Google My Business and Google Maps are two crucial free SEO tools provided by Google to help you get more visibility on Search in your local area. These two are meant for local SEO, an essential part of local businesses. They help customers discover businesses that deal with specific things in their local area. More often than not, those who discover businesses via Google Maps end up being clients.
If this 2019 Google My Business Insights study from Brightlocal is anything to go by, 64% of users rely on Google My Business – and this figure is expected to grow in the future. The study also reveals what we all know; most businesses are discovered through discovery searches instead of through direct searches, when a customer searches for your business name or address directly.
Ultimately, that means, if your Google My Business or Google Maps ranking sucks, you’ll be losing on many potential clients every month.
What is Google My Business and Google Maps?
First, let’s begin with Google My Business. Google My Business is a free tool from tech giant Google that helps businesses control their online presence across different Google services, including Local Pack, Maps, Search, Knowledge Graph, and more. Using Google My Business, business owners can manage what info users see when searching for their entity across Google. This can include the official business name, contact information, products or services offered, location, operating hours, website, and photos. Google Maps, on the other hand, as most of you know, is a web mapping service that provides a detailed view of different geographical regions around the world. Google Maps is popularly used to get directions, explore, and find places and businesses. As a business owner, listing on Google Maps helps in the easier discovery of your business. Claiming a Google My Business page lets you edit your precise address and add relevant information to help potential clients who seek your products or services easily find your business. Therefore, Google My Business and Google Maps are essential and must-have tools to champion your local SEO listings.
5 Benefits of Getting Rankings on Google Maps
Ranking high on Google Maps has its pros. Here are the five significant benefits of ranking higher on Google Maps
Listing your business on Google Maps will help potential clients in your local area quickly discover your business. Brandify’s 2019 Local Search Consumer Survey reveals that 77% of over 1,000 consumers across all U.S. states use Google Maps when searching for local businesses. As more people continue to use Google Maps, ranking higher will increase your business’s visibility.
Higher rankings on Google Maps can potentially increase your sales revenue. When you’re on top, you get more traffic to your website and business, translating to more revenue. Someone searching for information on Google Maps means they need those services soon, if not immediately. The survey mentioned above from Brandify also found out that 56% of consumers are more likely to visit a business after discovering it in Search while 54% could visit right away or on the same day.
Take Control of Your Listing
Ranking on Google Maps gives you the ability to manage how you wish customers to see your business information in the search results. As a business owner, you can directly edit your business’s information like address, contact, hours of operation, and various products and services offered. Adding a photo is also essential, especially for those in the hotel industry. Google says businesses with pictures in their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for Google Maps directions.
Directly Engage with Customers or Potential Customers
Another advantage of listing your business on Google Maps is you can easily interact with potential customers. You can respond to reviews left by customers who have been to your premises on Google. Additionally, some customers may prefer asking a question directly from Google, so you get to answer them. According to Google, getting “high-quality, positive reviews” can also help you maintain your top rank in Search.
>Stand Out Above Competitors
Ranking higher on Google Maps gives you an advantage over your competitors. For instance, if someone searches for a “restaurant near me” and your business is the first one on the results, you get more discovery and make more sales. Another critical reason to rank on Google Maps is that top results in maps can also be shown in Google Search if the search has local intent.
The free nature of Google Maps makes it an indispensable tool for businesses to use. And with Google’s presence in the world of Search, the company controlled 87% market share as of July 2020, you can’t ignore listing your business on Maps. Without a Google My Business or Google Maps listing, you aren’t playing the local SEO game as it should be.
10 Reasons A Business May Not Be Ranking locally in Google Maps
Ranking on Google Maps is important for local SEO. If your business is not already ranking locally in Google Maps to realize the benefits mentioned above, we’ll help you figure out why.
These 10 reasons should help you figure out why your business isn’t ranking locally in Google Maps as you expect.
You Haven’t Listed Your Business in Google Maps
Before you start figuring out why you are not ranking, have you listed your business in Maps? If you’re unsure whether your business is listed on Google Maps or not, open the app on your device or go to Google.com/maps. Then, search for your business. If it can’t appear, you need to create a listing. Add your business to Google via this link.
Your Business isn’t Verified
If your business is listed on Google and not ranking, you may not have claimed it yet. By claiming your business, you can add more rich information to help Google index your profile in relevant searches. It’s mandatory to begin by creating or claiming a Google My Business profile to verify your business.
Your Google My Business Dashboard Information is Incomplete
Listing your business on Google Maps and linking it to a Google My Business account is just the beginning. If you haven’t completed all the mandatory information sections needed in the GMB dashboard, do so. By completing business information in Google My Business, you will be able to rank higher. The reason being, businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with relevant searches. Also, this makes it easy for users to know your business better.
You Don’t Have Photos Included in Your Listing
Photos are important in Google Maps ranking. As mentioned above, businesses with images get more discovered, so Google will prioritize listings that include them. Brightlocal’s study reiterates on the same, revealing that businesses with more than 100 photos received more calls, direction requests, and more website clicks. Add photos to your Google Maps listing by heading over to the Photos tab in GMB.
You Don’t Have Reviews or Have Less
Reviews also strengthen your ranking. Google loves what customers love. So, a business with positive quality reviews will ultimately rank more on Google Maps and Search. You can get reviews by encouraging customers that visit your premises to leave reviews on your business listing in Maps. Furthermore, you have to respond to reviews, so Google knows you value your customers and feedback.
Update Business Information Regularly
Google also gives priority to businesses that regularly update their information. That includes when you’re open or closed and unique operating times like public holidays. Posting regularly to your Google Maps Business listing will also help boost your rankings.
You Recently Added or Edited Your Business Information
If you recently edited or added some information to your listing, it may take a while before those changes are reflected. Google’s algorithms consider various factors, so it may take up to three days to show up when you make changes. Your listing may not show in discovery searches during this period but can be seen when a customer looks up your specific brand name.
You Have Multiple Phone Numbers, Locations, or Listings
Google doesn’t rank high businesses that have multiple phone numbers or numerous duplicate locations. If you have multiple phone numbers in your listing, weed out the rest and remain with one number. Moreover, consolidate the duplicate listings to remain with one precise location. Multiple listings could be the reasons why your ranking in Google Maps is unimpressive.
You’ve Not Correctly Categorized Your Business
Google gives priority to relevance. So, not correctly categorizing your business will ultimately hurt your Google Maps rankings. Consider using keywords that are relevant when searching for your business. Local keywords in line with your industry will also help boost Google Maps search rankings.
Your Overall SEO Is Not Up To Par
The traditional SEO factors that influence rankings apply to the local pack rankings as well. This includes a great website experiencer for your users, great local content, and inbound links from local sources within your geographic area.
You’ve Violated Google Terms For a GMB Listing or Your Business Does Not Qualify
In order to qualify for a Business Profile, Google states that a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours at the location listed.
The following businesses are not eligible for a business listing:
- Rental or for-sale properties such as vacation homes, model homes, or vacant apartments. Sales or leasing offices, however, are eligible for verification.
- An ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent.
- Lead generation agents or companies.
Tip: Be careful how you build your website, as we’ve seen local businesses who try to create multiple location pages for every city around their target market get kicked off of GMB (delisted and loose all the testimonials they had). We think this is either due to quality of content, or Google classifying these websites as lead generation – which is not allowed to be listed.
The advantages of ranking higher on Google Maps as a local business are way too far to ignore. With these tips, you should get your business listing on top of relevant searches in your area in Google Maps or Google My Business.