As a business owner, one of the things you have to do is to make sure that your local SEO is in order. Increasing your Google Maps visibility is an important part of that. Otherwise, you may miss some opportunities when customers are looking online for products/services you provide.
But how exactly can you increase your visibility in Google Maps? Below, you are going to find a few simple yet effective strategies you can implement yourself.
Claim your social profiles
Social media is more than a tool to reconnect with friends. It’s also a powerful marketing tool that has paid out quite well. So, if you don’t already have accounts on all major social media platforms, we suggest that you sign up.
However, it’s also important to know that if you want to reach your target demographic, you have to set up social media accounts on the right platforms. For instance, Facebook and LinkedIn are more suitable for B2B marketing than any other platform. So, make sure you know who your clients are.
Each of those buttons will redirect your customer to a social platform page. In this case, this restaurant has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Needless to say, it targets clients from all age groups.
But don’t stop there. Don’t forget about the major review platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Any other local review platforms are also useful.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that all the information on your social media platforms must be the same. It’s essential to remain consistent.
Setting up your social media profiles means that you will increase your visibility. Your customers will have an easier time finding you. Furthermore, your accounts will provide search engines with information about your business. Consequently, their online presence will boost your local SEO.
Optimize Your Website
Having accounts on all major social media platforms is not enough. That may increase your visibility, but it’s not enough to improve your ranking. Search engines need more than a few social media accounts. You must also have a website.
But even if you do have a website for your business, you have to make sure that it’s optimized. Below, you’re going to find a few strategies that will help you achieve that.
In this day and age, customers need to know all the details regarding your business. So, make sure that your website includes a dedicated “Contact Us” page.
It’s vital that your “Contact Us” page contains the name of your business, the address, and the phone number, otherwise known as NAP. You should also add your email address.
If you happen to have 10 offices or fewer, make sure to include the addresses and phone numbers for all of them. In our example (below), this plumbing company has two offices, but the same phone number.
Did you know that 76% of local searches lead to a phone call? That is why your website should be optimized for mobile devices. If your phone number is not clickable, for instance, you may lose some customers.
Think of it this way. If a customer finds your business and wants to give you a call, it would be an inconvenience if they had to close their browser and manually insert your phone number. Or write it down and then dial it. The easiest way would be to find some other business that does have a clickable phone number and use their services. You have to take into account that convenience is a key factor here.
If you don’t know how to make your phone number clickable, Google has a complete guide on how to link phone numbers for click to call.
On your dedicated contact page, it would be best if you added a map of your locations(s) so that your customers can get a sense of where they have to go to get in touch with you.
Furthermore, if your website is optimized for mobile devices, your customers can click on “Get Directions.” Their Google Maps app will guide them to your place of business.
The fact that people choose to use a particular business based on testimonials is not a new concept. We all do it so that we know beforehand if a specific company can be trusted or not. Chances are that your customers will do that too.
Google interprets testimonials as a “trust sign.” It’s a lot like your potential clients in that regard. However, while your customers respond to your testimonials by employing your services/buying your products, Google uses them to give you a ranking boost.
There is more than one search engine out there. The major ones are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. To ”communicate” among each other, there has to be a common language, and that’s precisely what Schema is.
Once you add a Schema markup for local businesses, all the search engines will understand what your website promotes. It also tells Google that you are a local business and not a major brand. Plus, you get a boost in your ranking.
Now, this may be a difficult task for someone who doesn’t have the necessary experience in website optimization. There are tools such as Hall Analysis that can make things easier. However, we can help you with that.
Create Local Content for Your Blog
SEO and blogging go hand in hand, which is why it’s essential that your website includes a blog. For the best possible results, your blog should be hosted on your business’s domain.
If your blog acquires links, so will your main website, and that results in better ranking.
As far as the content on your blog is concerned, there are a few things you should keep in mind. After all, you cannot just start writing about random things.
For starters, it is best if you included local names and neighborhoods. You don’t have to stop there, though. You can also add a few neighboring areas since people will come to the city from suburban and rural areas. If there’s an unofficial name on your block, you could use that too.
It’s also important to write about local news and events. That works on two fronts. One, it will boost your ranking. And two, your customers will be well informed about current events.
Another great idea is to sponsor or take part in an event and share with the community what you have accomplished. Here is an example:
Lastly, it wouldn’t hurt to include some interviews with people that have expertise in your field of activity.
Nevertheless, no matter what you decide to write about, do not concentrate on yourself and your business. People are not interested in reading only about your services/products. They want to know how they can benefit from using your services and how you can help them.
You should also make sure that the content on your blog is original. If you copy content from another website, it will be considered duplicate content. As a result, your visibility in search engines will be affected negatively. In short, duplicate content beats the purpose of having a blog.
A major benefit a blog has is that you can acquire inbound links. One way to do that is to include links to other businesses in your blog articles. In return, they will do the same. Here is a great example:
If you click on any of those names, you will be redirected to the websites of the listed businesses. And it works both ways. When they link your business’s website in their articles, their customers will be led to your website.
Now, as you can probably imagine, you can’t do this with your direct competitors. However, there are probably many related businesses in your area. For instance, if you’re a general contractor, you can easily build a relationship with a hardware store or a lumber supplier. Or if you’re a pastry shop, you can collaborate with a dairy farm or whatever else in the food industry that’s related to your business.
All those links you acquire will improve your SEO, and as a result, you’ll increase your ranking. The higher your business ranks, the better your visibility will be. And that leads to an increase in sales.
Build Local Citations
If your business has a real physical location, you should also build local citations. But what are they, exactly? It’s when your business is mentioned anywhere on the internet, even though there is no actual link to your website. Search engines are smart enough to pick them up.
However, the name of your business is not enough in the mention. It should also include your address, phone number, and website (NAP+W.)
You can build a citation for all your locations, in case you have more than one. However, we urge you to be careful and make sure that all the details in the citations are identical. You have to be consistent.
Now, this topic is a bit more extensive, which is why we put together a full article on how to build local citations and improve your local SEO. For more information, please access the link.
According to research, 81% of people say that they read online reviews, and 97% of them claim that their purchase is influenced by customer reviews. That’s almost everyone.
So how can you use this to your advantage? First, make sure that you have a rating of at least 4 stars. Any lower than that and nobody will even bother to click on your business. Let alone to purchase something or use your services.
Apart from reviews you get on social media platforms, they will also come up in local search results.
As long as your business is listed, you will keep receiving reviews, so make sure that your product or service is always top-notch. Don’t worry if you get a bad review from time to time. Every single business gets one at one point or another. But if you do, you have to be professional and polite in your reply. It is best to see if you can remedy the situation. Under no circumstances should you engage in confrontational dialogue. It serves no purpose. If anything, it can damage your reputation.
According to Moz.com, Google reviews have the most significant impact on local rankings. The easiest way to get a google review is to encourage customers to leave you one. For that purpose, Google allows you to create a shareable link to promote to your customers.
However, keep in mind that encouragement is as far as you can go. Google has strict guidelines and terms of service that prevent you from offering any “rewards” to customers who leave reviews. Yelp, on the other hand, forbids it entirely.
So, the best thing you could do is to subtly encourage your clients to leave a review if they wish. Just make sure that you do it at a steady pace. Getting too many good reviews at once can be interpreted as suspicious behavior.
Increasing your online visibility is not something you can do in a day. However, if you apply the strategies we shared above, you should see an improvement in your ranking soon enough. But remember this. Local SEO is a key factor in your sales, and it can help you improve your profit margin.
As always, if you have questions or need any help, please let us know. We are more than happy to provide you with the assistance you need.