Google Maps Ranking is one of the most important aspects of local SEO, as it significantly increases the reach and visibility of a company. Moreover, being displayed on the first page of Google Maps results can generate more customer visits and conversions. Hence, optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) is an essential part of any online marketing strategy.
Currently, when a user searches for something like “Italian restaurant Athens” in the search engine, they are presented with several types of results: advertisements at the very top, Google Maps with business cards of certain companies and organic results below them. Ranking well in Google Maps means having your company’s location featured as a result within the Google pack, which consists of three listings and takes up most of the space on the SERP.
This position brings a lot of traffic and conversions to the businesses featured in it, as more than 85% of people who search for a local product or service on Google Maps visit them within 24 to 48 hours. This is why ranking high in Google Maps is a must for local SEO.
The main factors that determine a local business’s position on Google Maps are relevance, distance and prominence. Relevance refers to the extent to which a given local listing matches the query of a searcher, while distance is all about how close the business is to the searcher. Prominence, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to define. According to Google’s documentation, it depends on how widely a business is known both offline and online (through GMB reviews, website organic positions etc.), as well as its popularity on social media.
Local citations and NAP consistency are also major ranking factors for Google Maps, as they indicate how trustworthy your business is. To get a strong and stable presence in local search results, you need to make sure that all of your citations are consistent and up-to-date, as well as include the correct NAP information. It is also a good idea to include as many relevant keywords as possible in your citations and optimize them for Google Maps, so that you’re showing up for searches related to your business’s services and products.
Moreover, in order to improve your local SEO, you need to regularly monitor your progress. You can do this manually by performing manual Google searches – preferably in Incognito Mode and without being logged into your account – or with the help of various rank monitoring tools that have a dedicated section for analyzing and tracking Google Maps rankings. Some of these tools offer a full report on how your local rankings have improved or declined, and some even allow you to compare your local search results with those of your competitors, so that you can learn what needs to be done to achieve higher Google Maps ranking.