You may be aware of the importance of search engines for marketing. Google, the world’s most popular search engine, has a few different services that can also be thought of as types of search engines. Examples of these are YouTube, Google Shopping, Google Maps and more. In this blog post, we are just focusing on Google Maps. Just like other search engines, it’s important to rank well on Google Maps. We are going to cover why it’s so important and how to improve your Google Map rankings.
Why is Google Maps Important?
Having good Google Map rankings is much more important than you may think. You can think of it as another search engine, but just for physical locations. On Google’s main search engine, many different websites will show up in search results. With Google Maps, only places that are near the searcher will show up. There is sometimes an exception to that rule, but it’s usually true. Considering how defined the search results are on Google Maps, if properly utilized, it can be a very handy marketing tool.
Google Maps is all about making people aware of your business and where it is located. When someone needs to find a business in your industry, you want to show up in search results. If your business is showing up in Google Maps’ search results, many more people will be able to find it.
Potentially Drive Sales
Once more people are aware of your business, you may see an increase in sales. The people who come across your listing are already in need of your products or services. When they become aware of your business through the use of Google Maps, you might see more website traffic or foot traffic to your business.
How to Create a Google Maps Listing
In order to start improving your Google Maps listing, you will need access to your listing. Depending on whether or not someone already made the listing for you, there will be different ways to access the listing settings.
Claim Your Business Listing
If you know you have not created a Google Maps listing, you need to check if one has been created for you. Customers sometimes try to help out business owners by creating a Google Maps listing for them. Simply go to Google Maps and search for your business. If you find your business’ listing was already made for you, hit “Claim this business.” You will have to then follow Google’s instructions to prove that you are in fact the business owner. Usually, Google will just mail you a code to your business and you will visit the link listed on the piece of mail. Once you have done that, you will enter the code that was sent to you and then have ownership of the listing!
You do not want to make another listing for your business and skip the claiming process. Having two listings will confuse your customers and is often times not allowed by Google. Claiming a preexisting business listing is not as challenging or time-consuming as it sounds. Google has made this process very easy on business owners.
Create Your Business Listing
If you complete a search for your business and nothing shows up, you will need to create a listing. When you type your business’ name in the search bar, the option to “Add a missing place to Google Maps” should show up. Once you type in your business’ information, you will then need to go through the claiming process. The same process that is described above applies to those who make listings. You will just get a code in the mail, type the code into Google, and you’re done!
How to Improve Your Rankings
Sometimes it can be a challenge figuring out exactly what search engines look for to improve rankings. Of course, we have a great idea of what factors benefit rankings, but not everything is laid out for business owners. Thankfully, Google has been very clear about what business owners should do to improve their Google Maps rankings. According to Google, there are a few steps that business owners must take to get started when trying to improve rankings. Here are the steps they have shared:
1. Create a Google My Business Listing
Google has a feature, called Google My Business, where it will show business listings in their normal search results. If you would like an example of this, go to the Google homepage, and search “coffee shop”. If you are near a coffee shop, you should see a Google My Business listing in your search results.
To improve your rank on Google Maps, you must create a Google My Business listing. Google has announced that having a great Google My Business listing will improve a Google Maps rankings significantly. This is completely free and takes very little time. You just need to go to the Google My Business website and select “Manage now.” This will take you to where you create and complete your business’ listing. You may have to go ahead and verify your listing, which is the same process as the Google Maps verification process.
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2. Fill Out Your Listing’s Information
Once you have created and verified your listing, you need to fill out as much information as possible. Google has said that the more information you share about your Google My Business listing, the better the Google Maps rankings will be. Here are some of the key pieces of information you should add to your listing right away:
Hours: Add your store hours to your listing so your customers know when to stop by. This is one of the most important pieces of information you can upload to your listing. Google says it’s crucial for these hours to be accurate if you want your business listing to have a better ranking. There is even a feature that allows you to add special hours for holidays or other special occasions.
Website: There are many benefits to adding your website to your Google My Business listing. This will create an extra backlink, which will help your off-site SEO efforts. You may also see more website traffic from potential customers who want additional information about your business. Including a link to your website will also make you appear more credible to potential customers and Google.
Phone Number: This is another piece of information Google greatly values. It shows credibility and also helps your customers contact you for more information.
Photos: You should upload high-quality pictures of your products, services and store to your listing. Adding these types of pictures to your Google My Business listing will attract much more attention and will make your listing more effective.
3. Get Traffic on Your Listing
If you practice social media marketing, you should announce your Google My Business listing on your business’ social media profiles. The more prominent listing is, the better Google Map rankings will become. It is also a great idea to have a sign inside of your business advertising that you have a listing. This may encourage your customers to look at your profile and leave a review.
When your customers leave good reviews and upload photos, your prominence will increase greatly. Reviews are very important to Google when they are ranking both Google My Business listings and Google Maps listings. You should manage and respond to reviews as much as possible, as Google has said this also helps rankings.
Other Factors Google Looks At
In addition to having a verified and completed Google My Business listing, Google looks at other factors when ranking Google Maps listings. According to its website, Google looks at relevancy, distance, and prominence. Let’s go into more detail of what those three things mean to Google.
This refers to how a search term relates to your business. It is very important to add a description to your listing to increase your chances of showing up in results. Be very clear about your products and services in your description. Think of the search terms customers would use to find your business, and include those words in your description.
Distance is a key factor with Google Map rankings. It’s important to remember that results are not exclusively based on proximity to the searcher, but they do matter. A more prominent business may rank higher than another even if the other is closer to the searcher. However, it is very unlikely that results from many miles away will overtake a completed and verified listing.
Google looks at the popularity of businesses, both online and offline, when ranking. It recognizes that although a business might not have a great online presence, they can still have a large offline presence. Examples of these businesses are museums, theaters, and historical landmarks. A business’ prominence is decided based on the number of backlinks that lead to the business’ website, its reviews, and normal search engine ranking. This means that it’s a great idea to practice some SEO tactics if you want to improve your business’ Google Map rankings.
When Should You Start?
If you are ready to start the process of improving your Google Maps rankings, you should start now! Google Maps is a great free way to get more business. The process may seem long and difficult, but it is actually fairly easy. The rewards will be worth the time it takes to get a high ranking.
If you have any questions about improving your Google Maps rankings, or need any help, please fill out the form below so we can contact you. We would love to set up a time to speak with you and answer your questions.
Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More