Local SEO can be tricky, especially if you’ve never tried your hand at it before. From picking the right keywords to target to finding the perfect links to build, the process can be overwhelming. There’s a part of local SEO that’s a bit easier to tackle, though: ranking on Google Maps. That’s what we’ll be covering in this article.
Note that we said easier to tackle, but not easy. After all, over a million companies have a listing on Google Maps. The good news is that most of them aren’t actively trying to rank on the platform, which can give you an edge over your competitors if you follow our tips on how to rank higher on Google Maps. Let’s get into it.
Why you should try to rank higher on Google maps
Well, just think about it for a second. Where do you look when searching for a restaurant or gym in an unfamiliar neighbourhood? Or when you’re trying to find a plumber for an unexpected leak?
Did you answer “Google Maps”?
What a coincidence! More than a billion users are in the same boat!
Not only does it give your business access to hundreds (if not thousands) of local customers that are ready to make a purchase, but ranking high on Google Maps also boosts local SEO.
Moreover, if you rank higher on Google Maps, your listing can be displayed in regular Google Search results if applicable.
Not to mention that all your company’s contact info, from phone number to email address, will be displayed, giving your prospects a chance to interact with your brand. Considering that 86% of consumers use Google Maps to look up a business, ranking higher there should give you plenty of opportunities to boost engagement.
How to rank higher on Google maps – 12 tips
1. Complete your Google My Business (GMB) profile
The first thing you need to rank higher on Google Maps is a Google My Business page. If you’ve already set up yours, you can skip this section. Otherwise, keep reading.
Here’s how to create a Google Maps listing:
- Head over to Google.com/maps
- Open the side menu and click on “Add your business”
- Add the required details following Google’s instructions
- Sit back and relax as you wait for your listing to be approved
Note that anyone can add any missing place to Google Maps, so you might find a listing in your company’s name on Google Maps already. In that case, you needn’t worry, as whoever created the listing doesn’t have control over it. You can claim it to add any missing details.
After creating (or claiming) your listing, the next step is to add the necessary information. Remember, the more information your business page on Google Maps providers, the higher it will rank.
To do so, simply head over to the “Info” tab, in which you can add the following details:
- Physical address
- Email address
- Business hours and special hours
- Phone number
- Products and/or services
2. Upload photos showcasing your products and/or services
Google loves it when you upload photos and other types of content to your GMB listing, and it rewards that with higher visibility on Google Maps.
Why, you ask?
Well, for starters, Google loves whatever consumers love, and consumers do love visual content. Second, Google is starting to show images in local search results (thanks to Artificial Intelligence and advanced photo recognition). And third, posting updates shows that you’re an active listing that’s worthy of ranking higher in the SERPs.
So, a part of learning how to rank higher on Google Maps is uploading high-quality, compelling photos that showcase your products and/or services.
Adding such photos to your listing is easy as pie. Simply open the “Photos” tab in your dashboard and click on the blue circle with a white plus sign.
3. Post updates
As mentioned, Google rewards businesses that are active on Google Maps with higher visibility. That’s why you need to post regular updates to your GMB listing.
Here are some updates that you can post:
- Special offers
- Changes in contact info or business hours
- Links to relevant blog posts
- Industry updates (don’t overdo it, though. They have to be relevant)
Whenever possible, add visual elements, such as photos, to those updates.
4. How to rank higher on Google maps: Use local business schema
For Google to crawl and index content on your website, it has to be well-structured. After all, Google, as well as other search engines, love standardisation. That’s why schema was developed.
Local schema allows you to wrap code around certain details on your website in a way that makes it easier for Google to crawl and index. Many of those details are the same as those used in your GMB listing, making it easy for Google to cross-reference and validate your location.
All of that does sound confusing, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s normal because schema markup is part of technical SEO – something that not all businesses understand fully.
Here’s a simpler way to understand it:
Google needs a clear website structure for its crawlers to understand how your site works and which information is meant for what. That’s what schema markup is for. Local Schema basically tells Google’s crawlers, “here; this is this business number, this is its physical address, and this is its email address. They’re the same as the ones you’ve seen on Google Maps, so do your job and validate my location, please.”
