First of all, Google Maps is the best mapping service and outperforms other online maps with hundreds of millions of users.
Of course, there is a way you can use its immense popularity in business to your advantage. The clearest, but not the only, advantage of Google Maps is that it is easier for potential customers to find you.
For large companies or local institutions, the label on Google Maps is not as mundane as it is for small businesses, to whom the map label can attract new customers and increase profits.
Google knows where its users are located, and unless you specifically request that it not personalize your search results page, most commercial results will be displayed based on your location. You'll see a list of three businesses and a Google Maps window.
Reaching the top of the search is a top priority for local businesses, and they can only do so by creating a profile on Google Maps.
The top spots in Google Maps search will not only make you visible, they can also improve your name. Used properly (and strategically), Google Maps can play an important role in your digital marketing strategy.
How do I add a business to Google Maps?
First go to Google Maps and enter your business name in the search.
A window will appear in which you can enter business information, such as business hours, category, and location.
When you have finished filling in the data, send your application for company registration with the Submit button. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be notified by email.
Once added to the Google Maps database, your business will be able to appear in search results along with other businesses located in the same location.
Now let's look at what criteria Google Maps sorts search results.
Organize your results in Google Maps
According to Google documentation, the main factors are:
- Relevance - how much your business matches a user's search
- Distance - how close you are to the user
- Significance - how well known and how your company is rated
Keep in mind that the goal of Google Maps is not to help business owners increase sales and profits, but to help their users find exactly what they need.
With this in mind, let's look at how factors interact with each other.
Relevance factor in Google Maps results
Of course, for your business to appear in search, you need to be relevant. This factor can be explained most easily.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses are registered on Google Maps. Still, when I enter "cafes in New York," the algorithm will offer me exactly what I'm looking for.
The name of your business, and especially its category and address, will determine whether you get to the top of the search results.
While filling out your business information, you may have been thinking about adding keywords that are not part of your legal business name. Let's say your business is called "Coffix" and you add "Restaurant Coffix" to your name.
The keywords in the business name are extremely important. Colleagues at Moz Search Engine Optimization conducted a detailed study that confirmed that The name of the company is the most important factor if you want to get to the top of the bar in local search.
You can quickly increase your visibility by optimizing the company name. Another study showed that after optimizing the name, it only takes a week for your ranking to improve
So why don't you want to optimize your username to make it relevant? Again, Google Maps is not for webmasters and business owners, but for users. Name optimization can no longer be further from focusing on the user.
The guidelines for presenting your business to Google say: "Unnecessary information in your business name is not permitted and could result in profile suspension."
Google Maps users could report you or be fired by an algorithm. It is true that there is a lot of spam on Google Maps, but the situation is still improving as these unnecessary items are constantly removed from the maps.
TIP: We'll help you optimize your business name to get the most out of your positions.
Distance factor in Google Maps results
After only the relevant results are displayed, the distance comes into play.
This is probably the most important factor to consider when optimizing locally, as the search results page and the list of 3 local businesses shown are constantly changing based on the user's location. There is not much that can be done to optimize the distance.
Your business location is important to the Google Maps search results page.
For example, I search for bookstores here while Google tracks my location.
Note that the first search result: a) is not organic and b) is not even a bookstore.
This is due to recent changes in the Google Maps Ads advertising service, which we will return to later. We will now focus on organic search results.
By default, Google Maps profiles are organized by user location. The first profile in position "A" is the closest and most prominent, and positions "B" and "C" are offered in case you need more options.
You may have experienced first-hand how important the distance factor is in local search results.
Many users are encouraged to search for businesses near them by Google Autosuggest, especially when searching on a mobile device.
As you can see, the image shows three separate auto-suggested search results for the words "near me." It's almost as if Google wants you to use Maps to find local businesses.
In Maps, only the businesses that are currently visible on the map on your screen will appear on the search results page. This means that not every bookstore in the city will be on the results page.
Google will only show users results from the site they're interested in, and there's no good chance they'll see results outside of that site. If they want to see more results, they need to adjust the map to show a larger area.
