The Top 10 Strategies for Ranking Higher on Google Maps
Your Google Maps listing is a vital marketing tool for your business. It can assist you in being discovered by new customers, outshining your competitors, and generating more business—all for free. However, these advantages are only achievable when your listing has strong visibility, and it does not imply that your business will automatically rank for searches in a particular area just because it is listed there; Google does not automatically prioritize your business in searches within that area.
In reality, among the many factors that Google considers when ranking business listings on Google Maps, proximity is just one of them. In this guide, I will share with you 10 strategies that will help your Google Maps listing rank higher in search results.
We will address the following topics:
- How to create and claim your Google Maps listing if you haven’t done so already.
- How to present supplementary information that boosts your ranking and enhances your appeal.
- Additionally, what additional steps you can take on your website to further improve the ranking of your Google Maps listing.
Why rank higher on Google Maps?
Research indicates that 67% of consumers prefer Google Maps as their chosen navigation app. Furthermore, consumers typically do not look beyond the first few results when searching for a location, making it exceptionally crucial for your Google Maps listing to appear at the top for relevant searches.
Research also demonstrates that these consumers more frequently access Google Maps business listings through keyword (referred to as “discovery”) searches (84% of the time) than through business name (referred to as “direct”) searches. Consequently, it is of significant importance for your listing to rank highly on Google Maps for the terms your potential customers are searching for.
Another advantage of ranking higher on Google Maps is that if applicable, the top three Google Maps listings will also appear in regular Google Search results. Additionally, considering that 46% of searches on Google are locally focused, appearing in the “Local 3-Pack” can significantly boost the visibility of your business.
To rank high on Google Maps typically means to appear on the first page of Google Search.
The actions you take to achieve higher rankings on Google Maps not only enhance the quality of your listing but also provide multiple avenues for consumers to engage with your business. Considering that 86% of consumers use Google Maps to search for businesses, this presents opportunities to increase engagement.
How to get your business listing to rank higher on Google maps
So, how can you ensure that your business appears higher in Google Maps? Just like there are on-page and off-page optimizations for local website SEO, there are on-listing and off-listing optimizations for business listing SEO as well. However, first, you need to get listed on Google Maps and claim your listing, which we’ll be discussing in the next section.
1. Add your business to Google Maps
- Certainly, you cannot achieve higher rankings on Google Maps or conduct effective Google Maps marketing without having a Google Maps listing in the first place. If you already have a listing, you can skip this section. However, if you do not have a listing or are unsure, you can follow the steps below to add your business to Google Maps
- Go to Google.com/maps or access the Google Maps app on your smartphone, and search for your business name.
- If your business name doesn’t appear, you’ll see an option in the drop-down menu to “add a missing place.”
Once you click that, you’ll be prompted to provide your name, category, and location.
An important point to note here is that anyone from anywhere in the world can add a business to Google Maps. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check and ensure whether your business listing already exists, even if you haven’t added it yourself. And don’t worry: The person who adds your business to Google Maps, no matter who they are, does not have control over the listing. Only the person who claims ownership of the business by providing proof of ownership gains that control, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
2. Claim your Google Maps business listing
The second step in getting your business to rank higher on Google Maps is to claim your listing. When you create your listing, you can only provide basic information such as the business name, category, and location. However, when you claim your listing, you can add much more detail about your business. The more information a business listing contains, the higher it tends to rank on Google Maps. Additionally, you won’t be able to proceed with the other steps in this guide unless you’ve claimed your listing.
To claim your business listing on Google Maps, you first need to have a free Google My Business account. If you already have an account, simply locate your Google Maps business listing, choose the option that says “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” and follow the provided instructions. If you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, head over to the following guide, and we’ll walk you through creating an account and claiming your business step by step.
