Imagine that you’re driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood, and decide you’d like to stop somewhere for a sandwich. How do you find the best local restaurant? If you’re like most of us, your answer is to use Google Maps, which has become the go-to for consumers seeking information about nearby businesses.
Google Maps has become such a central feature in the consumer experience that local businesses can no longer afford to neglect it. The question is, how can you secure higher rankings and improved visibility for your business? Here are a few tips for achieving higher Google Maps placement.
Make Sure You Have a Google Business Profile
First and foremost, you’ll need to establish a Google Business Profile. (Note: Google Business Profile was formerly known as Google My Business, or GMB.)
This Google property is an essential way of signaling to the search algorithms that you’re open for business, and it provides Google Maps with important information about your location, contact number, and hours of operation.
Setting up a Google Business Profile is free, though it will take a little bit of time to fill out all the information fields.
Share Content to Your Google Business Profile
Setting up your Google Business Profile is an important first step, but wait: You’re not finished yet.
Google’s algorithms favor businesses that are active, posting new content on a regular basis.
Make sure you log into your profile frequently to share blog posts, events, or updates on new products or promotions. Sharing photos of new products or menu items can also be helpful.
Optimize for Local, Organic Search
To boost your Google Maps visibility, you’ll also want to ensure that your entire Web presence is optimized for local audiences. This includes your website as well as any external content.
There are a number of ways to optimize your online assets, but some of our top recommendations include:
- Structure your website so that users can find information about your products and services in as few clicks as possible.
- Ensure that your site was designed in a way that’s mobile-friendly and responsive.
- Verify that your website loads quickly and without problems.
- Conduct a local keyword audit, ensuring you’re including the right terms in your online content.
Use Local Schema
Additionally, we recommend using local business schema.
Basically, local schema is code that you include in your website, making it easier for Google’s algorithms to crawl your website, index it, and determine when to show it in search results.
Note that local schema will include many of the same details that are offered in your Google Business Profile. It’s important to be consistent here, as Google will cross-reference your schema with your Business Profile information in order to validate the authenticity of your business.
Put a Map on Your Contact Page
It's good practice for businesses to include a Contact page on their website, listing their phone number, physical address, and perhaps a contact form.
Also be sure you embed a Google Map, making it easy for users to seek directions to your brick-and-mortar location. While Google hasn’t explicitly stated that this helps with rankings, it’s not a big stretch to say that including a map will improve the user experience.
Seek Reviews from Your Customers
Google’s algorithms tend to reward businesses that accumulate a lot of user reviews. These reviews signal that people are engaging with your business, and that your products and services are worth highlighting in the Google Maps results.
We recommend using a review management platform, like BirdEye, which we’re pleased to offer to our clients here at enCOMPASS.
Update Local Listings
It’s really important to have listings and citations in local directories. Again, this is something we can help with: Ask us about our approach to citation services here at enCOMPASS.
For each listing, you’ll want to list your NAP information (that’s your business name, address, and phone number). It’s vital that you list your NAP information consistently across all online properties, including your website, directory listings, social media profiles, and your Google Business Profile.
The significance of backlinks is sometimes overstated. Nevertheless, it helps your online visibility when you signal to Google that you’re well-connected within your community or your industry. Earning backlinks from partners, vendors, or organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce can be a helpful way to bolster your Google Maps visibility.
Partner with a Digital Agency
Ultimately, the best way to achieve higher search engine rankings is to take a comprehensive approach to digital marketing, one that includes website design and optimization, SEO, paid ads, citations, review management, and more.
That’s something we can provide here at enCOMPASS Agency. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of developing a holistic digital strategy, reach out to us any time.
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