Local SEO: How to get your business on Google Maps
If you run your business from a physical location, getting yourself on Google Maps is a must-do. The way people discover businesses is changing and many now search directly within Google Maps if they need to find a certain store, restaurant, or office.
Think about it: if you’re a florist, do you really want your competitor to be the only result on Google Maps when someone is doing a quick search from their car for florists in your area? For local searches it’s almost more important than your website showing up in a normal web search, as people searching within maps are more likely to be on their way to your store right now.
Other reasons to be on Google Maps
Google now blends their search results, meaning that even in a normal web search they will show Google Maps results if they believe the user is looking for a certain location. It is the same as how they’ll show video results if it’s clear that the user is looking for that kind of content. This is creates a good experience for the user, but what it means for you is that you’ll achieve higher visibility online if you’re present across various Google platforms.
And two other great reasons – it’s completely free AND it’s easy to set up. We’re going to show you how right here.
Claiming your listing if you’re already on Google Maps
Some business owners may find that their store already shows up in Google Maps, even though they didn’t do anything. Usually it will be an extremely basic listing, sometimes without any contact details or a full address.
In this case you need to claim your listing and take control of it so it has all of the correct details. Not only will your customers not be able to find you, it looks unprofessional when potential customers see an incomplete listing.
The steps are the same as if you don’t appear on Google Maps yet. The only difference is that you will opt to claim your listing instead of creating a new one.
Getting started with Google Maps in 5 easy steps
The first step is to visit Google My Business and create an account. You will then be asked to type in your business name and address. If it is not already listed, you will have the option to add your business. If your business is listed, claim it.
Next, you will fill in your business details, including name, address, phone number and category. It’s important to assign a category so you can still come up for searches that aren’t your business name.
Follow all the prompts until you reach the end and Google asks you to confirm your details. Double check the information and if all is good, confirm that you manage the business and continue.
Verification is next. If you have provided your telephone number you will be able to receive your verification code instantly. If not, you will have the option to have your code sent in the post. You can also click ‘verify later’ but we recommend verifying as soon as possible for the best search results.
You will then be taken to your Google My Business dashboard. This is where you control everything about how your business appears across Maps, Google+ and other Google products. Add your opening hours or edit your existing information – the more detail, the better!
That’s it! You now control your business listing on Google Maps.
Beyond set up: Optimising your Google Maps listing
If you completed the five steps above, that’s great news; your business will now appear on Google Maps. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your listing even further. If you want to really optimize, try some of the following tips.
- Add photos: Photos give your potential customers an idea of what they can expect from you. If you’re a restaurant, add pictures of your delicious meals, cocktails, menus, and ambient setting. If you’re a florist, upload a selection of your best arrangements. If you’re an accounting firm, upload some team photos to humanise the business. You get the point. Photos are a great visual way to sell your business.
- Get reviews: This is a little harder to do and tactics will vary. You could just keep on with your wonderful service and hope people will leave you good reviews. But to speed things up a bit, try asking people to review your business, or even offer incentives for those leaving reviews.
- Do Google+: Just as you would manage your Facebook page, keep your Google+ page up to date and interesting. Update people about specials and promotions, post your latest service or menu, or link to articles that are relevant to your industry. You will automatically have a Google+ business page when you set up Google My Business, so no need to even create an account.
- Interact with customers: If someone leaves feedback on your Google+ page, respond to them. If people leave good or bad reviews, respond to them too! Interacting with your customers builds relationships, even if their feedback was negative to begin with.
Do you have any other Google Maps tips to add?