You’ve probably tried it. It’s Friday night, and you’ve decided that the only thing that can make the night even better is a nice pizza. So you pull out your phone, open up Google, and search for pizzerias in your nearby area. Which one do you choose? Probably one of the relevant listed places, right? If they’re shown there, they must be worth it.
If you do this, you’re not the only one. In fact, a study has shown that 87% of consumers end up on Google Maps business listings from a “discovery” search rather than a direct search.
With this in mind, it’s needless to say important for businesses to show up in the top lists in these local searches, as they are more likely to be chosen by customers. But how do businesses make sure they rank well in searches? The answer isn’t entirely straightforward, but by creating and claiming your Google Maps business listing, you can optimize your online presence and increase your chances of ranking high in Google Maps local searches. In this blog, we give you five tips to enhance your chances of ranking higher on Google Maps.
#1 Create, claim, and verify your Google Maps business listing
The first step to get a chance of a higher ranking on Google Maps is to create and claim your business through Google Maps. This is a simple process in which you’ll be asked to fill in information about your business, such as address and whether you serve customers at the business address or if you deliver goods and services.
Upon finishing filling in the information, it’s important to verify your Google My Business profile. Without the verification, you won’t be able to manage your business information in Google Maps or Search. Only after verifying your account, you’ll be able to make changes to your account information as well as get access to insights, upload new photos, and publish posts. Besides this, Google claims that verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
To make the verifying process as easy and smooth as possible, Google has created a simple tutorial:
#2 Fill out your Google My Business profile and keep information consistent
To maximize how often users find your business when they make a search, it’s important to ensure that your business info is accurate and up to date. The more information you fill in, the higher it will rank in results. While information such as business name, address, phone number, website, and business hours is easy to fill in, some sections may take a bit more time and thought. For category and attributes, it might not be possible to find an exact match, and it’s suggested to choose the category most similar to your type of business.
Google’s algorithms take inconsistencies in information such as business name and address into account when assessing your credibility. Because of this, you want to make sure that your information in your Business profile exactly matches your other listings across the web.
#3 Keep your hours accurate
Just as keeping your business information accurate is important, it’s essential that you keep your opening hours accurate and updated. This includes when your business opens and closes on a daily basis, but also when your business will be open during holidays and other events. Ensuring that you’re using correct and updated opening hours will make it easier for customers to determine when it’s possible to visit your business - and also give them confidence that they won’t go there with the risk of it being closed.
#4 Get Google reviews and reply to them
As a consumer, you often check out reviews from other customers before making a decision to purchase something. From a business perspective, great reviews on Google Maps, or any other site, can help increase your business’ credibility. Positive reviews from customers also help your business achieve better visibility and may make customers more inclined to choose your business over other, similar ones.
Through Google My Business it’s possible to reply to reviews, which is a good opportunity to show that you value your customers and the feedback they provide.
#5 Add photos and posts to your listing regularly
In your Google My Business account you can add photos or videos of your products and services to display it for users. The use of photos on Google My Business is not only a nice feature, it’s an important and essential part of reaching higher rankings in Google Maps. Google has reported that businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, as well as 35% more clicks through to their website in comparison to businesses that don’t use photos.
Another thing to keep in mind when building your Google My Business listing is that Google’s algorithms prefer profiles that update regularly. If you want a good ranking on Google Maps, a tip is to add new photos of your products or services every seven days, to make sure your business continues to appear active.
Google My Business is a great, not to mention important, tool to enhance your business’ online presence. If you want to know more about how to drive online-to-offline sales in 2021, make sure to sign up for our webinar that we’re hosting together with MapsPeople partners Google Maps and Uberall.