Studies show that 97% of consumers go online to find a local business or local services. When someone performs such a search, there are three potential ways your business can show up in the search results. The first is with a link to your website. The second is with Google Ads. And the third, and perhaps most important way is with Google My Business. These are the maps links that you see on search results.
Not only do these results always display on the front page they provide searchers a quick way to find your information and contact you. Often times someone performing a search does not want to view your entire website they just want your contact info or they want to read your reviews.
It has become increasingly difficult to rank highly on Google My Business. Google used to feature 7 local business in their Google My Business section. This was recently changed to only 3 local businesses. Not to fear, below we will cover tips to improve your rankings in Google My Business for specific keywords.
If you haven’t already, the first step is to claim your Google Maps listing. After you have done that you can start adding information and photos. We advise that either you or an SEO expert do some keyword research before filling out your profile. This will help you focus on keywords that are being used the most.
To perform keyword research with Google, you will need to sign up for a Google Ads account. You can of course use another keyword research tool if you have one. On Google Ads you don’t have to actually spend any money to use the keyword tool but you will need a profile.
Generally speaking this keyword research should be part of a much larger SEO strategy. You should aim to gather at least 10 keywords that you will target on your Google My Business listing and even more importantly your website.
As you gather your keywords, try to keep in mind a strategy that will include optimizing pages of your website for those keywords in addition to adding them to your Google My Business listing. For example a search for ‘catering sacramento’ in the Google Keyword Tool returns the following results:
Using these results, we can determine that it would be beneficial to include specific cuisines that a company caters for such as ‘Mexican’, ‘BBQ’ or ‘Wedding’. We can include these in our Google My Business description and add them as specific services that we offer under the ‘Services’ tab. We should also strive to optimize one page on our website for that same keyword.
Our recent research indicates that all of the businesses ranking in the top 3 for a keyword had these things in common:
A complete profile
The more complete your profile is the better chance you have of ranking high for specific keywords. This means making sure all details including contact info are accurate. Having the same contact info details displayed on every page of your website can help establish your company as a legitimate local business and can help your rankings.
A high number of positive reviews
This is perhaps the most important aspect of your Google My Business listing. You will notice that generally speaking the businesses ranking high in Google My Business have a high amount of positive reviews. We have put together an eBook explaining some creative ways you can collect reviews from customers. If you are interested in a copy please use our contact form with the subject ‘Reviews EBook Request’.
Reviews dating back one to three years ago
This makes sense as we already know that Google uses time to determine the authority and ranking of specific domains. Getting a large number of reviews quickly will still help your rankings but it will be somewhat weighted and compared to the date of other reviews.
A high ranking for the search keyword in Google search results (1-20 position)
As we highlighted earlier. The ranking of a website for a keyword impacts the ranking of that business for that same keyword in Google My Business. Optimizing a Google Maps listing for a specific keyword involves optimizing the business website for that same keyword.
A website blog with content articles
Again, this is part of a much larger SEO strategy but it’s importance cannot be understated. There are various ways a business can produce relevant content that not only improves their rankings but also informs online users.
Over 15 additional listings in local service directories
Google looks to verify that your business is indeed local and legitimate. Including your information in various directories not only provides some links to your website but improves your overall ranking in Google My Business.
High quality images included in their Google Maps profile (10 or more)
This one cannot be understated. The reason is twofold. Anyone who does find your Google My Business listing will most likely look at your images to get a feel for your company and your services. The other reason is that Google associate’s images with having a more complete profile. And a more complete profile equals better rankings. Be sure to use some of your keywords when naming your image files. Photos can include your logo and pictures of your office, products, etc.
For more specific advice on how your company can improve it’s Google My Business listing or aspects of your website you can use our contact form. Comments are always welcome :D.