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Follow these surefire and easy tips to learn how to rank higher on Google Maps.
For small business owners, getting to the top of the list on Google Maps equals more customers. Getting to the top of the rankings may seem vague.
This post will clear the path to ranking higher.
Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To better understand how to rank higher on Google Maps we need to understand what Search Engine Optimization or SEO is and why it is important.
Search engines like Google and Bing are in business to provide the best and most relevant results to user queries.
They do this using having users enter phrases into the search box, analyzing and predicting what the searcher’s intent is, and displaying the search results.
The phrases that you type into the search box are called keywords and they drive everything in search engine optimization.
Keywords can be single words or phrases. For example, some keywords could be “chicken coops” or “Where can I buy chicken coops near me”.
Not all keywords are the same. Single keywords or keywords with only a couple words are hard to rank for because there is a lot of existing competition.
What does all this have to do with ranking higher on Google Maps? Excellent question!
Google Maps results are just search results that add geographic data from a few of the results and display it on a map centered on the searchers location.
To rank higher on Google Maps you will need to rank higher in the Google search results by implementing Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is a broad topic and is a lot of work that can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to see results.
Keep this in mind as you implement these tips and work on ranking higher.
The processes we will cover in this article are the foundations of Local SEO.
Local SEO is the practice of applying search engine optimization techniques to improve your local search results rankings.
Rank higher in local search results and you will rank higher on Google Maps searches.
How to rank higher on Google Maps using Google My Business
The first thing you will need to do is create a Google My Business page.
Google My Business is a free product from Google that lets you enter all your business information.
This information will show up when people search for your business name.
If you have not already, go to Google My Business and create an account and enter all your business information.
If you create an account, you will be asked to verify your business.
This is typically done by either a phone call to your business number or Google will mail a card to your business address with a code that you have to enter to verify ownership.
Potential customers will see this page when they search for you so make sure your profile is complete.
Make sure that you include your operating hours, services that you proved, and upload as many photos of your business as possible.
Now that you have a complete Google My Business listing you will need to get reviews.
Get Google My Business Reviews
This step is very important to rank higher on Google Maps.
One of the signals Google uses to determine rank is Authority.
It does this by taking into consideration the reviews for your business on Google.
The more reviews you have the more authority you have and therefore the higher your business will rank on Google including Google Maps.
But how to get reviews?
One of the best ways I have seen that works to get reviews is to send out an email to all your current customers.
Ask them to kindly leave a review for your business on Google and offer an incentive if leave a review.
In the email, send them a link from your Google My Business page that will allow them to leave a review.
To get the link go to your Google My Business profile.
Find the section titled “Get More Reviews” and click on the “Share review form”.
This will display a window that will have a link in it. Copy and paste this link into your email.
Another great way to get reviews is to use social media.
Create social media posts asking for a review and provide the link from above.
The more reviews you have the better your chances are to rank higher on Google Maps.
Setup a Google Business Website
Another step we take to learn how to rank higher on Google Maps is to create a Google Business Website.
This is a free website hosted by Google that pulls data from your Google My Business profile.
To create your Google Business Website, login to your Google My Business account.
On the left menu, click on “Website”.
Follow the screens to create your website.
The great thing about this website is that it automatically has high authority and any links from this site to yours will be dofollow links.
To add content to your new Google Business website, add posts to your Google My Business profile.
A post here could be to an article on your blog, product you sell, or service that you deliver.
To add a new post, click on “Posts” in the left-hand menu.
Next click on “Add Update” at the top of the page.
The create post window is displayed.
Add a picture that is appealing and eye catching to your post.
Next add a paragraph about what the post is about.
Click on “Add a button” and select a button to add to your post.
Typically, I will use the “Learn More” button.
Finally, provide a link to your page.
Prove as many posts as you can here.
The more posts you have the more links from a high authority site to your site there will be.
The next tip is to create or check your business’ profiles on various websites.
