Google My Business is one of the best ways to get your business noticed. It provides your location through Google Maps and lists the essential details for potential customers.
However, while setting up a profile is easy, many businesses fail to use it effectively. Simple mistakes and omissions can be the difference between Google listing your company higher or lower in its rankings. In order to succeed online, you must understand how to rank in google maps.
For business owners, the essential question is: How do I boost my Google presence?
This guide will help explain how to rank higher on Google searches. From filling out your information correctly to staying active on your Google My Business profile, we offer ten tips and best practices to get your business ranking in the top slots on Google.
1. Claim Your Business
Your first step is to create a listing on Google Maps for your brand. All you have to do is type your business name in the search bar of Maps and click ‘Add a missing place.’
After you have added your business, you need to claim it. Claiming means linking the now-existing listing on Maps with your Google My Business account.
To claim your business, Google will need to verify you are the legitimate owner or manager. Google can verify your account by sending a postcard, calling, or emailing your establishment.
For example, before we could start our Sacramento SEO campaign, we had to claim Instinct Marketing on our Google My Business account to start to optimize our account to move up the ranking on Google Maps.
2. Fill Out Contact Information
Once you have completed this, the real optimization begins. This is the start of a very successful direct digital marketing campaign.
Ensure that you have filled out every section of your Google Business Profile: Name, Address, Phone, Website, Hours, etc. Each one is a vital piece of information that will help Google list and rank your business in searches.
Sidenote: this is where the acronym “NAP” comes from. It stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. You may have heard of terms such as NAP consistency, etc.
Accuracy is essential here. Any errors in your contact information might cause Google to think your listing is spam. So, double-check your Google Business Profile. Ensure the profile name is identical to the name in the real world and across other websites and platforms.
Your physical is an essential field as it affects your Google Maps ranking. If customers perform local searches, you need to have listed your address. That way, if they search for ‘restaurant near me,’ Google will use your address to connect your company to the user’s location.
Central to your contact section is your business hours. Customers need to know when you are open, and completing this information will boost your Google presence.
Since hours can change, such as during the holidays, your Google Business Profile should reflect those changes. Updating hours when needed adds to your engagement, which is a significant part of your visibility on Google.
Although not as impactful as they once were, online business citations can help establish your NAP presence.
Online business citations include local directories, such as your Chamber of Commerce, Yelp, Facebook, Mapquest, and any site that allows you to place your NAP details (and more) on.
As a local business, it’s recommended that you build local citations to your geographical location (to establish geo-relevance) and industry-specific website platforms.
Take ourselves, for instance. We’re a web design & digital marketing company in Northern California. We have geo-local citations, but we also get on digital marketing directories and similar sites. Our team does this to establish both geo and topical relevance.
3. Select Your Categories
When it comes to ranking higher in Google Maps, categories are one of the best ways to do so. Users don’t always know what they are searching for, so they might search for something generic like “Italian restaurant” or “convenience store near me.” The user search is where categories come in handy.
Statistics show that 84% of business searches through Google are discovery searches rather than direct searches of company names. Discovery searches usually fall into a generic category or topic.
Given how many people discover a business because it appears at the top of Google rankings, listing your business under the correct categories is crucial. It can bring in a lot of customers.
When picking your primary category, be specific. For example, include the cuisines if you are a restaurant rather than merely putting “restaurant.”
If your business overlaps with other categories, list them as secondary categories. But don’t go overboard; only list parts of your company that are unique that the primary category wouldn’t cover.
4. Choose Your Attributes
Part of what elevates your profile from generic to professional is listing attributes. Google My Business lets you add factual attributes that tell customers extra or specific services you do and don’t offer.
In part, this information is how to rank in Google Maps. Google factors in your completion of these fields when arranging search rankings.
If you are a restaurant, you could specify if customers can order delivery, take-out, or dine-in. Shops can select reservation requirements, payment options, or accessibility.
Customers also want to know what you don’t offer. An attribute can help customers know, for instance, that a hotel is non-smoking or an outdoor restaurant is not pet-friendly. Specificity can help your business avoid unnecessary customer relations issues.
