A lot of small business owners have not yet caught on to the importance of Google Maps. You may think your business location automatically comes up on the Google map of your area, and it does but taking some extra steps can make Google Maps work more efficiently for you.
And it’s worth taking those steps. Because if you don’t create and add your business to a Google Maps listing, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to market your business and improve your ranking on Google—especially if yours is a local business dependent on gaining profit by driving foot traffic through your door.
Your Website Alone Won’t Do
You’ve no doubt been told that having a website is essential these days but that’s not enough. In fact, if you are a local business, you will rank higher via Google Maps than you will with your website. This is true when people search for your business’s name, and the services and products your business offers.
Nine times out of 10 people searching for a product or service are on their mobile phone and your Google Maps listing is the place they start their search.
If you’ve populated your Google Maps listing with all the relevant search information, they may well be ready to head on over and walk through your door. If they’re still not sold and want to learn more about your business, they can then click on your website for more information from your Google Map listing.
Want to maximize your ranking and SEO when people search your business type? Make the most of Google Maps by keeping these 7 pointers in mind.
Set Up a Google Business Profile, the new name for your Google My Business (GMB) Account
Your Google Business Profile is an online business directory. It was once called Google My Business, but that app is no longer available on mobile. Now your Google Business Profile is a subset of Google Maps. You are responsible for creating and maintaining your Business listing, which helps you show up in relevant searches and can be kept up to date via Google Maps. Even if you don’t have a listing, your business will show up in Maps, but detailed information relevant to search (e.g., address, phone, and customer reviews) will not be provided.
Claim Your Listing/Business.
If your business is not listed in a Google Business Profile, your business location will show on a Google Map with the words “Claim This Business” or “Own This Business.” It’s imperative that you claim your listing and verify it. Because when you claim your listing, you are able to provide more details about your business to existing and prospective customers. That improves your ranking and your visibility and attracts more buyers.
Provide All Basic, but Important, Business Information.
List information relevant to your prospects’ Google searches and includes:
- Address and Phone Number
- Business Hours, including whether you’re open on holidays.
- Delivery Services
- Parking Accessibility
- ADA access entrance
- Website link
- All services – Itemizing every service your offer is important and often easy to overlook. For example, if you own a physical therapy business, you likely offer therapy for people recovering from orthopedic surgery as well as sports medicine services for athletes who are injured. Be sure to specify each of those services.
Use Multiple Business Category Labels, if Applicable, in Your Google Business Profile.
The same robust information will accompany your Google Maps listing. Google gives you this profile option, allowing more than 1 category and offering sub-category listings. Using this option enables you to attract more customers, plus it affects Google algorithms, enables improved SEO optimization, and potentially enhances ranking.
Add Relevant Photos and ALT Tags That Describe the Photos.
Showcase photos: workers at their jobs, completing projects; service or delivery trucks showcasing the company name. Specific photos such as this improve your online presence.
Using your phone for photos with your location on will automatically add a geotag and adding ALT Tags that describe the photos with specificity is an optimization that uses these tags as added keywords. Keyword activation such as this increases ranking.
Encourage Customers to Provide Positive and Descriptive Reviews…and Answer Them.
Positive reviews that are descriptive are best. Encourage satisfied customers to explain what you did for them and how that helped. And respond with gratitude and description in which you explain more of what you did. When Google assesses your website and sees those reviews, Google perceives your business as demonstrating Expertise, Authority, and Trust, and gives your business a ranking bump up.
Keep on Top of How Your High-Ranking Competitors Show Up on Google.
Businesses that fulfill Google’s relevance in search requirements are rewarded by Google with rank in the top spot—or top 3—on Google’s coveted first search results page. Learn from businesses who rank this high in the breadth of information they’re providing, how they’re labeling themselves, and in the pictures that accompany their listings among other attributes. You may even uncover keywords you’d not even thought of.
Create a Google Map on Your Website
Google Maps can be a great addition to your website. Having a map on your website makes it easy for visitors to find your business as your business location, physical address, directions, and phone number are displayed on your website with the Google Map. This creates a great marketing advantage for your business. Studies show that 1/3 of all local searches made on mobile are related to location, making Google Maps a critical driver of mobile traffic to your business.
What’s more, the reviews and customer feedback that are also included provide the credibility that can influence buying decisions. Most searches made from phones head quickly to Reviews. Reviews can sway a user to choose your business over a competitor’s.
One important point: Follow Google’s directions and embed your map correctly.
Always a Helping Hand
It takes a lot of strategy and execution to rank high and well on Google—and for a local business that also means ranking high on Google Maps.
Knowing the ropes can help avoid pitfalls and get you on the fast track to better search results and rankings.
At Ballantine, we know the ropes. If you want to save learning curve time and bring more traffic through your door, partnering with an agency may be an option.
We’re always happy to chat about the importance of Google Maps and other key ranking factors.
Call us and explore the possibilities.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!