There are a lot of other social media sites that you can create a profile on.
Google will crawl all of these and collect data on your business.
You need to ensure that your business’ information is the same across the web.
Your address, phone number, business name, and open hours need to all be the same no matter what website they are listed on.
There are tools like Yext that will search a lot of these sites and compare your business profiles.
Any deviations or missing profiles can easily be found and updated.
This builds authority and trust with Google and will help your site rank higher in Google Maps and Google search results.
Creating profiles on all these sites will create something called a backlink to your site which we will talk about next.
Backlinks, Backlinks, Backlinks
Backlinks are links from other sites to your site.
These links can show that the other site trusts your content and finds it authoritative.
They are like citations in academic papers.
The more citations your paper has the more authority it will have.
Not all backlinks are the same. There are two link types: dofollow and nofollow.
We want to get a good mixture of dofollow and nofollow links in our backlink profile.
A good ratio is about 75% dofollow and 25% nofollow links.
Acquiring backlinks is one of the most important part of any search engine optimization campaign.
But creating backlinks must be undertaken cautiously.
Never pay for a link to your site. Google does not like paid links and can get your site penalized or delisted from Google search results.
The best way to get backlinks is naturally by creating create content and promoting it, which we will talk about in a later section.
One great way to get backlinks is to find Business Directory websites and create a profile for your business on them.
There are free business directories and there are paid business directories.
When you create a profile on these business directory websites make sure you include a link to your website.
Also, make sure that your business profile information matches what is listed on your Google My Business profile.
How to use content marketing to improve your local SEO
The surest way to get great backlinks that are organic and will make Google happy is to use content marketing.
Content Marketing is producing great content on your website that fully answers a question or describes something and engages your readers.
If you write great content that engages your readers, is relevant to what people are searching for, and is authoritative in the eyes of Google (lots of high authority backlinks) then you have the potential to drive massive traffic to your website.
The best way to do this is to add a blog to your business website.
The key here is to write content that is relevant to keywords that people search for.
To find out what keywords are best you can use a free tool like Google’s Keyword Planner.
There are also paid tools like Ahrefs and Moz.
These usually have a free tier that lets you try their product out before you buy.
Using these tools, you can find keywords that people are searching for that match the content you want to write.
You can also make sure that the searches are generating traffic to websites.
Once you found a great keyword that would make an awesome article on your blog, start writing it.
Start out by making an outline of your article. Brainstorm ideas that would make good subtopics.
You will want to make sure that your content is of sufficient length to fully answer the searches intentions.
Great article lengths are usually 800 to 1000 words or more.
Make sure that your article is well researched.
Ensure that you link to any sources of information or references to other websites.
Again, these act like citations in the academic world and will give your article authority.
There are few key things to do when you write your article to improve your on-page SEO:
- Put the keyword in the article’s title.
- Make sure the keyword appears in the URL for your article.
- Use an H1 heading that contains your keyword.
- Use the keyword and variations of your keyword in the article text.
- Include photos that add value to your article that have your keyword in the “alt text” attribute.
All these points are the backbone of on-page SEO.
On-page SEO is another fork in the process of search engine optimization where you help Google to understand what your page is about.
This will help Google to rank your site higher in the search results.
Make sure your website speed is not slow
This is the last tip on how to rank higher in Google Maps and covers the last fork in search engine optimization: Technical SEO.
One of the best ways you can help your site rank higher is to ensure your sight responds to requests quickly.
These tools will analyze your site and see how quickly it responds.
In addition, and more importantly, if there are any problems that are slowing your website down, they will show you how to fix them.
Nobody wants to stare a blank white screen after clicking a search result.
There are many other caveats to Technical SEO but page speed is one of the most important.
Hopefully, you new know how to rank higher on Google Maps by following the tips outlined in this article.
Remember that a solid and organic SEO campaign can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to show any results so be patient and work on it every day.
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