Google Maps is a great tool that can be used to help new local customers find your business. Setting up your company on the platform is easy and it can help you generate more enquiries and conversions. But in order to get the most from your Google Maps listing you have optimise the information to ensure Google recognises its locality and ranks it accordingly. Below we explain how to start ranking on Google Maps, giving you a step-by-step guide on where to start and what to include in your listing.
Why should I use Google Map’s for my business?
With over one billion people using Google Maps every month it offers a fantastic way to increase the exposure of your business to new customers. Similar to standard search engines, most people will only look at the first few results on the page, so it’s important that you claim your business on Google Maps and optimise your profile.
More often than not consumers will discover your business on Google Maps rather than search for it directly. That means you should optimise your listing to capture both those who looking for a product or service like yours and consumers who are looking to find your business.
Your Google Maps information isn’t only relevant to the Maps section of the search engine or the app. When you perform searches for particular services Google’s main search results will also display three local businesses that are relevant to the terms entered. This is known as the ‘Local SEO 3-Pack’ and appearing here significantly increases the visibility of your brand.
How do I get my business on Google Maps?
There are many benefits of adding your business to Google Maps and setting things up is relatively straightforward:
Add your company to Google Map’s listing
The first thing to do is go to Google.com/maps and search for your business name. Head to Google Maps on your desktop or use the app and carry out a search to see if your business is already listed.
If it’s already there with a location attached you can move on and look at the next step below. If not, add your business in the section of the drop down menu called “Add a missing place”. Your business may already be on Google Maps because anyone can add the details, although as we explain below you will be able to claim the listing as your own.
Claim your business listing
Although anyone can add a business to Google Maps, there are limitations on the details they can provide. However, once you claim the listing as the owner you will be able to add much more information to support your search rankings.
(Here’s a post we wrote a while back all about Google My Business)
The first place to start is to open a Google My Business (GMB) account if you do not already have one. Once logged in go to “Claim This Business” and follow the prompts from there. Even if someone has created your business listing already you can still claim it by providing the right details in the “Claim this Business” or “Own this business” section.
To improve local search results you should add as much information about your business as possible, as the more you add, the better chance you have at improving your local rankings. This includes things such as address, website, products/services and description. Use the “Info” tab on the left-hand side of your GMB account to enter the information. Google rewards consistency so ensure the details in your business account match the information you add here. Use a local phone number for your company (toll-free numbers aren’t favoured by Google) and be sure to keep your opening hours up to date.
Upload photos of your business
Images will help your listing rank well and it will also help new customers get a better idea of who you are. Photos give customers an instant idea of your store and it adds more personality and character beyond the cold facts of the services or products you sell. This is especially true for cafés, restaurants and bars, as before making a decision about spending money with you, they want to know whether or not they will feel comfortable to eat and drink there. Plus, Google loves what consumers love, which makes images very important for ranking purposes. Upload high quality photos of the inside and front of your store that tell people what your business is about.
Generate some Google reviews
Google is also a big fan of reviews. The more you can generate, the greater visibility you’ll enjoy. Once your listing is created customers can start leaving reviews. They will boost SEO because Google responds to the things customers like. Reviews may not come automatically but you can always encourage customers to leave them to show support to the business. It’s also important to respond to reviews, especially from customers who had a negative experience. This can help protect your overall star-rating and also show other people that you take customer service seriously.
Ensure there are no duplicates
If there are multiple addresses and phone numbers for a single location business Google could discredit your listing. Take a look to ensure there are no duplicates and that all the information is correct.
Regularly update listing information
It’s a good idea to add new posts to your listing as Google will take this into consideration when assessing rankings as they respond well to businesses that engage with their account. One a more basic level, Google posts can also attract new customers and give you the edge over your competition. The posts are not simply used for ranking purposes, but also to inform and engage with consumers. They are a great way to promote events, special offers and to focus on particular services or products, while also making you look more professional.
Check your business website
Most Google searches take place on mobile devices so you should ensure your website is responsive (read our guide on top tips for mobile indexing). Being responsive means it can change size to properly display your site on any screen size or device. This is important because searches take place on a variety of mobile devices, all of which have different sized screens. If your website isn’t responsive and the information isn’t displayed correctly it can be easy to lose new customers within a matter of seconds. In terms of SEO mechanics, slow loading websites, or sites that require customers to resize themselves, can also negatively affect your rankings.
Include some local keywords
To help you improve local ranking results in Google Maps it’s a good idea to add local keywords to your website’s home, about us, products/services and contact pages. Not just the body of text but also the URLs, headings, image tags and captions. This will have the double effect of boosting your website rankings for natural searches on Google and could also help your local Google Maps rankings.
Add Google Maps to your site
Adding Google Maps to the contact us page on your website can also help rankings. As long as the address on your contact us page is the same this will also help improve your local rankings. Doing this confirms to Google that your business is located at the address you have added to your GMB account. You can do this by finding your business on Google Maps, clicking on “Share” and the “Embed a map” tab which can then be copied and pasted onto the contact page of your website.