Significance factor in Google Maps results
The significance factor is the most difficult to explain. Google's documentation states that prominence depends on how well-known your business is online as well as offline.
Web results of your company, reviews in the service My business on Google, backlinks and articles help improve your position in local search, and especially in Google Maps.
As mentioned above, your location is important, but it is not the only key to success.
Not every user has location sharing enabled on their device, but all profiles on Google Maps (not just those near the user) are available virtually anywhere in the world.
Let's call the results with the distance factor "evaluated" results.
Google already considers these results relevant, so only the factor of prominence remains for evaluation. According to Google's guidelines, it evaluates based on how well known companies are online and offline.
For example, in the image below you can see the results for "theater" in Bratislava:
It is a highly competitive market. You may notice that the results are sorted by rating and the best rated organic result is DGA New York Theater, a theater rated 106 reviews and 4,5 stars.
From this it may seem that prominence is a clear concept. You need a 4,5+ star rating to get to the rating list. All the theaters in the list are very well known.
But once you have a place on this list, the separate arrangement of results does not depend on the rating or the overall popularity.
In this we can observe the "marketing" part of Google Maps.
I also looked for companies on the other side of the world (which excluded the distance factor). Google Maps did not show results that are based on how far they are from the center of my screen, and all of them were relevant.
This is where it gets interesting.
If you look at the second search result in the image above, you may notice that it's Broadway. The New York Broadway Theater is second in the rankings, although it is rated by more than 3200 reviews and has a better overall rating (4,7 stars).
After all, it's Broadway. Undoubtedly better known, if not the most famous theater in the city or even in the country. In addition, it has many more reviews with better overall ratings and is certainly talked about by more people online than the DGA Theater, which is in first place.
It is not known what weighs most on the significance factor. In this particular case, the Google Maps algorithm did not take rating or popularity into account - but why?
We can only find the answer in the quality of profile optimization on Google My Business.
How Google Maps and Google My Business work together
Some readers already know that I love Google My Business. In my opinion, maintaining a profile on this service is best SEO (search engine optimization) price-benefit comparison tactics.
My Business on Google and Google Maps are Google products, have the same user interface, and are differently linked. Therefore, I would now like to explain the differences between them.
My Business on Google is a business database, and Google Maps is an online mapping service.
In Google My Business, you must create and claim your business profile, complete it, update it, and more.
You can only fill in the address, phone number and opening hours in Google Maps. Without a profile in the Google My Business database, where you would provide more information, your profile will remain on Maps with only a brief mention of your name and location.
TIP: Don't have a business profile based on my Google business yet? We will create and optimize it for you in a better position in search.
Do I need a Google My Business profile to sign up for Google Maps?
The short answer is no.
Nevertheless, I advise you to create a profile. Of course, you can still register your business on Google Maps in a few moments without having a Google My Business profile.
But consider the following: A profile in My Business is a good opportunity. It's an opportunity to raise the profile of your business and provide more information to customers (and Google). It will also help you stand out in the sea of other search results.
If users aren't looking for you specifically (and most don't), Google will offer them a list of multiple businesses. No details about your business, no reviews and ratings, no highlighted products and services, no profile updates will never select you from the list.
Your business may be on Maps without a My Business profile, but the two services work best together. You'll get a good rating from Google just when you use both services at the same time.
Good tip: When adding a business to Google Maps, claim it
When you add your business to Maps, you'll see a button labeled "Claim this business."
How to optimize your Google My Business profile for Google Maps
Now that you know how important it is to have a My Business profile, it's time to talk about optimization.
The key rule is to provide as much information as you can, because it's the easiest way to make yourself visible to Google. Not every piece of information will be relevant to the evaluation, and the ones that can really help you are best left unoptimized.
Two clear examples are:
- Description of your company It will not be indexed for evaluation purposes, so you have no reason to optimize it with keywords.
- While you can optimize business hours by adding 24-hour traffic to the top of the search results page, if your business isn't always open, it can lead to negative reviews.
