Google Maps has been launched on February 8, 2005, and about 1 billion people have been using Google Maps every month, according to the official. In addition to navigation, Google Maps also allows for local searches. For example, if you search for “restaurant” in Google Maps, you can see a list of nearby restaurants. Local search on Google Maps gives many businesses, such as restaurants, supermarkets, retail, furniture stores, etc., a great opportunity to display their products. According to a study on Google Maps, there are already 5 million websites using Google Maps, which means that businesses are taking Google Maps more seriously. With Google Maps being so important, are there any good ways to improve your Google Maps ranking? This time, we will give you 4 tips on how to improve your Google Maps ranking.
1. Create a complete Google Merchant and build a steady Google Merchant foundation
Google Maps is associated with Google Merchants, so if you don’t have one, it’s a good idea to create one as soon as possible. If, after creating a Google Merchant, your business does not appear in the local search results when you do a relevant search in your area, you can check your business profile to see if the information is accurate and attractive. Here are some tips to keep in mind for Google Merchants.
1) Complete the merchant information in Google Merchant. Be sure to update the information if there are any changes. Enter the complete merchant information in your merchant profile so that users can know the business, location, and operating hours as well. Provide relevant information, including but not limited to the following: physical store address, phone number, business category, and attributes. The more complete and accurate the merchant information is, the easier it is for Google to match the actual search terms of the merchant and the user.
2) The business location needs to be verified. Once a merchant/business location is verified, it may be displayed in local search results for Google products such as Google Maps and Google Search. This is a requirement for Google merchants, and you can choose different methods to verify, such as via phone, email, etc.
3) Provide accurate operating hours. Be aware of any changes in operating hours, including opening and closing times, as well as special operating hours during holidays and events. Provide accurate information on operating hours so that buyers know what hours the store is open and when to visit. Google can also recommend suitable merchants to users based on these hours.
4) Manage and respond to merchant reviews. If a user leaves a message or comment, the merchant can reply to it, reflecting the importance of the merchant to the user and showing that the merchant is willing to listen to the user’s opinions.
5) Add photos to the merchant’s profile. This allows a direct display of the merchant’s products and services, for example, a restaurant can put up signature specialties, the exterior and interior of the restaurant, and so on. By adding attractive photos on the merchant’s profile, you can show buyers the products and services offered to match the buyer’s intention.
6) Add a list of products for sale. If you are in the retail business, you can add items for sale in your physical store to your merchant profile to showcase your products to nearby buyers.
2. Understand how Google determines local search rankings
After creating a Google merchant, the first thing you needed to do to improve Google Maps’ merchant rankings is to understand the basis for local search rankings. According to Google, local search results in Google Maps are based on relevance, distance, and popularity. By combining these factors, Google is able to find the most relevant results.
1) Relevance. Relevance refers to how well a local business profile matches the user’s search criteria. For example, if a user is searching for an Italian restaurant, then Italian restaurants nearby will match the user’s search criteria, while restaurants outside of Italy, such as French restaurants, are unlikely to be shown. Therefore, it is recommended that merchants add accurate and detailed information so that Google can better understand the merchant and match the profile to the relevant search criteria.
2) Distance. Distance in this case refers to how far away the user is from the location where the search is intended to go. Although the distance is dependent on Google’s algorithm and cannot be controlled by the merchant, it does inform the merchant that to improve the ranking of a Google merchant in Google Maps, the merchant might need to change the merchant’s location, as it may not be good or may have little effect if it is too far away.
3) Popularity. Popularity here refers to the reputation of the merchant. If some locations have a high reputation, Google will reflect this in the local search rankings. For example, famous museums, landmarks or shops of well-known brands may be ranked higher in the local search results.
3. Enhance the popularity of your business to, increase the likelihood of visitors
Generally, a business may not have such a high reputation as a famous museum, landmark, etc, at first. However, there are a few tricks you can use to gradually increase your popularity.
Collaborate with other websites to increase the exposure of your business. This is because Google can also assess the popularity of a business through the information it obtains from the web (e.g. links, articles, and directories). For example, some food recommendation sites have attached information and links to merchants, and these recommendations can also influence Google’s reviews. Therefore, it is advisable for businesses to cooperate with relevant websites and use their platforms to recommend their businesses. And of course, merchants with advantages such as product innovation, high-rated dishes favored by many awards and recognitions, etc., can attract more flow.
Pay attention to Google reviews. The number and rating of Google reviews can affect local search rankings. The more reviews and ratings a business has, the higher its local search ranking is likely to be. Therefore, merchants need to pay attention to Google reviews and respond to users timely if they have new comments, and try to improve the shortcomings raised by users. High-quality positive reviews can influence users and increase merchants’ popularity, making buyers more likely to come.
4. Combine with Google Local Ads to further improve rankings
If the above-ranking improvement methods have been implemented, but the effect is not obvious, what should be done next? In fact, methods like the above, which many businesses may have already paid attention to and implemented, are more suitable for people who do not yet have a Google Merchant or are not yet familiar with Google Merchant. To further improve your Google Maps ranking, you can also use Google Local Ads in conjunction with this method. Google Local Ads, which exposes businesses to Google Maps as much as possible, can quickly improve Google Merchant’s rankings on the map. For example, when a user searches for a business (e.g. “hairdresser” or “Chinese restaurant”), Google will show the corresponding ad in the Google Maps search results. With Google Ads, your local Google Maps ranking can be improved quickly, helping you to gain more exposure and more conversions to customers.
In a word, the ranking of a Google merchant on Google Maps has a big impact on the physical store. Therefore, if a business has a higher Google Maps ranking, they are more likely to be seen by potential users.