Google Maps users are looking for quick and reliable results, whether they want to find a restaurant, a hair salon or the nearest supermarket. Securing a spot in the local search pack (the top 3 results that appear when someone searches for a particular type of business) will significantly increase sign-ups, site visits and phone calls for your company. Google, like all search engines, has fine-tuned algorithms that determine which results to display for a given query. These algorithms are constantly updated, but many of the ranking factors are predictable.
The three most important ranking factors for Google Maps are relevance, distance and prominence. Relevance is determined by ensuring that your business listing information matches the words of the search query. This includes things like your NAP data (name, address, phone number), business category and attributes. You can further enhance your listings by using schema markup to add important information that Google may not understand, such as your opening hours.
Prominence is a much harder factor to pin down. Google’s documentation states that prominence is a combination of your reputation, online presence and star rating — as well as other ranking signals, such as your website organic position, GMB reviews, backlinks and more. This is one area where local map SEOs tend to focus their efforts, and there are plenty of things you can do to strengthen your ranking, including review generation campaigns and link-building.
Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast load time. The majority of users will use their phones to look at your website, so a mobile-friendly site will be more likely to rank higher in Maps than an outdated or non-mobile-friendly site.
Google is also looking for consistency between your business listing and your website. This is why it is so important that your NAP data on your website exactly match the NAP data on your Google Business Profile. This is a huge ranking signal, and it’s worth checking your NAP data regularly to make sure that it is accurate.
In addition to ensuring that your NAP data is correct, you can also enhance your rankings by creating a unique URL for your website and promoting it everywhere you can. This will help to increase your chances of being found in Maps and will also boost your organic search engine rankings.
It’s also a good idea to embed your Google Maps on your website to show off your location and give your customers a sense of trust. To do this, simply open your business’s Google Business Profile and click on “Share,” then click on the “Embed on website” tab. This will provide you with a code that you can then paste onto your website.