3. Add information to your Google Maps business listing
Of course, now that you have a Google Maps business listing and a linked Google My Business account, you’re ready to optimize it for higher placement in local search results. As I mentioned before, the more information your listing provides, the higher it will rank in the results. To add more details to your listing, log in to your Google My Business account. Here, you’ll find a control panel with several tabs, as I mentioned earlier.
Select the “Info” tab, which includes your business name, category, address, service area (if applicable), hours of operation, special hours, phone number, website, products, services, attributes, and description. To optimize these sections of your Google My Business account for higher ranking on Google Maps, you can use the following tips:
Be consistent with name and address
Google Maps ranks businesses based on the information it trusts, and one key factor in determining trustworthiness is the consistency of your business information across the web. For instance, let’s consider you have a business named “North Shore Wellness Center.” Ensure that the business name in your Google My Business dashboard matches exactly as “North Shore Wellness Center” and doesn’t have slight variations like “N. Shore Wellness Center” or “North Shore Wellness Ctr.” It’s crucial to maintain this consistent name across all your online platforms, including your website, Yelp listing, Facebook profile, and others. The same principle applies to address details, such as using “Street” instead of “St.”
This consistency can enhance your business’s credibility and potentially improve your ranking on Google Maps.
Use a local phone number
Google is not fond of toll-free (800 and 877) numbers because they are often employed for spamming purposes. It’s advisable to utilize a local phone number that includes the area code of your location. This practice not only enhances your ranking on Google Maps but also serves as verification to searchers that your business is situated in that specific are
Include your tracked and main number
If you employ call tracking, use a tracked number as your primary business phone number and designate your main number as your secondary number. This strategy will direct most of your calls through the tracked line, allowing you to assess the effectiveness of your listing. However, by retaining the main number in your listing, Google can then correlate your number with the one displayed on your website and other listings.
Keep your hours updated
Google Maps business listings inform users whether a business is open, closed, or scheduled to open or close soon. (And during the pandemic, whether it’s temporarily closed—making it a crucial SEO tactic during COVID-19.) Keeping these hours up to date signals to Google that you are active and, consequently, trustworthy, which in turn aids your ranking. It also prevents customers from arriving at your establishment only to discover that it’s closed or about to close—which can sometimes lead to a negative review (detrimental to your Google Maps ranking).
Make sure to update your holiday hours as well so that you don’t receive an “hours might differ” label on your listing.
Write a business description
The description on your Google Maps business listing should provide the big picture of your business to help orient visitors; as well as unique attributes to compel searchers. It should also be written in a tone that aligns with your brand, to help establish a better connection. Be sure to include keywords in your business description, as this will help your business listing on Google Maps to rank not just for searches that contain your business name, but for searches for products and services as well.
Properly categorize your business
In terms of ranking, the category of your business as it appears on Google Maps is very important. For your primary category, choose the one that best represents the core offering of your business. If any other categories apply, choose them as secondary categories.
To rank higher in Google Maps, choose primary and additional categories through your Google My Business dashboard.
Keep in mind that you cannot add custom categories, but if you begin typing your main offering into the box, you’ll see a drop-down menu of possible categories to choose from.
4. Add photos to your Google Maps business listing
Google loves it when you upload photos to your listing. First, because it signals that you are an active listing worthy of ranking higher in results. Second, because Google’s photo-recognition technology is advancing and Google is starting to show images in local search results. And third, because the SEO rule of thumb is that Google loves what consumers love, and consumers love photos. Plus, if you don’t add photos to your listing, it will show a generic map image like this:
Google Maps business listings without photos are less appealing to consumers and may not rank as high as listings with photos.
So, to improve your Google Maps ranking, upload high-quality and compelling photos to your business listing that captures what it’s like to be at your business. You do this by going to the “Photos” tab in your Google My Business dashboard and click on the blue circle with a white plus sign. From there, you’ll be able to drag and drop several photos and/or videos at once. Ideally, you should strive to add at least one new photo a day.
