For any business with a physical location, ranking highly on Google Maps is critical for driving foot traffic and sales. Google Maps has become the go-to resource for consumers to discover and research local businesses.
In fact, according to a study by Search Engine Journal, over 76% of searches on Google have local intent. This means the searcher is looking for a local business or service near them.
So, how can you optimize your business’s presence on Google Maps to attract more local customers?
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk through key tactics to improve your Google Maps rankings, get found by more local searchers, and ultimately drive more in-person visits and sales.
Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
The first step is making sure you have claimed and fully optimized your free Google Business Profile (previously called Google My Business). This profile is your digital storefront on Google and is a key factor in your Google Maps presence.
Here are some key things you need to do:
- Claim your listing – Search for your business on Google Maps and claim your GBP listing if you haven’t already. Verify by phone, email, or postcard.
- Completely fill out your business info – Include your business name, full address, phone number, website, hours, photos, services, products, etc.
- Select accurate categories – Choose relevant categories so customers can easily find your business.
- Write an engaging business description – Briefly describe what you do, highlight your expertise, mention your service areas.
- Add great photos and videos – Show your location, products, services, staff.
- Respond to reviews – Monitor and reply to Google reviews to boost your rating.
- Post updates – Share news, events, offers, and more through posts.
Having a complete and optimized GBP profile signals relevance and authority on Google Maps.
Optimize Your Website for Local SEO
Your website is the next key piece of your local SEO strategy. Ensure your site targets local customers with relevant keywords and content.
- Conduct keyword research – Identify keywords customers use to find local businesses like yours.
- Create location-focused content – Blog about your city, neighborhood, and local events.
- Optimize with keywords – Naturally work local keywords into pages. Don’t over-optimize.
- Highlight business info – Include your address, hours, contact details on site.
- Get local citations – Have your NAP listed on other directories like Yelp.
- Build local links – Earn links from local sites to boost authority.
An optimized website establishes you as a trusted, authoritative local business.
Embed a Google Map on Your Website
Embed a Google Map on your Contact Us page to provide directions to your location.
This helps reinforce to Google your real-world location and makes it easy for visitors to find you.
Use Local SEO Schema Markup
Implement schema markup like LocalBusiness, GeoCoordinates, OpeningHours, etc. to identify your business locations better.
This helps search engines understand your local relevance for ranking purposes.
Get Customer Reviews
Collect and monitor customer reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and other platforms.
Reviews influence local SEO rankings, so the more positive reviews the better. Respond professionally to any negative reviews.
Analyze Your Local SEO Performance
Regularly check your local SEO metrics to identify issues and opportunities:
- Monitor rankings for target keywords in your area.
- Review your local website traffic and conversions.
- Check clicks, driving directions and calls from GBP listing.
- Assess reviews and review volume over time.
Use this data to refine your local SEO strategy.
Promote Your Local Business Listings
The more exposure your optimized GBP and other listings get, the better.
- Link to your GBP and listings from your website footer.
- Share your listings in your email newsletters.
- Promote your listings on local social media channels.
- Run paid ads driving to your GBP.
Partner With Other Local Businesses
Partner with complementary local businesses on co-marketing campaigns, local events, or referral programs.
This can expand your reach to new audiences and provide SEO benefits.
Interact With Customers on Google Maps
Reply to customer questions and reviews on your GBP listing. Check-in when at your business location.
This shows customers you are attentive and encourages engagement.
Optimizing your Google Maps presence is vital for any local business to attract nearby customers. Key tips include:
- Filling out and verifying your Google Business Profile
- Building an optimized website targeting local keywords
- Using schema markup to identify your business locations
- Embedding a Google Map on your site with directions
- Actively collecting and monitoring customer reviews
- Analyzing your local SEO metrics to refine efforts
- Promoting your listings across channels
- Partnering with complementary local businesses
- Interacting with customers directly on Google Maps
By appearing prominently in Google Maps for searches like “restaurants near me”, you can drive more foot traffic and sales from local customers.
What strategies have you found most effective for improving your Google Maps presence? Let me know in the comments!