Add information to your Google Maps business listing.
Now that you have a Google Maps business listing and a Google My Business account linked to it, you are armed and ready to optimize it for a higher ranking in local search results. But, first, log in to your Google My Business account to add more information to your listing. Here you will see a dashboard with several tabs down the side.
Select the “Info” tab, including your name, category, address, service area (if applicable), hours, special hours, phone number, website, products, services, attributes, and description. Here are some tips for optimizing these Google My Business account sections for higher ranking on Google Maps: The article optimizing GMB is a great start.
Be consistent with your business name and address.
Google Maps ranks businesses it can trust, and one measure of your trustworthiness is the consistency of information about your business across the web. For example, say you have a “North Shore Wellness Center business.” First, ensure your business name (creative business name ideas here!) in your Google My Business dashboard is precise and not a slight variation, such as N. Shore Wellness Center or North Shore Wellness Ctr. Also, ensure this name is identical to your other online properties—your website, Yelp listing, Facebook profile, and more. The same goes for address information (for example, using “St” vs. Street”).
Use a local phone number.
Google isn’t keen on toll-free (800 and 877) numbers because these types of numbers are frequently used for spam. So instead, use a local telephone number with the area code of your location. This will help you rank higher in Google Maps and verify that your business is located in that area for searchers.
Include your tracked and main number
If you use call tracking, use a tracked number for your primary business phone number and your main number as your secondary number. This will get most of your calls through the tracked line so you can see the efficacy of your listing, but with the main number still in your listing, Google can then match your number with the one on your website and other listings.
Keep your hours updated.
Google Maps business listings tell users if that business is opening, closing, or closing soon. (And during the pandemic, whether it’s temporarily closed, making it a vital notification.) Keeping these hours updated signals to Google that you are active and trustworthy and will help with your Rank. It will also prevent customers from making the trip to your store only to find that it’s closed or closing—which can sometimes spark a negative review (which hurts your ranking on Google Maps).
Please also update your holiday hours so you don’t get 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 and unique attributes to compel searchers. It should also be written in a tone that aligns with your brand to help establish a better connection. Finally, include keywords in your description, as this will help your business listing on Google Maps rank not just for searches that contain your business name but for searches for products and services.
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 types apply, choose them as secondary categories.
Choose primary and additional categories through your Google My Business dashboard to rank higher in Google Maps.
Remember that you cannot add custom categories. Still, if you begin typing your primary offering into the box, you’ll see a drop-down menu of possible categories to add.
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, Google is starting to show images in local search results. And third, the SEO rule of thumb is that Google loves what consumers love, and consumers love photos. Plus, if you don’t add pictures 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 images.
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 clicking on the blue circle with a white plus sign. You’ll be able to drag and drop several photos and/or videos simultaneously. Ideally, it would help if you strived to add at least one new photo daily.
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 reviews? 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. In addition, your responses show other prospects how attentive you are to customers and how well you resolve issues.
Reviews can be scary, but bad reviews tend to be few and far between unless your service is truly atrocious. Plus, as long as you respond correctly, you can mitigate and even reverse the damage of a negative review.
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 redundant information to ensure your one accurate listing will rank.
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 that you can get your offers in front of a ready-to-engage audience through Google posts.
Create posts in your Google My Business dashboard to appear on your business listing and 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 a higher Google Maps ranking.
Make sure your website is responsive.
The first is ensuring your website is responsive and functions consistently across any device or screen size. This is because Google Maps business listings contain links to your website, and nearly 60% of Google searches are on mobile devices. So if your listing takes searchers to a website that requires pinching and zooming, has broken links, or is slow to load, your Google Maps ranking will suffer.
Add local keywords to your website.
The second way to use your website to boost your Google Maps ranking is to target it for local search. Of course, this will help your website rank higher in Google Search, but it may also influence your Google Maps business listing ranks. So be sure to incorporate location-based keywords to the main pages of your site, such as the homepage, about us page, contact us page, products and services page, and even blog posts—and not just to the title of the pages, but also to the headings, body text, image tags, captions, and URLs.
Emphasizing to Google through your website that you are prominent in your local area can help Google feel more confident in ranking your business listing on Google Maps for that area.
Embed a Google map on your website
Another way to rank higher on Google Maps is to embed a Google map on your website, which most businesses do on the contact us page. Embedding a Google map 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.
To embed a Google Map on your website, search for your business name in Google Maps. Next, click “Share” in your listing and select the “Embed a map” tab. Finally, copy and paste the link on your business’s contact page.
Recap and 13 Steps to start with:
- Claim your Business Profile
- Complete every section of your Google My Business account
- Be meticulous with contact information
- Select primary and secondary categories
- Mark off applicable attributes
- Write a complete “from the business” description
- Publish Google posts weekly
- Upload new photos weekly
- Answer questions
- Collect and respond to reviews
- Add your products and services
- Set up messaging
- Maintain your Business Profile
With these optimizations, you can turn your Business Profile into the best free customer acquisition tool you didn’t know you had. So let’s get into it.