It’s no secret that most businesses would like to be at the top of Google’s Maps results. When people are looking for your business, having an immediate idea of where to go and what they will find is exactly what they are looking for.
When prospective customers search for things your business does on Google Maps, there’s a high likelihood that the search will result in a purchase. In fact, 75% of local searches result in a store visit within 24 hours and 28% of these store visits result in a purchase. The big caveat? 92% of local searchers choose a business on the first page of results.
To gain more customers from Google Maps and SEO, you’ll need to actively market your business through Google Maps and Google My Business. In this guide we cover what Google Maps marketing is, how it works, what to do with it, and how it can benefit your business.
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is part of local SEO that uses Google Maps optimization techniques to make your business easier to find in Google Maps. While there’s a lot of overlap with strategies to rank in local organic search results, Google Maps marketing is all about ranking on Google Maps, both in the Local Map Pack at the top of local search results as well as in Google Maps itself.
The biggest benefit of local SEO for Google Maps is that your business will be more visible to people who are already looking for a business like yours. Most businesses tend to focus on showing up when searched by name in Google Maps to help customers easily navigate to their location. But Google Maps can be used for much more than just finding your business and can help bring new customers to you. Google Maps can show your business for relevant searches for products, services, and other things your business offers to help bring more customers to you.
Since most customers use mobile devices to find businesses near them, Google Maps marketing focuses on ranking in the Google Maps apps as well as Maps listings. Google Maps is the leading navigation app with 67% of all smartphone users relying on Google Maps for navigation.
The best Google Maps marketing isn’t reserved only for large companies—even your small business can use local SEO to boost Google Maps rankings.
How Does Google Maps Marketing Work?
Google Maps marketing strategies are all about increasing your business’ rankings by improving the local SEO ranking factors that influence Maps results. Overall, Google Maps marketing campaigns focus on three primary areas: Google My Business signals, link signals, and review signals.
Unlike traditional organic results where links are the most influential ranking factor, Google My Business signals are the top ranking factors for Google Maps, according to a Moz study. The factors that influence your Google My Business listing from most influential to least include the proximity of your location to the searcher, the address of your business, your listing’s categories, and keyword optimization of key elements. Google Maps marketing works on optimizing your Google My Business listing to influence these signals.
After Google My Business, links from authority sites to your website is the second most influential factor for Google Maps rankings. These links are different from other citations from other third-party directories but instead are links from other websites like local associations, news organizations, websites in your business niche, and other similar types of sites. The goal in Google Maps marketing is to build the number of these quality links from relevant sites to increase rankings.
Finally, the quantity and quality of reviews of your business on Google itself also influences your Google Maps ranking the most. The number of negative reviews with text and the number of positive reviews with text influences your Google Maps ranking the most, according to the above Moz study, over star reviews with no text. Google Maps marketing focuses on cultivating new reviews and responding to reviews as they happen.
Overall, there are additional aspects to Google Maps marketing to get to the top of Maps—but these are the three most important aspects for your business to focus on.
How Do I Get On Google Maps?
Google allows business owners to claim and verify their GMB profile that appears in Google search results and take control of the information shared about their business in Google Maps.
Your profile typically includes important information about your business that customers need to know like business name, phone number, address, website link, reviews, and more. The goal for Google My Business isn’t just to include general contact information but to make sure that your business page is complete to attract new customers to your business.
If you want your business to rank in Google Maps to turn up in search results, it will take a bit more than just claiming your business’ profile. In order to show up in search results for Maps, you need an optimized Google My Business listing that uses Google Maps marketing strategies to get your business to show up for relevant searches.
How Can I Optimize My Google My Business for Google Maps Marketing?
Google My Business marketing goes beyond claiming your business. In fact, just providing basic information may not be enough to rank in Google Maps and can limit your visibility. Instead, you’ll need to optimize your Google My Business listing to make sure it’s the most relevant result for people searching for a business like yours and follow other local SEO best practices.
You could be missing out on a large number of customers looking for your products or services by not optimizing your Google My Business. Overall, Google wants to know that your business is trustworthy and credible. It examines specific information to see if your services help answer the questions or address the problems customers are having.
While we have a separate guide that walks you through the entire process of optimizing your GMB listing step by step, there are some special considerations for Google Maps marketing strategies. Some steps to help you optimize your Google My Business listing include:
Claim & Verify Your Google My Business
The first step in optimizing your business listing for Google Maps is to verify your Google My Business Page. Verifying your listing confirms with Google that you have a physical address. You can start the verification process by mail or by phone, which may take a few days or a couple of weeks.
Correct Contact Information
One of the most important things about your listing is that your business’ address, phone number, and website is correct. Not only can incorrect information can cause your rankings to go down, it can result in negative reviews from customers who tried to contact you but were unable to do so. Additionally, you want to make sure that your information on your business listing is the same across all of your platforms like your website and social media.