Apart from the factual attributes, visitors also can create subjective attributes. Subjective attributes show how previous customers perceived your business and how potential customers might view your business.
5. Upload Photos
The internet thrives on images, and your business profile is no different. The photos must be of great quality for a business and indicate the brand and what you offer.
Google provides a useful list of different types of photos to help with your visibility.
Something few people realize is that consistently adding images can also boost your business search ranking. Google recognizes activity in its ranking system, so posting regularly will elevate your company above others.
Image activity can mean uploading photos of new products on offer or changes to the interior. Any of these works to indicate your active engagement with your Google My Business profile.
The final step is to tie the photos to other information. Geo-tagging can emphasize your link with the area where you operate. Also, captions can go a long way in linking your images with words and phrases associated with relevant Google searches.
6. Publish Posts
Just like photos, posts are all about engagement. If you have a social media page, you already know how vital consistent posting is to reaching users. Google My Business ranking is no different.
Posting not only shows customers you are active but Google’s ranking system as well.
You can strategize posts to offer special deals, update users on events, and create search-based marketing strategies. Google provides various types of posts to choose from, and using them to your advantage will boost your ranking in Google searches.
7. Generate Reviews
Another crucial step that makes your business stand out is the acquisition of Google reviews. If you want to rank higher in Google searches, you should make sure that leaving a review is as easy as possible.
Google lets you set up a link for reviews for free. It will directly guide your customers to the review section. With the review links, you can incentivize long-standing customers and engage new ones. The system lets you ask and remind customers to leave a review after their purchase. We wrote another sharing why that is very important for local restaurants to generate reviews.
You want to point out the benefits of leaving reviews for the customers themselves. Let them know that reviews make future purchasing decisions more straightforward and more transparent.
By gathering Google reviews, you can show up higher in search results. Google’s algorithm factors in account rankings as they are a significant influence on consumers’ buying decisions.
8. Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section in Google Business Profiles can be immensely helpful in attracting customers.
Make sure to regularly proof and update the questions and answers. That way, you can stay on top of any potentially false information.
The Q&A section also lets you gather information about what kinds of concerns your customers have. By upvoting them, you can make the thread more accessible to your customers. This way, you can manage the output while gaining valuable insight into the questions your customers might have.
Another possible benefit of the Q&A section is it can increase your visibility in searches. Add keywords associated with your business to the answers, and it can organically drive your ranking.
9. Products and Services
It would help if you always prioritized making your Business profile as clear and helpful as possible. If customers are confused about what you offer, adding more information might be necessary.
Add a description of the Products and Services you offer, specifying their name and price. In doing so, you can make it easier for customers to navigate your offers.
The Products and Services section allows you to add content to your profile, helping it to rank higher in relevant searches.
Also, relevant information should always be accessible to any viewers. When it comes to boosting a business on Google Search, adding your products and services is an easy and efficient method to push you toward the top of the list.
Finally, you want to set up a messaging feature in your Business profile. It lets customers get in touch directly via text.
You can set up this feature in the ‘Messaging’ tab of your Google My Business account. You will receive a designated phone number in the Google My Business App, notifying you of any incoming messages. Over the app, you can easily engage with customers’ questions, send pictures, or automate welcome messages.
By remaining accessible and responsive, you can stand out through direct and informative engagement. If multiple people manage your Business account, the app allows each one of them to answer questions. It makes it easier to deal with the workload should you get frequent messages.
This feature is immensely relevant to creating a successful GMB profile, considering the frequent use of smartphones for online shopping.
It’s a cliché to say there are no shortcuts in business, but Google My Business may be the closest thing to a shortcut when properly used. For many customers, your GMB profile is your digital storefront. It’s the first thing they see before they visit your store in the real world. It is why so many businesses look for how to show up on Google Maps.
The tips above have shown that details and engagement are at the root of getting a higher Google ranking.
Like so much of the internet, Google My Business is a tool that everyone is using. To stand out from the crowd, you need to learn to use it effectively.
So follow these simple steps, cultivate a consistent online presence, and watch as your ranking rises. If you ever need help, you can always reach out to us.