Why a good ranking on Google Maps is so important to your small business.

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Your Google Maps listing is a really useful marketing tool for your small local business. It can help you get found online by new customers and stand out above your competitors all for free! However, these benefits are only really attainable if your listing is highly visible and just remember just because you have set up a listing it does not mean the Google is guaranteed to show it. In this blog I will walk you through some simple steps you can make to help rank higher on Google Maps.

With consumers rarely looking past the first few results, it is crucial to make sure your Google Maps listing is optimized to show up first for relevant searches. Plus, if that does not convince you, then bear in mind that ranking higher on Google Maps typically means ranking on the first page of Google Search as well.

Getting started

Step 1) (and this may seem an obvious one) Add your business to Google Maps.

You can do this by manually adding your business and then claiming that business listing. This is because when you create your listing, all you can provide is the name, category, and location; but when you claim your listing, you can provide many more details about your small local business, and the more information a business listing contains, the higher it will rank.

Good start, so now that you have a Google Maps business listing and a Google My Business account linked to it, you are all set to get it higher ranking in local search results.

You can sign up to add your business to Google Maps here https://www.google.com/business/

Ok I am listed but how do I get it to rank higher?

Google Maps ranks businesses it can trust, and one measure of your trustworthiness is the consistency of information about your business across the internet.

Here are some of the tricks you can apply to help to boost your listing and build trust with Google and rank higher on maps.

  1. Use a local telephone number with the area code of your location it tells both Google and people viewing your listing that you are in that local area. If you work away from an office consider buying a local number which redirects to your mobile.
  2. Make sure you use the most relevant business category on your listing. If other categories apply use them as subcategories.
  3. Keep your hours updated so people know when your business is open and when it is closed.
  4. Add photos to your listing.  If you do not add photos Google will just display a generic listing for your business so add images of your products and services. Google also has clever image recognition technology which will help you to be found in local search.
  5. Fill in a description for your business. Make sure you use keywords that relate to your business in your description.
  6. Get Google reviews. Knowing that Google loves what customers love, it is not a surprise that Google Maps gives ranking favour to business listings with positive reviews. Be proactive in asking for reviews and when you receive them make sure you respond to them. People are often afraid to ask for reviews for fear of receiving negative reviews. Obviously if you have an unhappy customer, I would not advise asking them for a review but if your do receive a negative review you can demonstrate to potential new customer how responsive you are to customers and how well you resolve issues.

7. Post regularly to your Google business listing. Like Facebook and other social platforms, you can publish posts that appear right on your Google Maps business listing. Regularly posting like this tells Google that you proactively manage your listing, which it considers when ranking.

Bear in mind that when consumers are on search engines, they have high intent, so through Google posts, you can get your offers in front of a captive audience.

Here is how your posts will be displayed on Google.

A couple more tricks you can try…

  • Add local keywords to your website.

You should be doing this already for your local SEO, but this also works for Google Maps. Make sure to include location-based keywords to the main pages of your site and even blog posts. For example, I would use ‘small business marketing in Berkshire’ or ‘small business marketing Reading’ as keywords on my website and in my blogs (did you spot what I just did there!)

  • Embed a Google map on your website.

Another clever trick to rank higher on Google Maps is to embed a Google map on your website, which most businesses do on the contact page but there is no hard and fast rule as to where it should go. Embedding a Google map on your website is another way of telling Google that your business is located where your listing says it is. Use the same address that you have on your Google Maps business listing.

Here is an example on my website Petite Digital

And if all of this sounds too much like hard work get in touch to discuss Local SEO packages today.

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