Optimize Your Business Description
Part of optimizing your local listing is including localized keywords in your business description. Google favors businesses that use highly searched keywords that show the business’ relevancy to searchers. While you only have 750 characters, you can cover what your business does, what makes it unique, and why someone would want to work with your business with appropriate keywords.
Photos add more to your listing and help you stand out to your customers. Customers doing research about you will want to know what it’s like to work with you and images give them a good idea of just that. Additionally, if you work with products, Google My Business is a great place to showcase what you offer.
List Products, Services, or Menu
If you offer services and products, listing them on your business listing provides your customers with more information about what you do and who you serve and can help your listing be seen as more relevant by Google. Additionally, listing your products and services is a chance to include optimized keywords.
Post Regularly to Google My Business
Like social media, your business listing allows you to post regularly to it. You can update your customers about what’s going on in your business and promote new products, offerings or news from your business. The more regularly you post, the more likely Google is to rank your listing higher in search results. One of our top Google Maps tips is to create localized content on your website and then reshare it on Google My Business for integrated local marketing.
Share Your Review Form
You may notice that when you Google a business, reviews and ratings will typically appear in the Google Maps search and impact how potential customers view your business. Reviews are important to Google and impact your business’ overall visibility and rankings in Google Maps. Sharing your review form to cultivate positive reviews from your customers can help improve your Maps rankings.
How To Do SEO For Google Maps
While your listing is the most important ranking factor in Google Maps marketing, other factors influence your ranking, including information on your website and off-site signals like links from other authority sites and citations.
After optimizing your Google Maps listing, the next step is to get a full picture with a local SEO audit that tells you what you need to improve to rank better on Google Maps. Overall, your website’s off-site SEO has the biggest impact after your Google My Business listing followed by on-site optimization.
Working to improve the quantity and quality of links to your website from other relevant, authority websites in your region and business niche can help your Google Maps rankings by showing Google your business is trustworthy and relevant to searchers. Beyond links, you’ll also want to make sure that NAP citations are identical to your GMB listing information.
On your website, you’ll want to take advantage of some additional Google Maps optimizations, including:
- Local business schema markup
- Localized keyword optimization
- Embedding a Google Map of your business
While these factors also influence your local search engine rankings, all of these factors also impact your business’ Google My Business listing and can help improve your rankings in Google Maps to bring more clients to your business.
Can I Advertise on Google Maps?
Yes, your business can advertise on Google Maps to gain even more exposure and fast track your success with local SEO. Google Ads is one of the best local SEO solutions to common issues small businesses face when starting with Google Maps marketing.
If you’re looking for more ways to gain new customers through Google Maps, you can advertise with Google search ads. These ads can help feature your business and locations to help users contact you, even when they’re not specifically searching for a business like yours.
There are two ways that Google Ads show on Google Maps:
- When customers are searching for products or services in a nearby area, they may see your business location in local search ads, including in the Local Map Pack results and Google Maps listings.
- When customers are looking for other businesses, even unrelated to yours, your business listing can show on Google Maps as a featured location.
For example, if someone is searching for “burgers near me”, your local SEO ad could appear in search results if you’ve created a Google ad campaign targeting those search queries. As well, your location can show when someone is searching in Google Maps in the area around your business, even if they’re looking for something your business doesn’t offer.
Ads help you get more traffic to your locations from people actively searching for what you offer as well as raise awareness with potential customers in your area. They also help customers learn more about your business and drive customers to contact or visit your business.
How Can I Measure the Performance of My Google Maps Marketing?
Fortunately, you can see how your Google My Business and Google Maps is performing through Google My Business analytics in the Insights reports. Google My Business Insights can show you how customers are searching for your business, what they view on your profile, what type of actions they take on your profile, what links they click, how many phone calls come in through your listing, who views your photos, and more.
Beyond your Google My Business information that shows you specifically Google Maps marketing information, you can also use Google Analytics to see how visitors in your area engage with your website by using filters to only look at visits from your geographic area.
We also recommend using SEO rank tracking tools to measure your business’ rankings in search results for your target keywords to see how your rankings are increasing and what areas still need improvement.
Part of any local SEO services package should include performance measurement that helps you understand what’s working and what needs to change about your local SEO strategy. A good local SEO agency should have regular reporting and share insights with you on a routine basis so you know how your local SEO and marketing is working.
Need Help Getting to The Top of Google Maps?
While this guide is a great place to start working on your Google Maps marketing, getting your business to the top of Google Maps so you get more customers can be a struggle. Our Google Maps marketing agency can help you with a Maps marketing campaign to make it easier to drive customers to your business with effective marketing strategies.
We’ve helped businesses like yours get to the top of Google Maps and grow with strategic Google Maps marketing services. Our Google Maps marketing campaigns include:
- Google My Business Optimization & Management
- Local Pack SEO Services
- Website Optimization & Localization
- Backlink Building & Citation Management
- Managing & Cultivating Reviews
Want to know what it will take to get your business to the top of Google Maps? Contact us for a free consultation and get an expert opinion on your Google Maps marketing.