small and medium sized businesses whose listings may otherwise be overshadowed by large corporations and chain companies. There are several things you can to increase your ranking and market your business on Google Maps.
1. Verify your Google My Business Information
The more Google knows about your business, the better it will be able to correctly display your business listing online. Make sure that your listing is complete and accurate, including:
Contact information and website. Include all possible contact information including your address, telephone number, and website so that Google can provide as much information as possible.
Business hours. Google Maps tells users if a business is open or closed and if it’s opening or closing soon. Adding business hours to your listing can give potential customers the impetus to use your business.
No duplicate pieces of information. Google will discredit businesses with multiple phone numbers or locations listed for one actual business. Weed out the superfluous and make sure all information written is accurate.
2. Get Google Reviews
User reviews add another dimension of trustworthiness to a business, and Google has recognized that fact by ranking businesses with a high volume of good reviews higher on Google Maps. Keep in mind that, once you open up your business for reviews, there is no turning back. Like other sites like Yelp, you will not have control over what people say, so your reviews may be both good and bad. Check out this post on how to get more business from Google and Yelp reviews.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Unless your service is truly atrocious, bad reviews, statistically speaking, tend to be far and few in-between. To get started, copy your Google review link. Go to your Google map listing, click “more information” and copy the direct link you find there. Share this link over your social media channels to encourage reviews. You can also create a landing page on your website that leads directly to your Google Maps listing review form.
To give yourself a boost, ask a handful of trusted, loyal customers (ones who you know will leave you a positive review) to write a review for you. Just a few positive reviews will be enough to instantly rev up your rankings.
3. Properly Categorize Your Business
When you first create a Google Maps listing, you have the option of adding a primary industry category, or “keyword” to describe your business.
What many business owners don’t know is that you can add up to five additional categories. You should make use of all five of these. Your primary category should be the main classification for your business (ex: realtor, restaurant), while the remaining five categories should incorporate local SEO keywords that act as additional descriptors (ex: Dallas realtor, Paradise Heights restaurant).
4. Embed a Google Map on Your Website
Another way to rank higher on Google Maps is to embed a Google Map on your website. Most businesses place a map on the contact page of their site. Embedding a Google Map is just another way to telling Google that your business is located where your listings says it is. Use the same address that you have on your Google My Business listing.
To embed a Google Map on your website, search for your business name in Google Maps. Click on the three lines next to your business name and click “Share or Embed Map” as shown in the photo below. Copy and paste the link on your business’s contact page.
how to embed a google map
5. Optimize the Listing Description
Your Google Maps listing has a character limit, but instead of putting a superfluous description, you should include local SEO keywords that describe your business. For example, instead of “great realtor offering exemplary customer service” write “Dallas realtor with best rates” or something similar.
6. Use a Local Telephone Number
Google looks down upon toll-free (800 and 877) numbers because these types of numbers are frequently used for spam. Local telephone numbers show that your business is a brick and mortar location in the area.
For this reason you should be using a local telephone number with an area code that matches your location. It’s ok to have a toll free number on your website, but if you want to have a higher Google Maps ranking, use a local number for your Google listing.
7. Add Photos to the Listing
One of the easiest ways to stand out on Google Maps is to add a photo to your Google My Business listing. Choose a good photo of your business that’s on your website or highlights your business. You can add more than one photo so choose ones that will entice customers to come to your business.
Listings that don’t include photos of the business will show a generic map of your business’s location like this:
google maps marketing
To add a photo to your Google Maps listing, you simply edit your original listing on Google+ (the listing that drives Google My Business and Google Maps) to add photos. Read our post for more information on how to set up a Google+ Page for your business.
If you have a Google listing, check to make sure that you have all of these things in order to get Google putting your business on the first page of Google Maps.