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How do I rank on Google Maps?

This article will show you how to rank on Google Maps. It will look into the basics of local SEO, importance of Name, Address & Phone number, Google My Business optimization, categories, directory submission, reviews management and link building strategy.

Appearing on Google Maps is critical if you are a local business and looking to drive more people to your business location. The use of navigation apps has seen to the increase in people looking for and visiting local business premises.

Your content marketing can be used in tandem with your local SEO to give you a leg up on your competitors.

Here is how you can use the two together to get your business noticed.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. These search engines rely on powerful algorithms that are updated everyday. In our case, we will optimize for Google Maps and the rest will fall in place.

I will not stress how important it is to rank on the first page of Google. You will get authority and free traffic that others pay millions of dollars in Ads to get.

While nobody on the outside knows the exact nature of these algorithms, I do have a general idea what the search engines like to see when they crawl your page. This I have learnt from the years of ranking websites. That is what great SEOs do.

By using certain keywords and having a clean page with a positive user experience, you are taking your first step to getting on the search engine’s proverbial “good side.”

User experience in 2021 and beyond will be very important.

  • Make sure that you have a simple site with clear navigation.
  • Ensure that the content is easy to digest with images and diagrams to help bring the point home.
  • Finally ensure that your site is mobile friendly and that it loads fast. See how to improve your speed here.

The goal with SEO is to make your page as friendly as possible to Google and other search engines so that they put you at the top of the search results for any a given search term.

What is Local Marketing?

google maps image

Local marketing is making your brick-and-mortar business or local service business more visible to the general public.

This is similar to SEO but is designed to make you more visible when people search for a local business.

Local SEO is a combination of organic search and social media strategy to gain visibility.

Essentially, you want to be noticed by customers when they are on the go and then deliver on their expectations. 

Essential pillars of local marketing include;

  • review acquisition,
  • mobile optimization,
  • and customer expectation management.

Many people use search engines to locate local businesses, and local marketing is essentially SEO to be found in your own geographic area.

You want to do everything possible to show up at the top of the list when someone searches for a local business. 

Claim your registration

You may have registered on Google Map without knowing it, so your first priority is to claim your registration. This allows you to manage how your business information appears on Google platforms, including Search and Maps, which is crucial as listings are often incomplete.

Google provides a step-by-step explanation of how to add or claim its position on a list.

Now this is pretty simple, the first thing you will need to do is search for your brand name on Google.

showing Knowledge graph results for a local business

At the bottom right you will see that there is an option of owning your business on Google. If this knowledge graph does not appear, then there are more things you will need to do to make Google aware of your local business.

Most the time, you are not yet registered to Google My Business. Its quite simple, follow the former link and do that. If you are already registered, then there are issues with your structured data markup for local business. Follow this link to learn more about schema for your local business.

Accuracy of NAP

After claiming your registration, you must ensure the accuracy of the NAP (name, address and telephone number)

It is essential that your NAP information is accurate, not only on your Google listing, but also wherever it appears on the Internet. Make sure listings are consistent across sites like Yellow Pages, Bing, and Google My Business, as your business may not show up in Google Maps if there are any discrepancies.

The reason why most local businesses do not appear on the maps is because Google is confused and cannot really point out the right information. So before you make any business listing online, it is important to have this in mind.

I know that most of you already have business listings done. If the NAPs are different, make sure that you edit most of them, especially on the social media and high quality directories. You do not have to go through all of them. Google will realize the update soon enough and understand your details.

Categories

showing Google maps categories for restaurant

Google uses categories to help searchers find what they’re looking for, so be careful with this area when you’re creating your listing. Choose the ones that best describe your business and don’t go beyond the five categories that are offered to you.

Make sure that your main category matches the main keywords you want to classify and also maximizes the secondary categories.

Uploading beautiful photos and videos of your business is a great way to complete your listing. Photos have a big influence on consumers’ decisions to visit a store, especially in places like bars and restaurants, so this is an area that needs special attention.

It seems obvious, but the opening hours should be as easy to find as possible. Researchers generally have a pressing need and want to know if an establishment is open at that time. Not indicating your opening hours can therefore have a negative impact.

Backlink acquisition is ensuring that other sites and businesses link back to your business.

This impresses the search engines who take backlinks as a sign that you have a following.

One way to do this for your local business is by creating hyperlocal content that others without your knowledge and vantage point do not have the ability to create.

This will gain some links and help you. Your goal here is to both speak to your audience and impress Google to get them to put your business high up in its local search listings.

You will generally place this content elsewhere on a high-quality domain and then include a link back to your website.

Directory Submissions

Search engines will not always go out and find you. Sometimes, especially when your website is new, you have to go out and find them.

One way to do this is by making directory submissions to the search engines.

This is a way to build high authority backlinks. For SEO, submit your content to Google as you publish it.

For local SEO, you would also submit your content to show Google that is it local and relevant.

The first step in this process is setting up a Google My Business page for your business.

Not only should you submit your content to Google, but you should also seek out any other type of online directory that you can find and submit your website and content to it as a way to earn another link.

There are both free and paid options when you make directory submissions. If the directory is broken down into niches, make sure that you properly categorize your business.

Review Management

Online reviews can help your business in many different ways. They will make or break your reputation.

In addition, Google reviews are known to boost your SEO. Search engines see these reviews and interpret them as a sign that your business is reliable and has a track record.

Finding a way to get more online reviews will help make your business more visible.

To manage your reviews, you will want to plant the seed in customers’ minds to review your business using a certain keyword.

When it comes to local SEO, online reviews are a way to make your business appear higher in local search directories.

Practically speaking, customers trust online reviews written by complete strangers nearly as much as they will trust a recommendation from family and friends.

A string of positive reviews will show that your business is trustworthy and has a history of satisfying its customers. This and visibility build on each other to give you more positive mentions in prominent places.

All pieces of your marketing strategy fit together as you try to get your local business noticed by local customers online. Study up SEO, especially how it applies locally, and methodically follow these steps to get noticed.

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