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Google is still the King, Queen and court jester of online search. Sure, Facebook and Amazon are trying to carve out their own slice of the search pie, but as of July 2019, Google dominated over 90 percent of all search queries. When someone does a Google search for a product or service, they are demonstrating intent and motivation. The beauty of searches based on intent is that this traffic can be free. Paid keyword advertising works, but it isn’t the only way to get clicks and customers. Ever notice how some businesses and entrepreneurs are always just below the paid ads on Google Maps, while others don’t ever show up? Those that get displayed do four things to their business profile better than everyone else.
Before we get into the four specific tasks, it’s important to know that your business will not appear on Google Maps unless you establish a Google My Business (GMB) profile for each and every location. Google the phrase “Google My Business” to find a direct link to set up your GMB profile. It is connected to your Google account.
Related: Want to Rank Higher on Google? Learn SEO Strategies From an Expert.
If you are establishing a brand new location, you are going to choose between a service location and a physical location. A physical location is an actual office or retail space people go to, like a doctor’s or lawyer’s office. Clients come to you. A service location is one where you service a neighborhood or town but do not have an office or retail space. Examples include a plumber, realtor or HVAC service technician. You go to the client. In both cases, you need a mailing address so Google can mail you a postcard verification. You “claim” your listings and start to take charge of your online presence.
With that baseline set, let’s go over these four quick and easy ways to get your business to show up on Google Maps when people are searching for a local (fill in the blank) like yours.
1. Photos, photos and more photos
Ever look at a business profile and wonder if the place is still even in business? You can tell when a business profile looks deserted. The first dead giveaway is when the only photo for that business profile is the Google Maps street view.
You have to upload relevant photos. This cannot be emphasized enough. People eat and buy with their eyes. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer. The cameras on most smartphones will suffice.
Take as many photos of your workplace as possible. Make sure to rename each photo to include the business name and what’s in the photo. When a file name is assigned to an image it usually looks like this: “1074738img.jpg.” Rename the file “Dans-Plumbing-Front-Of-Office-1234-Mockingbird-Lane-Anywhere-Ca-90210.jpg.” By doing this, you are correctly labeling the photo per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, which is a courtesy in itself, plus you are helping Google easily understand what the photo is about thereby making it easier for the algorithm to deliver more accurate results.
Other ideas for photos include clients, customers, products, food and before and afters. Remember, you can’t have too many photos so long as they are relevant to your business.
Related: Most Search Traffic is Organic. This Tool Helps Improve Your SEO Rankings.
2. Embed your Google Maps profile
Google loves it when you use their tools. One of the quickest and easiest ways to send signals to Google that your GMB profile is getting traffic is by taking advantage of your website’s existing traffic. Embed the small Google map on your site. Every time someone visits your site they are inadvertently viewing the embedded Google property. Google picks up on this even if they don’t click on the map.
Search for your business on Google Maps. When you find it, click on the “share” option and select “embed map.” Copy that code and place it on your site in the same manner you’d embed a YouTube video.
The more clicks your profile gets, the higher and more often Google delivers it as a search engine result on Google Maps. The more reviews you have, the more likely people will click on your profile. This is known as social proof.
You have to get good at requesting reviews from your customers, clients, patrons, friends and family. Getting reviews is an art form. You will get better at the more you do it. Don’t be surprised or even offended when you have to ask someone for a review or testimonial more than once. Studies show that you are more likely to get a review after a customer experiences a “high.” This typically happens after a purchase or a good meal. It’s at those moments you and your team should be requesting a review.
Related: 6 Tips for Acquiring More Google Reviews (and Why They Matter)
4. Accurate information
Make sure your business phone number, website and hours of operation are up-to-date. Use a guest browser and test out the links to the phone and website. Are they accurate? Do they work as intended? Is the phone ringing to the correct person? Does the website link to the homepage or correct product or service? These are all things you should be testing. It’s all about the customer experience and the longer you keep the customer on your GMB profile, the more valuable you are in the eyes of Google.
Google wants to deliver the best and most relevant search results to the consumer. They have a universe of tools and online signals that help them determine which search engine results to provide. The more competitive your business space is, the more complete and professional your GMB profile has to be. If your business profile isn’t complete, has inaccurate information and doesn’t have any photos of your business or photos of you at work, you probably won’t show up.
Use these four quick tips to freshen up your Google My Business and Google Maps profiles so that you get more exposure. Let me know how these free, easy tips helped your business!