How to SEO Google My Business
How to SEO Google Maps
– What is Google Maps?
– Why you need to rank higher
– How to open a Google My Business Page
– Profile checklist
– Do reviews make a difference?
– Post regularly
– Citations and links
– Ongoing profile updates
– Top Google Maps updates
– Get people to open directions
1. What is Google Maps?
Most people are familiar with Google Maps. It is a navigation tool operated by Google that allows you to search for businesses in a specific area. Research shows that it is the preferred navigation app by 67% of people, and that 80% of searches with local intent lead to conversions. (https://webtribunal.net/blog/google-map-statistics/#gref/)
Optimising your presence on Google Maps is essential as most consumers are more likely to search for a keyword, like ‘café’ or ‘sustainability,’ than a business’ name. If you want to compete with other businesses in your locale, then you should aim to appear in Google Maps’ top three results.
Google Maps takes three main factors into account when deciding where to place you in search engine results. These are:
1. Proximity: How close a client is
2. Prominence: How authoritative your business is both on and offline
3. Relevance: Do the keywords consumers have searched for match with the description of your business
2. Why you need to rank higher:
As mentioned 67% of people prefer using Google Maps to other applications, like the iPhone’s own map tool. If you want to establish and maintain a competitive presence, it is important that your online profile is up-to-date.
Not only will your business appear more authoritative and competitive, a Google Maps profile also serves to increase your brand visibility. You’ll attract customers you may not have otherwise, which in turn leads to conversions.
3. Profile Checklist:
1. Create a Google my Business account
2. Claim your business listing
3. Add information to your profile
4. Add photos to your profile
5. Consolidate your Google Maps business listing
6. Add local keywords
7. Embed a Google Map on your website
8. Ongoing profile updates
9. Encourage customers to leave reviews
10. Encourage customers to click on directions
– Create a Google My Business account:
To claim your listing on Google Maps, you’ll first need to open a Google My Business account. This is a free service offered by Google, which allows you to control your business’ accounts across Google’s services.
The prerequisite for setting up a Google My Business account is that your business has a physical location. If you solely sell online, for example, you cannot open a Google My Business account.
So how do you open an account?
? Log into your business’ Google account
? Go to Google My Business’ homepage (https://www.google.com/business/)
? Click ‘Manage Now’ and follow the prompts
? Enter the name of your business, the address and any important information.
Remember to be thorough. The more Google knows about you, the easier it will be to rank you higher.
Next you’ll need to verify your account. If you have not previously verified your business’ address on Google Maps, you’ll be prompted by Google, via a postcard or phone call, to enter an associated code to prove you own the property.
If you have verified your address on Google Maps, then you’ll be asked to confirm this over the phone or by e-mail.
– Claim or add a Google Maps business listing: (claiming or setting up?)
Once you’re set up with Google My Business you’re ready to claim or add your Google Maps business listing. Similar to the Google My Business account process, you’ll be prompted along the way.
Claim an already existing listing:
It’s important to note that anybody can add a business to Google Maps. But don’t worry, just because somebody has already added your business doesn’t give them a right to claim it. In order to do so simply:
? Sign into your business’ Google account
? Go to the Google Maps website
? Search for your business’ name
? Click ‘claim’…
If your business has not been listed previously, you need to add a new one:
? Sign into your business’ Google account
? Go to Google Maps
? Search your business’ name
? Click ‘add missing place’
– Add info to Google Maps listing:
Once you’ve added or claimed your listing, you’ll be asked to provide information about your business, such as the name, a description and reviews. Again, give as much detail as possible, so Google has an incentive to list you in its top results.
You can edit this information later by logging into Google My Business, going to the dashboard and selecting ‘Info’.
In order to optimise your listing remember to:
? Be consistent with the name and address of your business across all platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook, Yelp). Discrepancies in spelling or format could lead Google to mistrust your listing.
? Use a local phone number to verify that your business is located in the area listed.
? Include a tracked and main number. Use the tracked number to measure the success of your marketing campaign and the main number for incoming business calls.
