In the last few years, Google has greatly increased the importance of Google Maps. Whether your clients are using the maps app on their phone or the maps tab on their computer, more and more phone calls, requests for directions, and website visits are coming from maps results. Even users who are using the standard search feature on Google are often routed to the map results when searching for local businesses. For this reason, it is very important for businesses to have a Google My Business listing set up and optimized.
How To Set Up A Google My Business Listing
Google Maps uses Google My Business listings as the source of their results. So if your business isn’t already set up with Google My Business this is a good place to start. Simply go to Google My Business to begin creating a listing. Even if you and your team haven’t set up a listing, an incomplete listing for your business may already exist. Google pulls some information from other listing sites to create listings in the event that a business hasn’t created its own listing yet. Start by creating a new listing and filling out as much information as possible. Once done, you will need to verify your listing by mail, email, or phone. This is Google’s way of ensuring that a listing is valid.
How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Like optimizing your website, ranking factors come from a variety of sources. Having a website that is already ranking well on Google linked to your Google My Business profile can increase your maps ranking. But within Google My Business there are a few features that can affect how often it appears in search. Generally, Google prioritizes geographic distance when showing map results. If your company serves clients outside of a brick and mortar location you can add service areas. Google recently updated how they view service areas. But the goal is to set this section up as accurately as possible. Do not try and create fake listings for locations you do not have or list areas you don’t serve. These can actually hurt your rankings when customers leave bad reviews based on misinformation.
How To Handle Reviews
Another key ranking factor for Google and a conversion factor for users is your reviews. Google always displays a star count on listings, so having good reviews helps. It can be challenging for new companies to get good reviews. That is why it is recommended to ask customers directly after a transaction to have them review you on Google. Some companies even have an iPad or table ready to be used by clients. It is important to respect your customers and not solicit fake good reviews. For negative reviews, there are a few strategies. If you believe the review contradicts Google’s content guidelines, you may be able to get it removed. Otherwise, it is recommended that you respond to negative reviews respectfully and fight negative reviews by getting more good reviews.
Google My Business Posts
Another feature that is often underused by businesses is Google My Business postings. A company can post offers, deals, or information through Google My Business which may bring more eyes to your listing and also inspire users to convert and visit your website or call you. Posts can be fleshed out by including relevant images and calls to action.
For more information on Google My Business and ranking factors follow our monthly blog that covers a variety of Google updates.