You would assume that persons who live near your store would know how to find it, since they pass it every day. But in fact, when most people need to buy something, they go online and enter a search query to find the nearest store.

Today’s consumers are thrifty with both their time and their money. They see no point in wasting their energy and resources when the Internet can provide all the information they need in the blink of an eye. If you want potential clients to find your business, its profile should be featured in search rankings when web users enter niche-related queries.

Google Maps is a great tool for giving your store more online exposure. Businesses of all types leverage this platform to attract customers to both their brick-and-mortar stores and their websites.

5 Key Factors Influencing Google Maps Rankings

How does Google “think” and “decide” which companies to push to the top of search rankings? It primarily scans the three factors listed below.

1. Proximity

Of course, Google will not advise web users to drive all over the entire city to get to your store if a similar vendor is available around the corner. To save users time and money, It will build its ranking starting with the nearest outlet.

The bad news is that you cannot optimize this parameter unless you launch outlets in all districts throughout your city.

The good news is that your competitors cannot optimize this parameter either, which means they cannot push you out of the race.

Let’s say your main competitor is located in the city center. If your store is located on the outskirts, you have no reason to worry. Your competitor will not be displayed in a local search, and you will both have a different target audience.

2. Reviews

When determining whether it is worth to order services from a certain company, people tend to trust other buyers over loud advertising. Obviously no brand is going to say bad things about itself, while dissatisfied customers will openly share negative experiences and warn others about the product’s drawbacks.

Google is also attentive to customer opinions, and both the quantity and quality of reviews matter. If a large number of people post positive testimonials about your company, your website is more likely to rise to the top of search rankings.

To improve your rankings, encourage your satisfied clients to share their impressions on Google Maps. You can pamper them with a discount or a gift in exchange for this small courtesy.

Reviews are a less powerful ranking factor than proximity. They come into play when users conduct general rather than local searches. However, they can still bring you more traffic, so you pay attention to this image-building element.

3. Citations

Things are thought to be true if many people believe in them. In the same way, companies are thought to be reputable if there is much talk about them. You cannot gain a big name by doing business in a vacuum. Your brand should be widely discussed on the web, in particular, on Google Maps.

Citations (mentionings of your venture’s name, address, or any other details from your GM page) from a large number of web users are sure to skyrocket your rankings.

4. Backlinks

The same principle as in the previous case applies here. Links on third-party websites can boost the popularity of your brand, make it recognizable for the target audience, as well as Google search.

5. Optimization Level

Google also evaluates the quality of content displayed in your profile. Pages with valuable and well-structured information are more likely to be displayed to web users, so be sure to submit a well-written brand profile to Google Maps.

SEO Guidelines for Creating a Top-Notch Profile on Google Maps

When creating your Google Maps profile, you should optimize it for search and provide information that delivers the most value to your prospective clients. Below, we list 8 simple tips that will walk you through the process.

1. Register Your Enterprise’s Listing

If you still don’t have your own listing on Google My Business, you should create one right away. 

Since web users do not like to spend too much time searching, one glance should be enough to give them an idea of who you are, what services you offer, and how people can contact you. Specify your company’s niche, office location, local phone number and operating hours. 

If some information changes on your website, be sure to change it on GMB as well.

2. Build Your Brand’s Name on a Strong Keyword

Google is more sensitive to keywords in titles than to those in the body of a page. It is quite possible that your brand will appear at the top of search rankings just because you have used a popular query. 

Some may consider this a shady practice, but most companies do it. If you don’t use this tactic, you may be simply pushed out the race. 

The main thing is not to over-optimize your brand’s name. An awkward set of keywords will definitely not add stars to your image. 

3. Write an Informative Introduction

An introduction is a part of your GMB profile that gives a brief overview of your business. Google screens it for queries reflecting user’s needs, so it makes sense to insert popular niche-related keywords in your text. As in the case with your brand’s name, it is a mistake to provide an awkward set of keywords in your introduction. 

The description of your company should look natural, be concise, and help web users quickly determine whether you provide services they are looking for. As a rule, one long sentence is enough to outline all the details prospective clients may need at the first stage of interaction with your company. 

Provide the details your clients are likely to be interested in. In particular, list the key products in your catalog, announce your mission, and emphasize the main advantages that make your brand stand out from the bulk of market players. 

Use a writing style that reflects the vernacular of your customers. If you mainly serve business owners, your tone should be serious and official. If most of your clients are teens and young adults, you can use a more relaxed style. This lets prospective clients know that you understand their philosophy and lifestyle. 

4. Indicate Your Web Address

Users wanting more details about your brand should be given the opportunity to easily redirect to your website. Place a link in a special field of your GMB listing. This will help you to attract tons of traffic. 

5. Select Suitable Categories

Some people search for local businesses by category. It is crucial to make sure your venture appears in the right place at the right time. If Google’s catalog does not offer a category that precisely reflects your niche, choose the closest option possible. You can also tick secondary categories to cover a wider potential clientele. 

6. Adorn Your Profile With Visuals

Supplementing a well-structured text with attractive images is a golden formula for content marketing. 

Spark the imagination of your prospective clients with beautiful and bright images that provoke emotions. It is best to hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of your staff, office, and products. 

7. Verify Your GMB Profile

After completing registration, you should receive Google’s approval to become a full-fledged member of the platform. The verification process can extend for up to a couple of weeks. Once verified, a postcard with your profile’s PIN will be delivered to your physical office. Some companies have the privilege of verifying their listings by phone, making the process much faster. 

8. Attract Reviewers

People are unlikely to visit your page and write reviews without your polite requests and directions. Buyers share negative impressions more often, wanting to vent and to warn others. Satisfied customers simply enjoy using a product, and rarely waste time on reviews. 

Of course, Google’s administration assumes that companies do not ask customers to post testimonials. However, in real life, most successful companies solicit testimonials, and this practice is unlikely to stop. 

Some companies do not bother asking for their customers’ opinions and simply post fabricated reviews, but we do not recommend this tactic. Your satisfied clients will be happy to post reviews and testimonials, without your having to resort to deceptive practices. You can show your clients easy ways to share their impressions. For example, you can insert a link to Google reviews in your email signature, display it in a pop-up window after a client places an order on your website, or create a special button at the page bottom. 

Reviews should not be posted sporadically. If a large number of clients suddenly post reviews to your profile in one day, it will look suspicious and Google may perceive them as being fabricated. 

With a thoughtful approach, reviews can significantly improve your online image and push you to the top of search rankings. 

9. Gain More Backlinks and Citations

Check out some ways to optimize your online representation:

  1. Select the top 30 niche directories and create your venture’s profiles there. Check each resource’s reputation. Do not waste your time on low-quality platforms since they are unlikely to improve your rankings. If some contact details change on your website, data in directories should be changed as well so that your brand is exposed consistently throughout the network.
  2. Post engaging news on your social media accounts to get more citations and shares. 
  3. Contribute useful content to third-party resources and communities. Insert links to your website in each post. It is an efficient way to generate a large number of backlinks and gain recognition in the niche. 

While all the above can be made manually, automated assistants like Ahrefs and Majestic SEO can save your time and effort. 

We hope this article proves useful. If you have additional questions regarding promotion on Google Maps, do not hesitate to contact the Clever team.