Having solid Google Maps Rankings is increasingly important as the placement of 7 or 10 results from Google Maps has become the mainstay for local search engines searches. Just 6 months ago, Google Maps placements were still not consistent for local search results but obviously times have changed and your need to be placed within the top results has become critical for any business.
So How Do You Achieve Higher Placements in Google Maps?
The algorithmic function of Google Local has become much more sophisticated and the days of making a few simple modifications to rank on Google Maps, like manipulating the title of your listing with your core key phrase; appear are over. So like traditional website SEO, it involves a focused effort focused on the user experience.
Below are a few critical factors to achieve higher placements in Google Maps Rankings that we have found to be effective with our own clients. Although we have not found that there is one component statistically significant enough to make an impact, focusing on all factors does seem to improve your Google Maps Rankings. Employing these best practices for Google Maps rankings is easy and for some non-competitive areas should be all you need.
Claim Your Business Listing Both Figuratively and Literally: Step 1
What do we mean by this? Well, to make changes to your current local business listing and optimize the text you need to first claim the listing as a business owner. You can claim your business listing by searching for your business on Google maps and clicking the “edit” or “claim your business listing” link and then follow the simple instructions.
Equally important is for you to start taking ownership of your listing and view it’s importance. To “Claim” ownership you have to think of this listing as another page on your website. It needs to be updated regularly and get the same amount of attention as you would the home page of your website. If you think of the importance of this listing in this respect, many of the tips and tricks below will happen naturally.
Google Maps Rankings Improvements with On Page Optimization: Step 2
Now that you have claimed your local maps listing, you need to strategically focus the profile text in order to improve your Google Maps Rankings. We have identified over 10 factors that can effect the positioning of Google Maps placements but unfortunately there is no clear cut formula, just a guidance of best practices that you should follow.
At the center of your on page text optimization should always be the user. Remember, Google wants to provide it’s users with the best results set possible, so take your time to write the most compelling text possible to sell your services and don’t try to mislead any user by stuffing keywords.
That being said, here are the most important local search ranking factors that you should try to focus on:
- Service in Title Of Listing – Include the product or service that you are selling in the title and make it a sales focused statement.
- Neighborhood in Title - It is not necessary to include the broad location, but it is important to still include a neighborhood location in the title. Google maps often associates neighboorshood terms as locations which can be very relevant to your listing if properly optimized.
- Description Of Listing - You must put your product and service keywords in your local business description. Spend the additional time needed to get this description working for you. It helps to update this description over time and avoid a static description that does not sell.
- Photos & Videos - Content in these areas is important and increasingly so. A more complete listing should get more relevance in Google, right? Think about the user experience in this regard and leverage any good assets you have in these areas. If it is relevant, label the file names with the core key phrases as you would in traditional SEO but don’t stress over getting them included.
- Location Of Listing - For businesses that have multiple locations, try to pick the location closest to the city center for your main location optimization. Often having a listing closer to the city center can improve your Google Maps Rankings, but it is becoming less important.
- Contact Info – Use your local area code exchange and avoid using an 800# as your primary contact which can have a negative effect on your Google maps placement.
Improve Google Maps Rankings with Off Page Optimization: Step 3
Now that your profile is complete, it is time to address the off page or off profile factors for Google Maps Ranking optimization. Off page factors include the references to your profile listing that Google displays when you are viewing your profile.
It is critically important to pay attention to what is shown not only to improve your Google Maps Rankings but to make sure your profile sells. Having no reviews would not make you as marketable as another company with 3 positive user experiences, right?
Here are some of the important factors that can help improve Google Maps Rankings.
- User Reviews - Make sure that you have user generated reviews on the top source providers like Citysearch, Insiderpages and Judysbook to name a few. Get a variety of sites providing the reviews and make sure they are real with content. Try to encourage your customers to make real reviews and avoid generating fake reviews…potential customers can always tell so what is the point.
- Web Pages – Get all your local listings established. It is not the quantity of pages that is indexed but the quality and relevance to your local market. Find niche local directories in your area and get the main online yellow pages and business directories like established. It is better to customize all your local business directory descriptions then to place them through an online service.
- Web Pages for Credibility - Sites like bbb.org and local chambers of commerce help to legitimize your business. Make sure that some of your web pages indexed include these valuable sources.
Higher Google Maps Ranking Needs Ongoing Support
Following these steps can get you the Google Maps Rankings you are looking for it is not a stagnant process. Google will be changing their results pages and adding new components to their profiles so you have to keep up. It is rumored that they will start indexing these profiles in their own natural results set outside of the 7 or 10 pack results, but right now it is only a rumor.
We would love to hear your thoughts?