3 Steps to Rank Higher in Google Maps
The success of local businesses depends on their web presence. Today, 46% of Google searches seek local results. 76% of those searchers will choose one of those results and visit it that day. How can you make sure that your local establishment receives the lion's share of that traffic?
You need to make sure your business is seen in those local results, and that it outshines the competition. Raising your visibility on the Google Local Map is the best way to separate yourself from the pack. Best of all, it isn't difficult to do. By simply following 3 steps, you'll be well on your way to the front of the pack.
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Step 1: Optimize Your GMB Profile
Your Google My Business profile grants you tremendous control over how your business appears on the search engine results page (SERP), and in Maps. Neglecting it means that local searchers will almost never see your business in their results, and even when they do, you'll suffer by comparison to other businesses with a robust GMB presence.
To rank with the best of them, you should start by completely filling in every area of your GMB. Don't stop at the obvious things like your business name, location, hours of operation, and contact information. Let the customers know a bit of your history by sharing the date of your founding. Trumpet your accessibility options, from Wi-Fi to wheelchair ramps.
Make sure to show as well as you tell, too. Photos drive local web traffic up by 35%, and increase queries for driving directions by a hefty 45%. Besides your cover photo and profile pic, aim for 3 shots of your interior, exterior, employees, rooms, and management team. Glamour shots of your products and common areas are also big traffic drivers.
Step 2: Get More Online Reviews
Reviews should be viewed as a public conversation you are having with both your current and potential customer base. When someone takes the time to say something kind (or not so kind) about your business, you should reward that interaction with an appropriate response. Even a scripted reply, with a little personalization, goes a long way.
According to reviewtrackers.com, 53% of today's reviewers expect a response within 3 weeks. Meeting that expectation drives repeat reviews, and encourages others to post their own since they know they will be heard and replied to.
On the positive side of things, responses to glowing reviews draw eyes to those reviews. They show customers that you care and appreciate them, building brand loyalty, and creating an inviting impression for someone trying to decide whether to choose your business over another.
As for negative reviews, respond respectfully, with empathy, and explain how you plan to address the issue. This turns a negative review into a positive example of your responsiveness to customer care.
Step 3: Build Local Links
Once you've established your GMB and customer rapport, you're ready to invite the scrutiny, and support, of other local businesses and organizations. Your aim is to make it into the top 3 listings of any relevant local search, a boxed off group of results known as the "Local Pack."
To increase your backlink activity, start by listing your business with sites like Yelp or Facebook Business. These count as NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) citations, and are an easy way to generate link traffic. To establish local connections, you'll need to reach out to businesses and organizations in your area. Think civic groups, churches, clubs and lodges, and even your local Chamber of Commerce.
Taking these measures will grant your business greater exposure and increase brand recognition in your area of operation. Most importantly, the more your business is linked to and visited, the more trustworthy Google's algorithm considers it to be. That trust translates into higher SERP placement and maximum Maps visibility.
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