Did you know that Google Maps has over 154.4 million monthly users? That’s over six times the amount of their nearest competitor Waze. So why is Google able to dominate the competition when it comes to their virtual map service?
Part of the reason is that Google Maps is tied to the company’s massively popular search engine. While this isn’t good for rival map services, it does present a unique marketing opportunity for both national and local business owners.
Google Maps marketing allows companies the opportunity to reach a clientele already actively seeking their service.
If you’re interested in how Google Maps can help improve sales for your business, then you came to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about promoting your business through Google Maps’ ranking system. Let’s get started!
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is the use of SEO and other strategies to optimize the way your business shows up on the search application. When you search ‘restaurants near me’ on Google, what is the first thing that comes up?
Typically, the search engine will show a map of your location with several selections that match your criteria. Underneath this map is a list of the most popular results, including their hours of operation, address, phone number and website information.
While you might not realize it, this search engine map platform represents a huge opportunity for increasing your brand visibility. However, whether or not any customers notice you depends mainly on where you rank in the search results.
We’ll take a look at why it’s important to rank as high as you can on the search list later. First, let’s explore how Google determines the rank of businesses on Google Maps.
How Does Google Maps Determine The Rankings For Local Businesses?
According to Google’s official help page for GMB inquiries, the company uses three factors to determine rank order: prominence, relevance, and distance.
Prominence refers to how well known the business is to local people without the help of the internet. This can include everything from famous museums and hotels, to popular brands like Outback Steakhouse and McDonald’s.
Google calculates the prominence of a business by determining the amount of information available on the web in the form of articles, links and directory listings. Positive reviews from customers also play heavily into prominence.
Relevance, on the other hand, deals with how well local listings match with someone’s search results. You can increase the likely relevance of your business by adding detailed information to your Google My Business profile.
Finally, distance calculates how far away the business is from the user searching it. If you don’t have the location of your business listed, then Google will provide a rough estimate.
Why Is It Important For Your Business To Rank High In Google Maps?
You may be asking yourself, “Why should I focus on Google? There are other search engines out there”. That may be true, but the reality is that the search engine company practically dominates the competition.
Since Google controls 92.33% of the search engine market, it simply makes the most sense for companies to focus their attention on the web service. Otherwise, you would be missing a lot of potential customers.
Google also offers tools that the other companies don’t provide, like detailed SEO information, GMB tracking data and locally targeted ads. The top three companies that show up in a search also have a much better chance of being targeted by a customer.
One study found that 76% of people who perform a ‘nearby me’ search visit a business within twenty-four hours.
As you can see, a well-maintained and promoted Google Maps marketing campaign is like a light for moths – it attracts them to you, instead of the other way around. So, now that we know the importance of Google Maps for local businesses, let’s find out how one goes about getting on the platform.
How Do I Get My Business On Google Maps?
The first thing you need to do to get your business on Google Maps is to visit the ‘Google My Business’ service.
You can find it by clicking this link here. Follow the instructions on the site and fill in the information to the best of your ability. Here is some of the information they typically ask for:
- Name of company – You can also enter a nickname if it helps your customers find you
- Business category – Google offers both primary and additional categories for keyword impression
- Hours and special schedules – Make sure you be as accurate as possible with your hours, including holiday schedules
- Business phone number – Keep in mind Google doesn’t accept 1800 or 877 numbers for spam reasons
- Website and relevant links – If your business is appointment-based, then include a link to schedule online
- Any products and services you offer – This section allows you to provide some written explanation on the categories you listed earlier.
- Highlights – Include anything that might distinguish your business from the competition (things like ‘Free Wifi’ or ‘Family-Friendly)
- Description of your business – Include keywords and your brand statement in the 750-word limit
- Photos – Put some pictures of the interior and exterior of your business
Also, and make sure that there are no duplicate sites or services already in existence. Sometimes factors like a location or brand change can cause two versions of the same business to appear.
This can make your company look less credible to potential customers, so if you notice it, fix it quickly.
How To Improve Your Businesses Rankings On Google Maps
Many new users think that popular SEO keywords are their key to bumping up to the top of the search list.
While these are a vital component, the reality is that there are a variety of factors you need to consider if you want to improve your ranking. Here are four of the most important things that you need to pay attention to.
