When searching for a place to get ice cream, the nearest urgent care, an oil change, or a good Italian dish, chances are you have used Google Maps. If you are the owner of a brick-and-mortar business, a high Google Maps ranking can greatly improve your income! Let’s take a look at Google Maps and how to improve your Google Maps Ranking.
The Coveted Google 3 pack
You may notice that when searching for a place of business, Google search engine results will show you 3 top listings with all the details. This is known as the Local 3 pack, Google 3 pack, and also Google Snack Pack. If your business is listed in one of these top 3 results, you can expect an increase in foot traffic to your business. More foot traffic equals more sales and of course, more sales equal more profit! These 3 listings shown are based on the user’s location or the location they are searching for.
86% of consumers rely on the internet to find a local business and 29% search for local businesses at least once per week! Taking steps to improve your Google Maps ranking and make it into the Google 3 pack can prove very lucrative for your business!
So what are the best steps to improve your Google Maps ranking? While there is no exact magic formula, there are steps you can take to improve your ranking and then hold on to it. Keep reading.
It All Starts With A Good Google My Business Profile
If your business has a physical address, a storefront, or any in-person business with customers, then you should have a Google My Business Profile. If you have not set one up yourself yet, you may find one has been created for you already by Google. If yours has been created automatically, your first step is to claim and verify your Google My Business listing.
A strong Google My Business listing is crucial for many reasons but if you want to rank or improve your Google Maps ranking, then it is key.
If you already have a Google My Business profile in place, that’s great! In order to improve your google maps ranking, you need to make sure the listing is at its best. Take a moment and do an audit of your listing.
- Are your business name, address, and phone number accurate? (This is commonly abbreviated as NAP in digital marketing circles)
- Are your hours listed and accurate? (So many businesses had to change hours due to the pandemic- be sure to double-check this! It is a huge turn-off to customers to drive to a place of business that is listed as open only to find it closed!)
- Are the photos included with your Google My Business listing quality and appealing photos?
- Is the category that describes your business accurate and detailed? (If you specialize in Italian dishes are you categorized as an “Italian restaurant” or simply “restaurant?” The more detailed the better!)
- Do you have any Google Reviews on your profile? If not encourage your customers to leave one.
If you found any of the above questions lacking, work on correcting them to make the most of your profile.
Best Practices to Improve Your Google Maps Ranking
As detailed above the first step is to make sure your Google My Business profile is up to date and in good working order. A Google My Business profile is a valuable tool to have in place whether you rank in the Google 3 pack or not. I love it when doing the basic things that help your business propel you towards bigger things that can help your business even more.
Site Authority & NAP Consistency
In addition to having a good profile on Google, you can improve your Google Maps ranking by connecting your site to local business directories such as your local Chamber of Commerce or larger sites like Yelp. Other sites that link to your website increase your site’s website authority. This is a signal to Google that you are a trusted site online.
To improve your Google Maps ranking, the most important thing when connecting with others in the online community is that your name, address, phone, and other details are consistent everywhere they are presented online. Google takes this seriously and if your information is accurate and consistent Google is more likely to rank your business in the Google 3 pack.
Categories and Attributes
It is worth putting a little more effort into making sure your category descriptions are the best they can be. Be sure to choose applicable subcategories along with your main category. Google has also added an attributes feature that allows many designations such as “wi-fi” “outdoor seating” “curbside pick-up” “women-owned” and many more. Choose ones that are relevant and most appealing to your customers.
Optimize Your Introduction
The introduction of your business in your Google My Business profile should be brief, relevant, and include keywords that are often searched for your business. These appear under your business name in your profile in the list view of Google Maps. If a user clicks on your business, a longer introduction is revealed. Choose details to include that will help you stand out among other listings.
Respond to Reviews
If you do not have any reviews on your Google My Business profile, then put some time into getting some. Then to help improve your Google Maps ranking, respond to that review and do so in a timely manner. Yes occasionally there are negative reviews and you may not know how to respond to those. Check out Google’s Guidelines on how to reply to reviews for helpful tips.
Reviews are part of something called “user-generated content” and can be used for more than improving your Google Maps ranking through social media marketing and email marketing. Almost 95% of users read reviews before making a purchase and 8% of consumers use reviews to discover new local businesses.
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
Best practices for digital marketing include making sure your website is mobile-friendly but it is especially important if your goal is to improve your Google Maps Ranking. People are searching for you on their mobile devices, so if they click on your site and it is too tiny to read or takes a long time to load they are not going to stay and are less likely to patronize your business!
Dogwood Can Help with Your Google My Business Listing
Yes, the information shared today could leave you feeling overwhelmed with more on your never-ending to-do list, but Dogwood Media Solutions can help! We can configure your Google My Business listing, optimize it for you, and even handle sharing relevant posts to your profile. Contact us today to learn more!