? Write a business description in a tone that aligns with your brand, informs customers and includes keywords. This will help you rank for the products and services you provide.
? Choose a specific category in drop-down menus.
– Add photos to Google My Business:
Google responds well to profiles that include photos. How often you post images will vary from business to business. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep your information up-to-date to let Google know you’re active. Consistency is key.
To upload your pictures go to your Google My Business dashboard and click on ‘Photos’.
Choose photos that you have taken yourself that clearly communicate your brand. If you’re a café you might consider posting daily photos of specials. These photos will appear in local search results when a consumer searches for keywords relating to your business. If, for example, they are looking for something tasty and see that you’ve posted a photo that morning, they are more likely to choose you over other cafés that are less active.
– Consolidate Google Map Listing:
If your information isn’t consistent, i.e. if there are inconsistencies in the address or phone numbers you use, Google is less likely to consider you for its top results. Make sure that the information you provide is concise and accurate by getting rid of any extra information or duplicate listings.
– Include a Google Map on website:
It goes without saying that you should include your Google Maps location on your website. We will say it anyway: include your Google Maps location on your website! Depending on how you add the listing to your website could affect website speed, however, so bare this in mind.
The easiest way to install it is to simply search for your business on Google Maps, hit ‘share’ and select ‘embed a map.’ Then go to your business’ website and copy and paste onto your contact or homepage.
– Ongoing Profile Updates:
Once you set up your profile it’s important to keep it updated. If something changes, customers need to see that online.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself as prompts:
? Your reviews: Ask yourself am I responding to reviews in a timely and efficient manner?
? Photos: Do the photos that I upload communicate where my business is at right now?
? Website: Is my website responsive? Do I reply to customer queries on time? Is the information that I provide on my website clear and engaging?
? Hours: Are the hours displayed on Google correct?
These are all very important factors. The information that you advertise needs to be consistent with your business, otherwise it could lead to a lack of interest and trust. If something changes, update it!
Consistency is also key in demonstrating to Google that you are active online.
4. Do Google Reviews Make a Difference?
Statistics show that 82% of consumers consult local reviews before engaging with a business. It therefore goes without saying reviews affect your ranking. Firstly, Google Maps is more likely to feature you higher up in search results if you’ve got lots of positive reviews. Secondly, consumers will have more of an incentive to click on your website. It’s a win-win.
How can you get more reviews?
Easy, ask for them! Remind customers to give your business a review and be sure to respond. Even the worst effects of a bad review can be mitigated by an attentive response. Responding to reviews demonstrates you to be active and engaged with your customers, which will be rewarded by Google.
There are several factors that Google takes into account when considering your reviews. These are:
? Whether the review has a star and the star rating
? The words used in the review
? The consistency of incoming reviews
? The overall sentiment of the reviews you receive
5. Post Regularly:
Similar to social media sites, you can post regular posts to your Google My Business profile, which will appear when people Google or click on your business in Google Maps. It is a good idea to take advantage of this service as:
– It shows Google you are proactive, which boosts your ranking.
– Online consumers often intend on making a purchase. If you can provide them with up-to-date information, they are more likely to choose your business over someone else’s.
You should aim to post every week to keep your customers engaged and to provide them with the latest information. Posts expire after two weeks, so if you don’t want to keep writing new posts, simply write ten that you can re-use over time. The information you give should be relevant and helpful, and also should include keywords. If you’re a café your keyword might be ‘seasonal food’.
6. Citations and Links:
Citations and links from other websites are integral for a high search ranking. This means other businesses and media outlets referencing your business. But how do you build these links?
As a local business your best bet is to use the network you have in real life, to build up an authority online. This means working with businesses in your area, collaborating on content or exchanging links.
Think of a business that compliments but doesn’t compete with yours. Again, if you are a café you might team up with a local bakery and share content. The bakery will be getting exposure through your website and social media accounts, and vice versa.
If it’s appropriate, photos can be really helpful here. If there is no way to include photos, a simple mention and link to your website from another business can do wonders for your SEO and incoming traffic.