People are increasingly using Google to search locally. In fact of the millions of daily searches over one-third are now for local businesses. Do you know where you rank for your local search term? It matters when being just a few spots lower on their front page can mean thousands and thousands of lost dollars in business. Depending on where you live, Google local maps will display either 7, 5 or 3 businesses in this search result.
Here are the top 10 factors that lead to a Google local pack listing:
1. Claiming your business.
Submit your business to Google local listings if it is not. If it is already displayed, click to claim your listing. You will be able to update information after confirming it is your business from a postcard mailed to your business.
2. Have a local address.
Sounds simple enough but sometimes the aggregators that Google uses lists corporate addresses and not the physical business location within the city.
3. Make sure you have the correct categories selected.
When filling out your business profile use relevant category tags. Keep it simple, such as “pizza” instead of “gourmet pizza” and use other search terms relevant to your business. In this example for a pizza restaurant I would use “Italian,” “sandwich,” “subs” “pizza delivery.” Think of other terms people would search locally which are relevant to your business.
4. Place your business category, product or service in your title.
If your business is named “Giovanni’s,” it could be any sort of business. When claiming your business add “Giovanni’s Pizza and Subs” to the title.
5. Closeness of your business to the city center.
Not much you can do about this but if other factors are optimized you can rank higher than a business closer to the city center.
6. Product/Service keywords in your Google Place Pages Description
Completely fill out your description page with all relevant information about your business, products and services. Use relevant keywords just as you did when selecting categories.
7. Adding photos to your Google Place Page
The more photos the better. Not only of the outside of your business, but of your products, services and interior. You can also add video when allowed. Adding pictures will also increase the ratio of real customers to views on your listing. This should be considered a necessary item, not a choice.
8. Customer reviews.
Reviews on Google maps aren’t as harsh as we sometimes find on Yelp. Ask your customers to write reviews on your listing. The reviews aren’t filtered as they are on Yelp for “review stuffing” so if one was so inclined…
9. Local phone number.
If you have multiple locations, make sure each location has their own listing with the correct local phone number. Many of you have multiple phone lines and you need to make sure the main number listed on your website matches the Google map listing number.
10. Your website.
Your businesses website should have the same information as your Google map listing. Is the address clearly located on the homepage along with a phone number? Do you have photos on your site? The number of incoming links to your own site also lets Google know your site has importance and can affect the positioning in the map listings. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, other local business and review sites all count as incoming links.
These are what we believe are 10 of the most important factors to getting your site ranked in Google maps. Google states there are over 200+ factors that they use but from our experience, focus on these ten first before you go searching for a search engine marketing company to bump you up another spot or two.