Fill out all the key information for your Google Maps business listing
Once you have a Google Maps business listing and a Google My Business account connected to it, you are set to start optimizing it for higher rankings in Google’s search engine result pages and local search results. As we previously discussed in part one of this two-part series, the more valuable information that you include in your business listing the higher it will rank and will be able to claim higher placements on search engine results pages. By logging into your Google My Business account you can update the information of your business listing. Once you have opened your account you will see a dashboard with a tabs bar, usually located on the left-hand side of the screen.
By choosing the info tab you can update and provide an array of different key information such as business name, location, hours, contact details, website, descriptions, products and services. So, let’s have a look at some of the most effective ways for optimizing your Google My Business account sections to ensure that you are ticking all the right boxes when Google’s algorithms start ranking your business listing.
Consistency is key when it comes to business name and address
Google Maps rank businesses that are trustworthy and can provide valuable and relevant content for its users. And one way that Google’s algorithms measure your brand’s reliability is through the consistency of important information that helps users understand what your business offering is and how they can contact you. For instance, let’s say you have a company called ‘South Coast Marketing Center.’ Ensure that your business name in your Google My Business dashboard is identical to the name on all your platforms across the internet – your website, social media and so on. It’s the same story when it comes to your address.
Use local phone numbers
Google does not favor toll-free phone numbers (800) due to the fact that they are notorious for being used by spammers and telemarketers and sales departments. Instead you should opt for a local telephone number that includes the area code of your business’ location. What effect will this have? This will give you the opportunity to rank higher in Google Maps, which will also reinforce and prove to users that your business is physically located in that area.
Provide both main and tracked telephone number
For businesses using call tracking, Ben Givon recommends that you use your tracked number as your primary business number and your main number as a backup number. This will funnel most of your calls through the tracked line enabling you to evaluate the effectiveness of your business listing. Nevertheless, by including the main number in your business listing, Google can link your number with the one on your site and other relevant listings.
Make sure that your working hours are always up to date
When searchers and potential customers use Google Maps business listings they usually look for when a business is open, closed or opening or closing soon. Recently Google has updated its algorithms to cover the impact of the coronavirus; with this being said if your business has been shuttered by the pandemic or is open for limited hours, you need to make sure that you update your business hours to avoid any bad reviews or customer inconvenience. Maintaining an updated stream of business information shows Google that you are active and relevant and are therefore a trustworthy source of information for users searching for terms relating to your business keywords, and for local searches. Making sure that all your information is updated will stop your target audience from making the journey to your store only to find that you are closed, which depending on the customer can lead to negative reviews which damage your Google ranking.
Create a business description
Your business description on your Google Maps business listing ought to be a projection of what your brand is all about and what you have to offer, whether it’s a service or product, to help orient and compel your target audience. Your business description should be written in a tone that fits with your brand, to help create a better match. Make sure that you add keywords in your description, as this will boost your business listing on Google Maps to rank for search terms that include the name of your brand and for searches of goods and services.
Categorize your business appropriately
When it comes to ranking you need to make sure that the category your brand appears on in Google Maps matches your business offering. You should choose a category that best suits your business offering and if there are any additional ones that may apply then you could always pick them as secondary categories.
It’s worth noting that while Google doesn’t allow you to create custom categories you can always choose from the drop-down menu of relevant categories.
Upload images to your Google Maps business listing
Google rewards businesses that upload images and photos to their business listing. The first reason is because it demonstrates that you are actively updating your information and are uploading relevant content that can lead to higher SERP placements. Secondly Google’s photo-recognition is evolving and the world’s largest search engine is beginning to display images in its local search results. And last but not least Google rewards what its users like and favor. Images also create a more professional tone and can be the difference between a potential customer choosing your brand or your competition.
To better your Google Maps business listing you should upload top-quality and relevant images that reflect your brand and your business offering. Simply click on the photos tab in the Google My Business dashboard where you can upload images as well as videos simultaneously. To get the best possible results and optimize your business listing to rank higher on Google’s search result pages you should try to upload at least 5 images a week.
What is the importance of Google reviews?
Seeing as Google likes what consumers like, it goes without saying that Google Maps prefers to rank business listings with positive customer reviews. This leads us to the next question; how do you cultivate reviews? Whenever you set up and launch a business listing on Google Maps, by default, customers and visitors can leave reviews of your business.
But just because the option is there doesn’t mean that users will start leaving reviews without you asking. Getting reviews is encouraging but you need to respond and interact with them. The way you respond to both positive and negative reviews will show customers what kind of customer service your business has and how well you can solve any potential problems that arise. Customer reviews are also a great tool for optimizing your site and business offering to make it more streamlined or user-friendly. So, don’t take it personally just use it as constructive criticism and use those reviews to improve your Google SERPs ranking.
Publish posts regularly
Like social media platforms, you can publish posts that are displayed on your Google Maps business listing. Posting on a regular basis shows Google that you are monitoring and updating your listing, which is something it takes into account when ranking businesses. Furthermore, when potential customers are browsing on search engines, they typically have high intent, which means that via your regular posts on your business listing you can reach consumers who are ready to engage with your brand.
How your website can help to increase your rank on Google Maps
Ranking higher on Google Maps isn’t just limited to improving your business listing, optimizing your business website can put you on the path to higher placements on search engine results pages.
Optimize your site speed
You need to ensure that your website is responsive, meaning that it is optimized across both desktop and mobile devices. Google Maps business listings include links to your website, and as most Google searches happen on mobile devices, your website needs to be ready for all types of devices. If your business listing redirects users to a site that takes 60 seconds to load or has broken links then your Google ranking is likely to pay the price.
Include local keywords
Another effective method to use when trying to improve your ranking on Google Maps is to add local keywords to your site in order to target for local search. This method hits two birds with one stone; in other words, it helps to boost your SEO for local searches but also for Google Maps ranking.
Google Maps business listings are getting more sophisticated let consumers get all the relevant information they are looking for when making purchasing decisions. By following these effective tips from Ben Givon, you can get your business listing to appear at the top of searches on Google Maps, leading to all the increased engagement and profits that all businesses are aiming for.