How Can Google Maps Help Improve Your SEO?
There is no navigation app that matches Google Maps in terms of usage and market share. Google also has the Search market effectively covered, and integrating both platforms has eased navigation for billions of internet users.
But besides navigation, Google users also use information from Maps to find businesses in their locales offering the product or service that they need. This has made Google Maps not just a navigation instrument, but a powerful marketing platform. More so, information from Google Maps reflects in Google Search results.
With Google Maps Marketing, the goal is to optimize the online presence of a business or brand for more visibility through web traffic. Google Maps Marketing enables you to gain traffic through local searches. But to rank on Google Maps, you first have to make your business identifiable. You do this by creating and optimizing your Google My Business listing.
Create a profile
First, you want to check if your business has a listing already. Google adds business listings automatically; besides, anyone anywhere in the world can create a listing, but that doesn’t automatically make them recognized as the owner of the business.
If you find a listing for your business in Google Maps, the next step is to claim ownership of it and add the missing information. And if you don’t, simply create a new listing, and fill your profile details.
Enter your business details
It is important that you don’t leave any information out. The more complete your business details are, the higher your ranking chances.
- Your business description is the perfect opportunity to make a great first impression. Make sure it covers the most important details of your business.
- Location information. Use a real physical address. This is important for verification later. Also, specify the areas you serve; distance is an important ranking factor for ranking on Google Maps.
- Consistent information. Trust is an important factor for Google. And you can secure this by making your information consistent across the board. Not just on Google My Business, but on local directories such as Yelp, and so on.
- Use accurate information. This is also a trust signal for Google. For instance, updating your opening hours proves to Google that yours is an active business.
- Add high-quality images and videos. Many people would judge the professionalism of your company from its visual outlook. Poor resolution or badly taken images and videos are a huge minus.
- Check all the categories relevant to your business. This enables the Google algorithm to match your business to relevant queries, thereby boosting your ranking chances.
Verify business information
Verification is the final important lap of creating a solid Google My Business Profile. Usually, this takes place when Google mails you a postcard containing verification details. This is sent to the address you have previously entered. Hence, why you need to keep your information accurate. However, sometimes, Google permits verification via phone or email, especially when someone claims an existing listing.
There are three principal factors Google considers to determine local rankings:
- Relevance: this refers to the relatedness of a query to the available local listings.
- Distance: local searchers are looking to patronize businesses around them. It only makes sense that proximity is an important factor.
- Prominence: big-name businesses and brands have a far greater chance of ranking highly. This is one area where small businesses are particularly disadvantaged.
Therefore, what steps must you take to boost the rank and authority of your business listing?
- Regularly post on your listing page. For many business owners, once they have supplied the necessary information and verified their business, that is all. But if you want to rank higher you have to do more by regularly posting to your page. You can use this opportunity to promote special offers, announce coming events, advertise new products and services, etc. Likewise, an active page is a good sign to the Google algorithm.
- Embed a Google Map on your website. Having a Google map on your website makes it easy for prospects to find you. Besides, it also proves your authenticity to Google’s ranking algorithm. When you click ‘share’ on your business listing page, you would see an option to embed a map on a webpage.
- Google My Business Review. To boost your ranking, you have to acquire positive reviews. If you are just starting a small business, encourage and even incentivize customers to leave positive reviews for your business on your Google My Business Page. For your reviews to appear in Google Maps, you need to have at least five.
- Citations. Google considers information from across the web to determine a listing’s rank. Ranking on Google Maps does not end with Google My Business optimization. You have to get your business mentioned across the web. This means entering your business information on relevant local directories, writing locally-optimized articles, optimizing your social media accounts, etc.
As you probably already know, there is no easy aspect of SEO. It requires patience and continuous efforts. Therefore, don’t rest on your oars after optimizing your Google My Business page. Keep finding ways to improve and take advantage of new features as they come out.