TIP: My Business can help you rate on Google Maps by increasing your relevance.
Name, address, phone number, and area code optimization
To get the most out of your Google Maps profile, you need to make sure that your information in My Business and Google Maps matches the information on your business page linked to these services.
Once you claim a business on Google My Business, you'll be able to manually edit everything Google knows about you.
Important is: If you have a website, it should definitely include your business name, address, phone number, and area code. When entering this information, be sure to enter it exactly as it appears on your My Business and Google Maps profiles.
You can make a mistake very easily, you can enter the number or address a little differently and then you Google may penalize.
I've already explained the risks of optimizing a business name (always use your legal name to avoid penalties). As for the phone number and area code, these can be filled in easily and there are no tricks about this information.
TIP: However, you can use the following trick when entering the address.
If you own a stone shop from which you carry out your activity, you must try to list its address in as much detail as possible.
Go to the Google My Business dashboard, then to the information, then enter your most accurate business information.
If you're working from a specific room, you can enter it here, but it's a good idea to use a separate address bar. It has no effect on ratings, but it is mainly used to make it easier for customers to find you.
If you do business in services (such as plumbing), you need to optimize the area for which you provide services instead of an address.
In My Business, scroll to the Serviced Area section and add relevant locations. You can choose from a list of cities, regions, and metropolitan areas, and add twenty items.
If you provide services for a specific area but also work from a specific location, you can add both options.
If you provide services, you can name them in the My Business profile taskbar. Don't be shy and add them all.
With each item, you become more optimized and customer focused. You can use 300 words to describe and you can also add prices.
With a completed list of services, you become relevant to various searches and provide the customer who found you with accurate information about what you offer.
When you add the appropriate type of service to the right category, you'll start appearing in search results for users searching for specific services on Google Maps.
It's similar with the Products section of My Business - this is one of the best ways to become more relevant to Google.
The Products offer is not currently available to every business owner. Whether you will be able to use this option depends on your address and the type of business.
Adding products can help you get on the Google Products scroll bar, but it won't do much to improve your ranking on Google Maps.
No two companies are the same and what makes you exceptional should definitely be optimized as a matter of priority.
Let's say the user is not just looking for restaurants, but looking for restaurants that offer Wi-Fi. Google, of course, searches for reviews and descriptions, but a reliable way to provide this information to the algorithm is to add the appropriate attributes.
By adding information such as that of your the restaurant serves a buffet breakfast or Wi-Fi, you get a better chance of getting to the search results page when someone searches for these specific attributes.
In addition, this will provide the customer with more information on the search results page. Take this as an opportunity to warm them up and get their attention.
How your website affects ranking in Google Maps
The most important question is whether you even need your own website to take a position on Google Maps.
In a word - no.
You don't even need it to edit your Maps profile (you can do this with Google My Business), and it's not a prerequisite for a position on Maps.
However, in the 21st century, it is good to have your own website. If you already have a website, there are several ways to gain an advantage over your competitors.
TIP: A higher website position contributes to a better visibility of your Google business profile.
Make sure your website adapts quickly
This means you want your page to fit any device and screen size. Your Google Maps profile includes a link to your site, and almost 60% of searches take place on mobile devices.
So, if customers on Maps get to your website, where they have to bring everything together, which has broken links or is slow, your ranking on Google Maps will deteriorate.
Fill in the keywords on the website
You can also use your website to improve your ranking on Google Maps by customizing your local search page. Of course, this will help your website get a better position on Google Search, but it can also affect where your business profile gets on Google Maps.
Add local keywords to the main pages of your site, such as your homepage, information page, or contact page. You can happily optimize your website, so you can (and should) tell search engines about your location.
You can also add local keywords to your products and services page, and even to blog posts and not only to page titles, but also to headlines, text, image labels, subheadings, and URLs.
Proving Google that you're dominant in your business can help Google place your profile on a specific location in Google Maps.