1) Positive Reviews
We can not overstate the importance of positive reviews when it comes to optimizing your marketing presence on Google Maps.
These types of reviews provide social proof for other customers who may be skeptical about trying a new business or service. As much as we hate to admit it, people judge a book by its cover when it comes to internet reviews.
A two-star rating or lower will detract a lot of customers who otherwise might be willing to give your service a shot. If you want to increase the number of reviews for your business, we recommend letting it happen organically instead of naturally.
For example, you might try making it easier for customers to leave a review by sending newsletters, follow-up emails, and business cards with a link to the review site.
We find that these methods are a lot more effective than trying to solicit positive reviews from customers.
But what about bad reviews?
Unfortunately, people on the internet love to complain – even when they aren’t always right. As such, we recommend taking the negative review calmly and responding to it.
Apologize even if it wasn’t your fault and see if you can reach out to the individual to make it right. If you can’t, then focus on accumulating more positive reviews to outweigh the bad ones.
2) Collaborate With Nearby Businesses For Local Links
Local links are incredibly important if you want to rank high on Google Maps. So how do you go about building your local links? One way is by collaborating with other local businesses. You can do this through things known as guest posts.
Guest posts allow you to link other businesses in your articles, and vice versa. For example, if you’re a landscaping company, then you might write an article about how a well-maintained lawn can increase your home value.
This subject likely appeals to anyone in the home improvement or real estate market. So, you can reach out to local realtors and see if they want to swap local links.
This means that you include a link to their services in your articles, and they include a link to yours.
This type of situation is a win-win for both parties because it provides both parties with local links and new clientele. Start with companies you know and trust first, before moving on to cold calls.
3) Create Online Content People Want
The act of creating online content that catches people’s attention is a talent that takes a long time to develop. However, you can learn it by paying attention to what people search for. Think of the kind of things that you search on Google.
If you’re like other people, then you’re probably exploring FAQs, news articles and buying guides. People want to be honest and straightforward about the subjects they’re researching.
So apply this to your business model. For example, if you’re an air conditioning company, then make some blog articles about common problems that occur with AC units.
This will increase the traffic to your website and makes you seem like a knowledgeable authority on the subject. Another secret to making articles people want to read is a title that gets their attention.
The key is to incorporate popular SEO keywords while still making it snappy and engaging. How do you do this? Simple: check out our guide that walks you through everything you need to know”
4) Include Your Business Citations In Directories — Both In-Person and Online
Many of us associate citations with the dreaded research paper from high school and college. But, for businesses they usually refer to important contact information – things like your name, address, phone number, zip code, and website information.
Citations for business can be found all across the internet, both in-person and online. In-person directories like the Yellowpages offer a resource for people who prefer physical copies.
However, online directories like Yelp and Moz Local have also started aggregation citations. This is good for local businesses because the more citations contained in your portfolio, the more likely someone is to find you.
If you can try and focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your business. Someone is more likely to trust a relevant or well-known directory, then one they’ve never heard of before.
Should You Attempt SEO Marketing By Yourself, Or Get Professional Help?
Most newcomers to SEO marketing think they can handle an entire campaign by themselves – either in their off time or on company time. The reality is that a coordinated strategy requires time, knowledge and talent.
So unless you have weeks on free time for writing, researching and promoting, then the result will probably be poor. And if you believe it’s better to have some SEO articles compared to none, then think again.
Poor SEO can harm your business. If Google finds out that you’re flagrantly using keywords with no actual substance, then it will flag you for spam. This means that your business will no longer appear on any search results.
If you’re still not convinced that you should hire a professional, then check out all ten reasons why you should consider an SEO specialist over yourself.
Need Help Marketing Your Business With SEO? Let Riserr Help You
We hope this article demonstrated how the strategic use of Google Maps marketing can help produce real results for your company. Unfortunately, many inexperienced marketers waste a lot of time and resources on ineffective SEM campaigns.
These DIY marketers often make dry, poorly written articles that no one would want to read. Or worse, they make engaging, informative content, then fail to promote it properly.
As we mentioned in the last section, the solution is a company that has the experience and results in the search engine optimization field. But how do you find a company you can trust?
Look no further than Riserr Search Marketing agency. Our company combines technical experience with creative strategies to produce a marketing plan tailored to the needs of the company.
If you want to learn more, then you can get in touch with us through this link here.