10 Key Steps to better ratings in Google Maps

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Are you looking for a place to have lunch in an unfamiliar neighborhood, or do you need a mechanic to help you with an unexpected tire flat.

where are you looking

If you have responded to Google Maps, you are not alone.

These days, many of us turn to Google Maps to discover local businesses and make more informed purchasing decisions.

So how can local businesses rank higher in a place where consumers are increasingly willing to buy local products and services?

Here are ten steps you need to take to rank well, increase traffic, and secure more customers through Google Maps.

1. Request and complete a Google business profile

The first, key step in establishing visibility in Google Maps is request and optimize your Google business profile (GBP – formerly known as Google My Business or GMB).

You can do this by simply searching for your business name on Google or Google Maps and checking your listing if you haven’t already.

Once you have the list and are signed in to your Google Account, you can now edit it, even directly in the search results.

Screenshot from Google Business Profile, June 2022

Because it is owned by Google, GBP provides Google with a primary signal of the existence of your business – and the information is assumed to be accurate and up-to-date.

Google will associate these details with those found on your site and other local directories and resources; more about the significance of these at the moment.

2. Post related content (including photos)

When you requested your listing in GBP, your work was only partially done.

Google rewards active businesses with more visibility on Google Maps, so it’s important that you regularly post updates to your GBP profile.

These updates may and should include special offers, organized events, links to relevant blog posts, or general business updates.

Post photos to Google's business profileScreenshot from Google Business Profile, June 2022

Where possible, we also recommend including photos in your updates, as visual elements are more likely to increase viewer participation in terms of shares or clicks.

You should also include links in your posts, ideally to the primary pages of products or services on your site.

3. Optimize your online presence for local organic search

To rank well in Google Maps, you need to ensure that your online presence, including your site and external content, is optimized for your local audience.

You can start by performing a local SEO audit to figure out where you need to focus your attention in terms of keyword, content, and linking – as these are the three main components on which a presence is built.

Your site needs to be properly structured to make it easy for Google to search and index content, and the content on your site needs to be rich with relevant, locally targeted, purpose-targeted keywords, and logical internal and external links to your audience responses. looking for.

Google rewards sites that lead search engines to answers in as few clicks as possible.

Websites also need to load quickly and provide seamless navigation, regardless of device.

This is especially important locally as searchers increasingly start their search on their phones.

4. Use a local business scheme

When it comes to structuring content and especially business details, Google and other search engines prefer to give standardization – which led to the development of the scheme.

Local scheme It allows companies to wrap code around their content to make it easier for Google to search for content and index it.

The local business scheme covers many of the same business details covered in Google’s business profile, which Google will of course cross-reference.

The easier Google checks your location, the more likely your business is to be visible on Google Maps.

5. Embed Google Map on your contact page

While it’s not explicitly stated that embedding Google Map into your site will affect your ranking in Google Maps, it’s no exaggeration to assume that this is Google’s preferred format.

Here, too, Google can provide its searchers with a consistent user experience, which should also be the goal of any business looking to satisfy its customers.

6. Mine and watch your grades

Any business can create a GBP list, ensure that its basic business information is updated, and publish a lot of relevant local content.

However, another critical factor in determining whether and where a local business appears on Google Maps customer reviews.

Opinions in Google's business profileScreenshot from Google Business Profile, June 2022

Google pays close attention to how many reviews your business gets and how active it is in responding to those ratings, whether positive or negative.

Every company, of course, wants to limit the number of negative ratings it receives and all negative assessments need to be addressed quickly.

This can actually become a valuable way to show your company’s commitment to customer service.

While there are many places where customers can leave ratings online, including Facebook, Yelp, and other industry-specific review sites, ratings on GBP profiles will carry more weight when it comes to ranking on Google Maps.

Consider proactively asking your customers for ratings soon after you have successfully delivered a product or service, when a positive experience is probably most important to their customers.

Services are available to help automate review requests (via email or text) when certain customer actions on or off the network are completed (e.g., meeting done, bill paid, etc.) and manage reviews in multiple resources through a central control panels.

Automation can save busy local businesses a lot of time and ensure a regular influx of positive ratings.

7. Update your local lists / listings with your NAP

The three most important pieces of direction information on your GBP, on the website and online are yours Name, address and telephone number or NAP.

It is crucial for both Google and your audience to have your NAP consistent and accurate in all of these resources.

These references to your business from third party websites are also called quotes.

To find and ensure that your NAP is up-to-date, you can start by simply searching for your company name and recording all the places where information about your company can be found.

Check each instance and contact each directory or website owner to update this important contact information as needed.

There are also free and paid automated local listing services that will allow you to identify and update your NAP from one central location, along with other important business information such as your website URL, services, or even relevant images.

8. Build local backlinks

Backlinks or inbound links are actually an extension of our NAP strategy, where you want to have relevant, local third-party sites linked to your primary websites.

Backlinks can confirm your business from both a local and product / service perspective.

If you maintain link lists in local directories, you’ll want to ensure that these ads are in the appropriate categories if category options are available.

Ideally, these links to your site are “tracking” links, which means that Google will track and identify the source of the link to your content.

Most directories are aware of the value of “tracking” links and therefore charge for inclusion, but you should also look for opportunities to protect links from other unpaid sources, such as relevant partner, industry, or service organization websites.

9. Work with your community

Just as Google rewards activity in GBP, it also pays attention to how active a company is in its community as a means of building local presence and authority.

Businesses that have been found to work with local service organizations (e.g., chambers of commerce, charities, or sports groups), sponsor local events, or work with other reputable local businesses are, of course, considered a successful part of the community.

Participation may include the publication and / or promotion of related content, e.g. event notifications, partner sites associated with these partner organizations, and of course physical participation and perhaps mentioning / linking in local news or other publications.

10. Pay attention to the SERP and the long tail

If you’re optimizing any aspect of your local online presence, you’ll want to track your progress based on whether and where you rank on Google Maps and on regular search engine results pages (SERPs) based on the keywords you’re hoping for. to be found.

You can perform your own manual searches on Google (preferably in incognito mode and when you’re not signed in to a Google Account), or you can choose from a number of ranking tracking tools, many of which allow you to specifically filter rankings on the map.

When thinking about which keywords to follow, remember to consider and include local identifiers and qualified keywords such as “near”, “best” and “affordable” – e.g. “Bodywork workshops near me”, “the best bodywork workshop in Barrie” or “affordable bodywork”.

Phrases with three, four, and five keywords like these are considered long tail, which means they may not have a significant local search volume – but these volumes can add up, and any local business is advised to focus on current groups. related keywords than chasing more competitive phrases.

If you have really established the local authority of your business over time, short scales at the top will follow.

Put your business on Google Map

Now, with your laundry list in hand, be like Mike and put your local business on the map.

Building your authority and online expertise isn’t really that different from how it’s always been in the real world, but it can take as long as any real relationship should.

Google rewards those companies that provide the best answers to their customers ’questions, provide solid products and services, take an active role in their local community, have customers say nice things about them, and always provide a high level of customer service. .

If this describes your business, go out and do it.

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Selected image: BestForBest / Shutterstock

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