Embed a map on your Google website
A long time ago, before 2018, adding a map to a page was the best way to improve Google rankings.
The API itself could be used for free and brought great benefits to local SEO. If you're trying to improve your business, you can embed Google Maps on most landing pages. This process has been shown to work and help your site jump in the rankings.
But we seem to have taken advantage of this local SEO too much because the Google Maps API is no longer free, and you need to create a paid account to use it.
On the one hand, this means that it's harder to implement Google Maps on every landing page, as we've done so far. On the other hand, each paid Google Cloud account will receive a $ 200 credit, so it's still possible to add Google Maps to your site and contact page.
These two sites are much more likely to help you search specifically for your business, but they can also help you rank better in search results when you enter certain local keywords. In this case, Google Maps can help you.
Well, it's not always like that. Google Maps makes room for a number of ads that dominate the top of the search results.
Let's look at which of the benefits of Google Ads advertising could help promote your brand.
Google Maps Ads to improve your rating
As with any PPC campaign (Pay Per click, an online marketing model where advertisers pay for click-only advertising), ads on Google Maps search results show priority over organic results, usually one or two at a time. To have an ad on Google Maps, you must first claim your Google My Business and create an account on Google Maps. Google Ads. In Google Ads, you then pay for the campaign.
As with CPC campaigns (Cost Per Click - the same as PPC), advertising on Google Maps has a clear advantage - it is above other results. The difference is that in this case, the ad is linked to your Google My Business account and not to your website.
There are several ways your PPC results may appear on Google Maps.
Ads in search results
If you use a mobile device to search Google Maps for a business or service in your area, the search result will be the top-ranked business closest to your location.
If you want to get to the top of search in a particular location, Google Maps offers a paid service.
Obviously, the ads will immediately improve your clickthrough rate (CTR) and bring in a large number of new clicks.
In an example I've used before to show how Google Maps sorts results by distance, Veg life is a paid advertisement. That's why it's first in search results on both my computer and mobile device, and it's not even relevant to my particular search.
Although Google's algorithm seeks to ensure that paid ads appear only in a balanced and fair way in relevant search results, we still see that your ad can reach other searches.
Promoted pins are another type of paid ad and are a great way for customers to notice you in Maps. Unlike ads in search results, these highlighted pins pop up on the map even when the user is not searching for anything.
What your icon will look like depends on the type of business or enterprise you are trying to promote.
Point-of-sale marketing is actually the placement of such advertisements on the company's website, which inform the customer about special offers. This can be, for example, a "buy one and get the other for free" promotion or a discount on a specific product.
In this example, we can see that the pin itself indicates the default profile in Google My Business, but when a user clicks on it, they come across special offers.
To maximize the effectiveness of your ads and visibility on Google Maps, an advertiser can allow all three types of ads. Of course, you can choose which ad is best for you, because the more ad types you choose, the more expensive the service will be.
Track location in Google Maps search results
Appearing at the top of Google Maps search is not a common SEO goal, but you can still track your progress.
Google Maps works much like any other search engine and can be used with the app Rank Tracker.
To track your ratings on Google Maps, you need to go to the Preferences section, then click Preferred search engines and add Google Maps here.
From now on, your keywords will be tracked separately on Google Maps.
Of course, when trying to place on Google Maps, you need to track your rankings in specific geographic areas. Just click Add Custom next to the Google Maps button in the list of search engines.
Add the address you want to track to the menu that appears. You'll then be able to track local ratings at your business location. If you want to use more addresses, you need to create more projects (you can create as many projects as you want in Rank Tracker).
Once you add keywords to your tracking, you need to start tracking their respective search results pages and their visibility on Google Maps.
Now you can see how the positions of your keywords on Google Maps have changed over time and, if necessary, make corrections.
If you've seen a steady but slow decline, check out your Google My Business profile. Make sure you haven't received worse reviews or updated your business information to stay relevant to your customers.
S We'll help you optimize for Google Maps. With a little marketing know-how, your business will start appearing in more searches and move up the Google Maps search results overall.