So, you want to learn how to rank higher on Google Maps? It’s a worthy goal that will boost your conversions. Here’s how to do it: None of the following items alone will rank your business in the top 3 of the Google maps listing. If you only have the time/money to do ONE of these things right, I would say your best bet is #4. It’s the only one that consistently pushes a listing to the top of the map pack, regardless of your optimization of all the other factors.
#1. Amazing Google+ Listing
The first step is creating and optimizing your listing. Either search for your business, or create a new listing, and follow the steps to claim in. This post goes into detail about all the important aspects of creating a kick-ass listing: Building out all the different sections, adding photos, videos, your logo, hours, website, and everything you can to inform potential customers about your business.
Note: Your Business Address Needs to Be in the Target Location
Make sure your business address is in the location you are targeting. Don’t try to rank in the map pack for “denver roofing” if your business address is in Parker.
#2. Plenty of Awesome Citations
Next, you need good citations from directory websites that allow you to add in your business. These directory links show to Google that your business is real. You will want to link to your actual website, not your G+ page, but many of the websites will allow you to also link to your social pages, which includes your G+. You can check your current citations by going to yext.com: This will also give you many great ideas for where to build your citations!
Note: Consistency and Accuracy
Consistency and accuracy are super important. You must have a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) for your business across all directories in order to be ranked in the local pack on the first page.
#3. Real Customer Reviews On Your Google+ Page
This is great, and if there are no other factors, this can be a tie-breaker in G+ shuffling and ranking in the Google snack pack. However, you will find that you become extremely frustrated if you are using this alone to rank your site. There are plenty of businesses with 50+ high rated customer reviews, that are being beat out by businesses with ZERO reviews. So don’t rely on this alone.
It will really help you when you DO rank on top, because if you have a positive rating from other customers, this will work wonders for your business.
#4. Link Building
If you’re going to take one thing away from this post on how to rank in Google Maps, pay attention: Links are always important for SEO ranking, and it doesn’t stop at your G+ listing. Almost no one builds links to the G+ page, but this can work wonders for hitting the top 3 spots in the map pack. The easiest links to build are blog comment links. Go to a blog post that allows comments, and reply in the comments section with a thoughtful and interesting response. Then, drop your link along with your name. You will need 15-20 of these to make a difference in your rank. Links like this are generally not powerful enough to rank your website by themselves (we use them for diversifying a website’s link profile), but because a G+ is already a powerful page on Google’s domain, they can really provide the boost it needs.
#5. Building Links to your Citations
Imagine you have a business listing on a high profile website like insiderpages.com. This is a great citation link on its own. However – imagine that your listing was getting many views around the web. And imagine that people were linking to this listing, because they want to recommend your company. This will make the listing even more powerful than it already is! To do this, you must build links to your listing. You can do this with blog commenting, like described above. There are also some other ways, like writing articles and posting them around the web, then linking them back to the listing. This is more time consuming, however, because it requires high quality, unique content.
#6. Incentivizing Check-Ins
Incentivize customers to “check in” while visiting your place of business. This won’t work for all businesses. But, it is amazing for businesses where the customer visits your brick and mortar business. This proves to Google that customers aren’t just finding you online, they are finding you AND visiting you. Google is now tracking movement through your smart phone. They can tell you how busy a business is, and at what time of day. If many people are visiting your business, you will get a boost in rank in the Google local pack results.
#7. Have a Great Mobile Site
Make sure you have a mobile site. If your site is not mobile, it won’t come up at all in the local map pack on a smartphone, no matter how high your PC ranking is. Google is favoring mobile-friendly websites in the results, and in the Google local listings, you won’t even show up if your website isn’t mobile.
How to Rank in Google Maps: Negative Factors that Affect Your Rank
There are many things you can do that will impact your rank in a good way. There are also things you are doing that will have a negative impact on your ranking. When learning how to rank in Google Maps, there are a few you absolutely shouldn’t do:
- Don’t use a 1-800 phone number. Instead, use a number with a local area code that matches the address of your business in your listing. Google wants to see local businesses rank in the 7 pack.
- Don’t have multiple addresses on your website’s contact page. Only list the address that matches your Google maps listing, otherwise you’ll confuse Google.
- Don’t have a ton of negative reviews on your page. You can’t remove them, but you can bury them in good reviews, and respond to the bad ones. Google doesn’t like listing companies with bad reviews in their 3 pack.
- Don’t have multiple listings with the same name. Differentiate each one with the city name where it is located.
- Don’t have multiple listings with the same phone number or address. Have a unique number and address for each business location.
Get Ranked in the Google Snack Pack
There you have it. All the information you need to for how to rank in Google Maps. Remember, if you only have the time to do ONE thing, stick with #4. Building links will do the most to boost your site’s rank. Now, get out there and put in the work!