5. Get Google reviews
Knowing that Google loves what customers love, it should be no surprise that Google Maps gives ranking favor to business listings with positive reviews. So how do you get more Google reviews? Well, when you create a business listing on Google Maps, this automatically opens your business up to reviews.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll get them. You’ll need to be proactive in asking for reviews, and you’ll also need to respond to them. Responding to reviews encourages more of them and mitigates the damage of negative reviews. Plus, your responses show other prospects how attentive you are to customers and how well you resolve issues.
Reviews can be scary, but unless your service is truly atrocious, bad reviews tend to be few and far between. Plus, as long as you respond properly you can mitigate and even reverse the damage of a negative review.
6. Consolidate your Google Maps listings
Google will discredit businesses with multiple phone numbers or locations listed for one actual business. Weed out duplicate listings and superfluous information to ensure your one true listing will rank.
7. Post regularly to your Google Maps business listing
Like Facebook, you can publish posts that appear right on your Google Maps business listing. Regularly posting like this sends signals to Google that you proactively manage your listing, which it considers when ranking. In addition, when consumers are on search engines, they have high intent, so through Google posts, you can get your offers in front of a ready-to-engage audience.
Create posts in your Google My Business dashboard to appear on your business listing and to tell Google you are active.
How to use your website to rank higher on Google Maps
In addition to taking action directly on your business listing, there are some optimizations you can perform on your website to support higher Google Maps ranking.
8. Make sure your website is responsive
Google Maps business listings require you to have a website that functions smoothly across both mobile and desktop devices. This is crucial because these listings include a link to your website, and considering that nearly 60% of Google searches are conducted on mobile devices, it’s of paramount importance. If your business listing directs users to a website that necessitates zooming in, navigating difficulties, or suffers from broken links, your Google Maps ranking may be adversely affected.
9. Add local keywords to your website
The second strategy to harness your website’s potential for boosting your Google Maps ranking involves a focus on local search optimization. While this approach naturally enhances your website’s visibility in Google Search results, it can also wield a significant influence on the prominence of your Google Maps business listing. To maximize these benefits, ensure the integration of location-specific keywords across your website’s core pages, including the homepage, ‘about us’ section, ‘contact us’ page, ‘products and services’ section, and even within your blog posts. Don’t limit these keywords to just page titles; incorporate them seamlessly into headings, body content, image alt tags, captions, and URLs as well.
By emphasizing through your website that you are active in your local area, you can help Google feel more confident in ranking your business listing on Google Maps for that area as well.
10. Embed a Google map on your website
Another effective way to rank higher on Google Maps is by embedding a Google map on your website, which most businesses do, especially on their contact us page. Embedding a Google map is another way of confirming to Google that your business is indeed located where your listing indicates. When performing this action, make sure to use the address listed on your Google Maps business listing.
To embed a Google Map on your website, start by searching for your business name in Google Maps. Next, click on the “Share” option within your listing and select the “Embed a map” tab. Copy the link provided and paste it onto your business’s contact page. This not only informs Google about your local presence but also allows your website users to see your business’s location. This can contribute to improving your Google Maps ranking.
Experience the benefits of ranking higher on Google Maps
Throughout this guide, you’ve been provided with a lot of information. Now, let’s take a look at the following summary to rank higher on Google Maps:
- Create and claim your Google Maps business listing.
- Fill out all sections of your Google My Business dashboard completely.
- Maintain consistency in your business name, address, and [preferably local] phone number.
- Accurately describe and categorize your business.
- Regularly add photos and posts to your listing.
- Obtain Google reviews.
- Consolidate duplicate business listings.
- Ensure you have a responsive website.
- Optimize your website for local keywords.
- Embed a Google Map on your website.
Google Maps business listings are becoming increasingly advanced, providing consumers with the ability to quickly access the information they need and make informed purchasing decisions. By following the tips in this post, you can ensure that your business ranks at the top of Google Maps, resulting in increased visibility, engagement, and revenue!Leave a reply