13 Tips to Improve Google Maps Ranking
Zachary Woods, SEO/Digital Marketing Expert
Marketing a business takes more than just throwing a webpage online.
It’s important to have a strategy that works, especially when you offer local services or have a brick and mortar store.
Search engine optimization needs to be a big part of any website marketing plan. Local optimization is key to attracting local business. This will also help you place higher in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Keep reading for my top 13 tips to improve your local listings!
What is Local SEO Optimization?
Local optimization, or local SEO, means following the right formula to market a business to customers in your area. That includes creating a strategy to rank high in search engine results for your geographical area.
Search engines want to give their visitors the most accurate results. They use algorithms to choose each webpage’s ranking. It’s crucial to build your website not just for your customers but for search engines as well.
Its a Jungle out there. Be found!
1. Your Site Must Be User-Friendly
Nobody likes to be kept waiting. A webpage that takes 400 milliseconds longer than another loses visitors. Visitors are too impatient to wait even an extra second. If something faster is available, they will abandon your site to go there.
Customers don’t want to navigate through a confusing site. If they can’t find the service they’re looking for, they’ll go someplace else.
Search engines and customers alike expect a dynamic, informative, and entertaining site. This takes planning, time, and energy to get right.
It’s vital your website works well on all devices. More than 40% of web browsing is from mobile phones and tablets in the US. Worldwide, the majority of searches are on mobile devices. If your site isn’t mobile user-friendly you lose out. You could lose more than half your potential customers.
2. Create Relevant and Unique Content
Always give people information that they want, but leave them wanting more. Provide information and entertainment relevant to your business.
Visitors are on your site because they are looking for something. Make sure they find it on your site before they look elsewhere. They don’t want to spend hours trying to find what they’re looking for.
It should be easy for them to find what they want. Make your site straightforward and searchable. You want to provide them with as much relevant information as you can, without the important stuff getting lost in the fluff.
It’s easy to ensure this doesn’t happen. Don’t give them fluff. Everything on your site should be easy to access and pertinent.
This isn’t only important for visitors to your site but also for search engine algorithms. They want to return the best results possible when someone performs a search. You’ll rank higher in SERPs if you provide content applicable to the search.
3. Local Optimization Descriptions and Titles
One of the most crucial aspects of your local optimization is the title and description of each page.
Don’t put generic information in your title and description. It needs to be relevant to the products and services your business offers.
Title and description are how visitors and search engines form their first impression. You want and need them to have a good one. You need to get their attention and compel them to explore your site.
Title tags will identify what your page is about in search engine results. It’s an HTML element that gives potential customers a clickable headline in SERPs.
Like the headline of a newspaper, tags tell readers what they’ll find in the content. You want to get their attention and let them know what information they’ll find on the attached page.
The tag should be concise and pinpoint the subject of the content of this link. Your title tag will determine what is displayed when you appear in search engine results. A good title can be the deciding factor on whether someone clicks on the link or not.
Google and other search engines show approximately 60 characters of the title tag. It should be relevant and not stuffed full of non-relevant keywords.
Meta Description Tags
This is your opportunity to convince web surfers to check out your page. It’s not going to get you ranked higher in SERPs, but it is your chance to advertise and summarize your content.
Your meta description tags should be approximately 50-300 characters. They should be compelling enough to convince a potential visitor that your page is the one to click on.
4. Choose the Right Keywords
Keywords are those words that search engine users type in to get results they are looking for. This is one thing that shouldn’t be left to guesswork.
Keywords are researched and utilized in the right combination for the best results. Filling your content with too many keywords can actually hurt your ranking.
You will rank higher in SERPs if you put some research and planning into their placement in content. You need to find the right combination of keywords in the right percentage.
Some SEO experts say that keyword percentage is not important anymore. But when done right, they can be a benefit to your page. Long tail keywords can let search engines recognize your page as relevant.
If you have a local business, you need a Local SEO strategy.