That’s important because, for your listing to rank higher on Google Maps, your location has to be validated. Using Local schema, you’re telling Google on a different platform, your website, that your address on Google Maps is indeed the address your business uses.
5. Embed a Google map on your contact page
Embedding a Google map on your website, specifically on the contact us page, is a great way to tell Google that your business is indeed located where your listing says it is. Showing a physical address is also a great way to boost credibility.
6. Encourage customers to add reviews
This is another crucial tip on how to rank higher on Google Maps.
Small businesses thrive on user reviews, especially when it comes to ranking on Google in general and Google Maps in particular. That’s because, as mentioned earlier, Google loves what customers love, so it’s only natural for reviews to be a ranking factor on Google Maps.
However, ranking higher is not the only benefit of reviews. Customer reviews can also boost sales and conversations. Here are some stats to back that up:
- 84% of consumers see online reviews as personal recommendations they can trust
- Improving your Yelp rating by one star can lead to a 5 to 9% increase in revenue
If you’re still not convinced, answer this: when was the last time you bought a product or got a service without looking for honest reviews first?
Yeah, we figured.
The moment you create a listing for your business on Google Maps, users can start posting reviews. It’s easier said than done, though. In reality, getting reviews is an active process. You can do it after delivering a product or service:
- Over the phone
- Using your website
- Via email
- Through social media
Besides asking for reviews, you also have to respond to them, even the negative ones. That shows that you actually care about your customers and their feedback, good or bad.
Here’s a final pro tip: when mining reviews, ask your customers to mention the service they got along with their experience working with your company. That way, you’ll get plenty of keyword-rich reviews, which will boost your rankings.
7. Make sure your contact details are up to date and consistent
NAP, or Name, Address and Phone Number, are the three most important pieces of contact information on your GMB listing. That’s why you must keep them not only updated but also consistent across different platforms.
To find where those pieces of information show up, simply Google your business name. If a website or a directory displays incorrect details, do not hesitate to reach out and ask for them to be corrected.
For this, you need to build citations by listing your business on different well-known directories, such as Yelp, Apple Maps, Facebook, other search engines, etc.
So, why are citations important?
Well, to put it simply, they’re yet another way of supplying Google with information about your business from reputable sources. That way, Google can confirm that your business does actually exist and that the details you have on your Google Maps listing are accurate. Remember, the more legitimate your business listing is, the higher it’s going to rank on Google Maps.
9. How to rank higher on Google maps: Engage with your community
We’re talking about local SEO here, so it’s only natural for your business to have to be active locally for it to gain higher visibility on Google Maps.
For your business to be considered a thriving part of the community by Google, you can do the following:
- Publish content that links to local event announcements
- Promote partner pages tied to local service organisations
- Work on getting mentioned in local news stories
- Partner with other local business
- Sponsor local events
Not only will you be doing a service to your community, something all of us should be doing, but you’ll probably get plenty of positive reviews from people you helped.
10. Optimise your content for your local audience
If you want to rank higher on Google Maps, you have to ensure that your web presence is optimised for your local audience. That web presence goes beyond your GMB listing and includes your website and external content as well.
To do that, you can get a local SEO audit (something Rockstar Marketing can provide). That way, you’ll know exactly what to optimise in your content, keyword selection process and backlinking strategy.
11. Target local keywords on your website
When creating content for your website, make sure to target local keywords, which will help you rank both on Google Maps and on regular SERPs. Specifically, you ought to target keywords that include local identifiers, such as “near me,” “best,” “in London,” etc.
Citations can only go so far when it comes to solidifying your location and boosting your ranking on Google Maps. That’s why you also need to build high-quality local backlinks. When doing so, here’s what you need to focus on:
- Make sure the links are placed contextually
- The content must be of high quality, preferably good guest posts
- The websites you pick have to be authoritative, preferably within your industry, for maximum results
We can help with local SEO
As mentioned above, local SEO isn’t that easy to get right. Worry not, though, as we can take care of it while you focus on other aspects of your business. Simply book a discovery call with us today!