Many people don’t know that Google My Business changed its name some time ago and is now called Google Business Profile.
With that said, if you want to rank high on Google Maps – it is important to understand what truly works. The internet is filled with self-proclaimed local SEO experts who state that they know what works but are more likely to provide shortcuts and poor advice that only wastes time.
Here are some tips that will help you rank on Google Maps.
Use the Right Audit Tool
To improve efficiency and speed up the ranking process, you will want to use the Google My Business Audit Tool and add it to your Google Chrome browser to get valuable information about your competitors, which you can use to your advantage.
Once you start using the Google My Business Audit Tool, you will find it easy to run health checks on any GMB Business Profile in the form of a report that you can then share with your business partners and prospective clients.
You will see that this tool will overlay information on all the listings in the results, including a business’s ratings, reviews, posts, messages, photos, etc. You can then use the information to boost your rankings, as you will have a clear picture of the areas where you need to improve.
The Google My Business Audit Tool also provides you with the most important business details in the GMB listing.
Understand Your Primary Business Category
Several factors come to play when ranking your business on Google Maps. And your primary business category is one of the biggest factors. In fact, this is the number one influential factor that Google will take into consideration when ranking your listing in Google Maps results.
Although it might appear pretty basic that you have to choose the right business category – it might not be as simple as you think.
If you aren’t sure about which business category to choose, you will want to conduct research on your competitors using the GMB Audit Tool. You will want to search for a keyword you want to rank for and then look at the categories your competitors use.
The primary category will be the one with a star next to it. The subsequent categories listed are secondary categories. If some of the categories are relevant to your business, you will want to add them to your listing too.
The underlying reason is that the secondary business categories are seen as the fifth most influential factor in local ranking.
Nonetheless, whichever primary category you decide to choose, you will want to ensure that it is aligned with the content of the page you are listing links to.
Rank Your Business Name
Your business name plays a significant part in ranking your listing on Google Maps. Having the keywords you are targeting in your business name will help you a great deal to rank very high and fast in Google Maps for those keywords.
Many business owners understand and implement this technique, so it is not unusual to see listings with very similar names in search results. You can use this aspect to your advantage as long as you legitimately add keywords to your business name.
It is important to mention here that Google’s guidelines are very clear on this aspect, and they clearly state that the inclusion of unnecessary information in your business name is not allowed – if you do that – you will be violating Google’s guidelines, which is something you will want to avoid doing at all costs.
Your business name should reflect your business’s real-world name – else – your listing could end up being suspended.
Leverage Google Reviews
Your reputation matters if you want to rank number one on Google Maps. If you look for a local business on Google Maps, what is the very first thing you will check before calling them? Of course – we are referring to reviews.
Ideally, you will want to know what people say about the business before you contact them. Online and offline business lives and dies based on their reputation. This aspect is also the primary reason why you must collect positive reviews from your clients in the first place.
The other essential reason is that Google Reviews play a crucial part in how well your business listing ranks on Google Maps. Getting positive reviews will give you a clear advantage, and if customers include relevant keywords that you are targeting in their reviews – it will also help you rank for those keywords.
We recommend contacting every customer you do business with and asking them for a review. Instead of feeling like you are begging, you should know that Google reminds businesses to do the same. You will want to reach out to your customers by emailing them and encouraging them to include relevant keywords in their reviews.
When you reach out to your customers with the review request, you will want to ensure that you include a direct link to your listing review pop-up. This way, it will make it easier for your customer to provide feedback.
Lastly, make sure to respond to all reviews – the positive and the negative ones. Make the feedback to the feedback a personal experience to give your customers the feeling that they matter and that their opinion matters.
You will want to avoid copied and pasted answers. Ideally, you will want to outdo your competitors to get the best potential chances of ranking above them.
You can also use the audit tool to get an overview of their review listing. You will get to know whether they are aggressively using reviews as a strategy and what potential keywords their customers are using to describe their services.