Google offers fantastic opportunities for businesses to get noticed, recognized, and found thanks to its online directory tools like Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business, and Google Maps. More and more, local searchers are using Google to look up businesses in their area for information they need quickly and conveniently.
The majority of your prospective customers still use Google to find local businesses near them––businesses where they are guaranteed to spend their money. In fact, about 80% of Google searches with “local intent” end in conversion. That’s huge.
This begs the question: How can you make your business stand out on Google Maps?
The answer? Google Maps marketing. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is simply the optimization of your business’s presence in Google Maps, with the goal of increasing your brand’s visibility. The goal is to increase your business’s visibility in order to rank higher on Google Search and ultimately increase your traffic.
Why Is Google Maps Marketing Important for Your Business?
It should come as no surprise that Google is by far the most popular search engine. But what about Google Maps? According to statistics, there is weighty evidence that Google Maps is just as important as Google search.
One study found that nearly 70% of smartphone users say they use Google Maps on a daily basis. What’s more, according to Google, 83% of people in the United States who visited a store said they did so after finding it with Google Maps.
If you’re serious about your business’s success on Google, you need to utilize the power of Google Maps marketing.
Before you dive head first into Google Maps, you need to first make sure your business is familiar and optimized with Google Business Profile.
What Is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business (read all about the change here!) is a free platform from Google where local businesses can manage their online presence through Google Maps and search engines.
By using Google Business Profile, you’ll be able to manage your business information, reviews, website, address, and so much more––depending on your industry!
How Do I Get Started With Google Business Profile?
Getting started with Google Business Profile is easy––here’s how to personalize your GBP listing.
#1: Head over to the GBP page and click the Manage Now button.
#2: Create your business listing and name your business profile.
#3: Add as much relevant information about your business as you can––make sure it matches your website.
#4: Verify your profile.
#5. You did it!
How to Optimize Your GBP Profile
Before you get your hopes up about your business immediately ranking high on Google (you’ll get there!), you need to have a firm understanding of how Google Maps rankings work.
Factors That Increase Your Rankings On Google:
Here is your Google Rankings crash course; there are roughly eight ranking factors that contribute to ranking in Google Maps:
- GBP signals
- Link signals
- Review signals
- On-page signals
- Behavioral signals
- Citation signals
- Social signals
Google’s local algorithm is in charge of analyzing these signals based on:
Proximity––How close is the business to the searcher?
Prominence––How popular or authoritative is the business in the area?
Relevance––How closely does the listing match the searcher’s query?
How to Optimize for Google Maps
To kick off your optimization, make sure that your business information is completely filled out, and as accurate as possible. This includes adding descriptions for each service that your business offers. These are the three factors you should focus on if you want to make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time:
#1: Online Reviews
Reviews are one of the most important ways to build prominence for your business; they make your business look professional and authentic––which encourages continual foot traffic, and thus, more positive reviews.
#2: Build Local Citations
If you want to rank in Google Maps, building links is one of the most important ways to do so. Links are still one of the largest ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, and local links have a much higher probability of driving actual business.
#3: Fight Off GBP Spam
Fighting off GBP spam is less of an optimization method and more of a tactic. The goal is not to do something better than your competitors but to completely remove them from Google rankings.
To remove GBP spam, head over to Google Maps, find the listing, and click on “Suggest an Edit.”
Depending on the issue, you can either select “change the name” or “remove the place” from Google Maps. If you’re dealing with spam, you will need to select “Remove this place” from the drop-down list.
Unfortunately, submitting a GBP spam post edit doesn’t always cut it. If you really want to take care of these GMB spam posts once and for all, you’ll need to file a complaint with Google Business Profile. Make sure you have recorded evidence of the spammy GBP listings so that you can support your claim.
Track Results With GBP Analytics
Tracking your results is one of the most important pieces of marketing with Google. In order to work out the kinks and fine-tune your business listings, you need to know what works, and what doesn’t.
Most of your profile analytics can be found in your Google Business Profile account. From there you should be able to find information such as:
- Which search queries triggered your listing
- How often your listing appears in Google search results
- Where customers are requesting business information from
- Which days of the week you get the most traffic/calls
- How many photos have been viewed, and how this compares to your competitors
You should be aware that GBP Analytics does not offer any sort of rank tracking. You need to do the homework, and adjust your GBP listing after tracking results of what’s working for your business.
Getting acquainted with Google’s algorithm seems like more than enough for one day, add in Google Maps marketing and you’ve got yourself a handful! If you need help with all things Google, contact Uptick Marketing––we’re happy to help!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 26, 2020 and has been edited to reflect updates in information