5. Where Are You? Citations Let Others Know
For local SEO optimization, having citations will help. Citations are mentions of your business information online. This includes the name, phone number, and address of your business where your business information appears on apps, websites, and directories.
Name, address, phone number, and webpage address are the main components of citations. They may also include information such as:
- directions to get to your physical business address
- hours your business is open
- other means of contact (email addresses, alternative phone numbers, etc)
- reviews and references
- business information and description of services
- pictures and videos related to business operations
- social media links to your business
- payment methods accepted
There are tools such as Yext and Moz Local to help with business data aggregation. You’ll want to get your business listed in as many directories as possible. This will help your overall ranking in SERPs.
6. Consistency is Important
Search engines like Google prefer seeing consistency, especially when it comes to business contact information. Decide how you’re going write your address, business name, and other contact details. Then stick to it.
If you shorten the word avenue in your address on one directory, do it everywhere listed. Consistency will make sure each citation is attributed to the same business.
Consistency is also important when creating content. Your ranking will improve if your website is consistently updated and improved. Add content regularly. It keeps your content fresh and relevant for visitors and search engines.
7. Google My Business and Bing Places for Business
These two business directories are the places to be. There are many business directory options out there but these two deserve mentioning.
Google My Business requires snail mail confirmation to get listed, but it’s worth the effort. Getting listed here is a priority if you want to rank high in local searches.
Bing Places for Business is also a top rated business directory that will help with your listing in SERPs. It only takes a few steps to get listed.
8. Reviews and References
Word of mouth and positive reviews are the greatest marketing tool you have. Nielson reports 92% of consumers prefer recommendations above any other form of marketing.
Give opportunities online for customers to review your services. Business directories, Facebook and your business website are great places to offer this.
9. Interact and Engage
It’s important to interact with customers and potential clients online and in your local community.
Use social media to your advantage. Connect with customers and other local businesses. Create contests, posts, and content on social media promoting your location. Respond and interact with those who leave reviews.
Every time you interact with others on social media you give yourself more exposure. Followers have more reason to like you.
10. Community Exposure and Interaction
Getting local exposure in media can be an effective SEO strategy. Magazines, newspapers, and local blogs mentioning your business can raise your local relevance.
You can get noticed by more individuals online and by search engines. It’s even better if you can get a backlink out of it.
Become involved in local events. Engage your neighborhood and community as often as you can. Local blog writers, newsletters, and newspapers attending events can get you great exposure.
11. Backlinks for Local Optimization
Backlinks can raise your relevance for search engines. As more websites in your area link back to your site as a reference you’ll become an authority. Search engines like Google like when you are linked to by other sites.
Connect with other local businesses and offer a quid pro quo. Offer to backlink to their website if they will backlink to yours. This can be beneficial for both companies.
You don’t want these backlinks to be with your competition, obviously. Find non-competing businesses that are willing to make that connection with you.
12. Encourage Visitors to Explore
Dwell time can help your ranking on search engines. This is the amount of time each visitor spends exploring your site. They aren’t going to stay long if you don’t have something to make them want to stay.
Videos can be a great way to get them to hang out on your site for a while. They watch the video and you get a longer dwell time on your site. Make sure they are videos that are informative and entertaining.
You want them to stay and to come back. By giving them great video content you can build a loyal and wide fan base.
13. Give Them Something Awesome To Talk About
Provide outstanding customer service. Give them a dynamic site with intriguing content.
Update your website blog with local information that will draw local visitors to your site repeatedly and give them a reason to share your post.
Intriguing and dynamic blog content is vital. There are millions of blogs out there in cyberspace. You have to make yours stand out.
You Can Be a Local Celebrity
If you plan your local optimization right, you can become the first place people in your area think of, and the first one search engines list in their results. You can be a local celebrity in your field by creating the right local SEO strategy.
Contact me for more information on how to start building your company’s celebrity status today.