How to Rank Higher on Google Maps in 2015

For many local businesses the Google map listing is a mystery. Some have managed to score a lower position on this page-one piece of online real estate yet are baffled as to how they can move up. Others are not listed at all and are desperate to be so. NO matter the scenario, both are correct in wanting to take immediate action to get the opportunity to have their brick and mortar shop or office represented accordingly. While earning a strong position on the Google map can feel a little like a lottery to some, it’s more doable than you think. Read further to find out what your local business website needs to do.

How Your Local Business Website Can Move Up on the Google Map Page One Search Results

1. Complete and Optimize Your Google My Business Page

It all starts by setting up your Google My Business profile to 100% completion. Choose your business categories carefully, putting your most relevant offering at the forefront, while noting all other products/services that you offer. You may end up being rewarded with a spot on the Google map for more than one keyword phrase (e.g. interior design in Seal Beach AND home staging in Seal Beach). Remember not to be cheeky when adding your business address, in case you were thinking about biting off more literal real estate than you can chew. What I’m referring here to is the temptation to claim a bigger business area than where your physical business actually exists. If you operate in Seal Beach (CA), don’t attempt to “game” the Google map by listing your Google My Business at some general location (e.g. mall complex, etc…) in Huntington Beach because the market is more lucrative there. Google will be sending a postcard to your physical business address that contains the very PIN # that will get you on the Google map in the first place. You need to be there to receive this PIN and verify your location. Don’t worry, when you score your honest place on the map your business may boom just enough to open up a spot in that more alluring market you desire to serve.

2. Ensure NAP Consistency on all Online Resources

Name, address, number (NAP). Inconsistencies in this basic information throughout numerous online resources/directories can cause confusion with Google who “looks” at the big picture when determining which local businesses best represent their industry in their locale. Make sure that not only your Google My Business NAP is correct, but that it matches your NAP on your Yelp profile, your FourSquare profile, on your social networks, within your online listing with the local Chamber of Commerce, and everywhere else it may reside.

3. Earn Positive Google Reviews from Satisfied Customers (w/Google+ Profiles)

Positive Google reviews will move your map listing from the bottom of the pile towards the top. But you have to earn them from truly satisfied customers who actually maintain a Google+ profile. For years bad SEOs have attempted to set-up dummy G+ profiles to place fake reviews for online businesses, to no avail. If Google sees a slew of brand new Google+ profiles all of a sudden liking (+1’ing) the same business they will dismiss them all (legit ones included). Simple messaging on your marketing materials can help in the process (as in, “On Google+? We’d be honored to have you review our establishment on Google“) but when your business by nature is in the position to truly engage clients/customers (B2Bs, Realtors, or any instance where major purchases are met with post-use/purchase follow-up) an email campaign encouraging Google reviews from happy customers/clients can get your Google review numbers up fast, moving your place on the map up in the process.

4. Optimize Your Static and Fresh Content for Local SEO

Chances are that many of the other sites listed on the Google map along with yours are not properly keyword optimized with on-page titles, headings, and complementary content that tells Google, and users, about their business offering in the context of their region. Be sure to have a consultant with local SEO knowledge set the table in this capacity. Once done, you will want to update your website with original, engaging, interesting, informative, media-rich content that references your product/service as it directly relates to your city, town, neighborhood. If all else is equal with your competition on a Google map, and your website is the only one among them that delivers this localized content, you will eventually overtake them.

5. Earn Backlinks from High-Value Local Websites

Having high-value (relevant w/strong PageRank scores) websites link to your site’s content is a good thing. Having high-value local websites link to your local site’s content is a VERY good thing. Your content strategy (item #4 above) will help garner interest from these webmasters but you will also need to perform proactive outreach to local bloggers, businesses (not in conflict of interest), organizations, and educational institutions that may be interested in referencing your content (via a backlink).

You’re all set to begin navigating your way up to the top of Google map listings for your area. If you have any further questions on the matter please leave a comment below (via Facebook) or contact me anytime at your convenience in regards to your website.

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