A regular Google Search results pages also display local results whenever applicable, so ranking higher on Google Maps equates to ranking higher on Google Search as well.
So how do you get your business listing to show up higher in Google Maps? The secret lies in your Google My Business listing.
Use a Local Phone Number
Google isn’t keen on toll-free (800 and 877) numbers because these types of numbers are frequently used for spam. Use a local telephone number with the area code of your location. This will help you to rank higher in Google Maps, and will also verify for searchers that your business is a brick and mortar location in the area.
Do Not Use a Tracked Number
Don’t use a tracked phone number in an effort to segment customers coming from Google Maps. There’s a right and a wrong way to do this; the right way is complicated and the wrong way could damage your rankings.
Keep Your Hours Updated
Google Maps tells users if a business is open, closed, or opening or closing soon. Adding business hours to your listing can give potential customers the impetus to use your business.
Optimize Your Listing Description
Your Google Maps listing has a character limit, so keep your description succinct and include local SEO keywords. For example, instead of “great realtor offering exemplary customer service”, try something like “Dallas realtor with best rates”.
For more help, head to our post on How to Write Your Google My Business Description.
Properly Categorize Your Business
In terms of ranking, the category field of your Google My Business profile (and Maps listing) is the most important attribute. Google can detect category information from your website and other mentions of your business across the web, but it’s important for you to go in and manually add as many relevant categories as you can.
To add categories, type in keywords to describe your business and Google will display matching categories from which to choose.
Add Photos to Your Maps Listing
One of the easiest ways to stand out on Google Maps is to add photos to your Google My Business listing. Choose high-quality photos that capture what it’s like to be at your business, during operating hours. You can add more than one photo so choose ones that will entice customers to come to your business.
Listings that don’t include photos of the business will show a generic map of your business’s location like this:
Get Google Reviews
Google reviews add trustworthiness to a business, so Google ranks businesses with a high volume of good reviews higher on Google Maps. Keep in mind that, once you open up your business for reviews, there is no turning back. As with other review sites like Yelp, you will not have control over what people say, so your reviews may be both good and bad.
However, unless your service is truly atrocious, bad reviews, statistically speaking, tend to be far and few in-between. Plus, as long as you respond to negative reviews properly you can mitigate and even reverse the damage.
To get more Google reviews, obtain the link to your Google review form: go to your Google Maps listing, click “more information” and copy the direct link you find there. Share this link via social media and email to encourage reviews. You can also create a landing page on your website that leads directly to your Google review form.
To give yourself a boost, ask a handful of trusted, loyal customers (ones who you know will leave you a positive review) to write a review for you. Just a few positive reviews will be enough to rev up your rankings.
Consolidate Your Maps Listings
Google will discredit businesses with multiple phone numbers or locations listed for one actual business. Weed out duplicate listings and superfluous information to ensure your one true listing will rank.