We discussed earlier how to set up your business to show up in Google Maps when someone searches for you, but what if they don’t type in your business name specifically? If someone types in a search on Maps to find a specific service near you, you want to make sure you rank high in the search results if they are looking for what your business offers.
Google uses several ranking factors for local SEO to decide which results are displayed first, including proximity, industry categories, and more, which helps small businesses compete with large ones. To get on the coveted first page of search results, we’ll outline some strategies to improve your position in Google Maps.
To give your business some really killer local SEO and get to the top of the SERP rankings (including Maps), you’ll want to list your business everywhere. This includes having your own website, of course, as well as listings in local directories like Yelp, FourSquare and others.
This is where consistency comes into play. Because your business will be displayed in so many different places, you need to make sure that all of your information is consistent and accurate.
In particular, you should focus on NAP across all platforms. NAP refers to name, address, and phone. If your NAP is consistent, that means these three elements will be exactly the same everywhere your business is listed – exactly as a keyword, because any slight change will make Google think you listed a separate business.
Remember, search engines like Google are robots, so to Google, the SEO Jacksonville Company, the Jacksonville SEO Company, and the Jacksonville FL SEO Company are three different businesses. See how subtle the differences are? This is how you have to be consistent. ACCURATE!
Any inconsistencies will negatively impact your business, so make sure everything is accurate, everywhere, and you’re ready to move on.
Complete your profile
To improve your position in Google Maps, go back and make sure you’ve entered everything in your Google My Business profile.
This includes your company:
- Phone number
- Site URL
As we mentioned above, you need to make sure that the name you have in your Google My Business profile is exactly the same as in your other online profiles, such as Twitter and Yelp, to maintain consistency. Similarly, your address and phone number must match your current location. If your business has moved, you will need to review all of your different online profiles to make sure you update the address on each page.
You will also want to add pictures of your business and your logo so people can get to know you before they arrive. If you have pictures, it also helps people find your business when they use Google Maps to navigate because they will know what it looks like!
You should also choose an appropriate category for your business when you create your profile. You should choose a category that most specifically relates to the services your business provides, as well as a term that you think people will use when they search for your business. Avoid the temptation to use multiple categories, however, as this can simply hurt your ranking rather than help it.
Adding your hours of operation is useful to let customers know when you actually work, so it’s a good idea to make sure that if your hours change for any reason you make any updates to your profile. Finally, linking to your site is key to ensuring that traffic is directed to your site, and directly to your door.
Google My Business will ask you to verify your business when you create a profile or try to claim rights to your profile. It helps to make sure that your information is accurate and that only you, the owner, have access to your profile. Unfortunately, this process can be a bit complicated and a bit of a hassle because your verification is most often sent by mail – like a postcard through the mail.
This can take up to 5 days and you will not be able to edit your company profile during this time. To make matters worse, the postcard is often mistaken for a junk mail and thrown away.
Select companies will qualify for phone or email verification, while others may even qualify for instant verification. Google has a post outlining the different ways to verify a business profile , so take a look and see which one you qualify for and which will be most convenient.
What happens if my Google My Business profile is submitted and verified?
In this case, you will need to request access to or manage your business profile. Once again, Google has provided an article that helps describe the procedure for requesting access to your Google My Business profile , and how long it will take and how much of a hassle it will be depends on the level of access you are trying to gain . For example, processing a request for business profile ownership will take more time than management.
Reviews are a powerful ranking factor that can help your business gain visibility in Google Maps. Users can enter their reviews directly into your Google Maps business card, and other users’ reviews, as well as star ratings, will have a big impact on whether a person decides to visit your business.
Since a higher ranking and positive reviews will always ensure a better ranking, you should do everything in your power to ensure your customers have a good experience. This starts with the online user experience and includes accuracy, customer service, level of satisfaction with services provided, and more.
To get reviews and improve your ranking, you can ask your customers for them. Send requests to customers who have visited your email list and joined, made a purchase or attended an event, and ask them to leave a review describing what they think of you and your business.
You will most likely encounter negative reviews from time to time, and while they may be damaging, it is actually your reaction to them that matters more. Avoid dismissing negative reviews or harsh responses. It is much better to take the high road and calmly respond to thank them for their feedback and offer to compensate for their impressions, as well as highlight any positives available.
Featured posts is a newer feature in Google My Business that allows you to put more information about your business in the SERPs. You have several options for what you want to include in featured posts, but they should be timely and include a strong call to action to draw traffic to your business.
Featured posts appear in the sidebar if searched on a desktop computer, or display above your listing in the SERP if a person searches on a mobile device. These timely posts allow you to create specific messages with longer word counts, allowing you to add important information about any event or promotion that is currently happening at your business.
You can even add images and a link in your call to action to direct them directly to your event or sales page, etc.
Since featured posts expire every week, you should create a content calendar to publish a new featured post every week that aligns with any promotions you have. Delivering a message that speaks directly to your target customer doesn’t require much work, letting them know you’re paying attention.
You can also use featured posts to get online orders, solicit leads and contact information, offer customers freebies or access to an exclusive offer, encourage them to enter a contest, and more.
These tactics can help you boost your business to higher rankings when a person searches Google Maps for the services you provide when they are in your area. This can be a huge tool for directing people to your business, so make sure you take advantage. After all, it’s all free!