7 Pro Tips to Rank Higher on Google Maps (2021)

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Today I’m going to show you how to rank higher on Google Maps.

And I should point something out:

These 7 pro tips that I’m going to share are non-technical.

So if you’re not super technical, you’ll love the simple tips in this guide.

Let’s dive right in.

To learn how to rank higher on Google Maps, read the article below for an easy-to-follow walkthrough or watch the video below.

Why Rank Higher on Google Maps?

If you own a business that sells products and services to a local audience, then becoming visible in the first 3 spots of Google Maps listing, also known as Google’s Local 3 Pack, can completely transform your business.

Appearing in the Local 3 Pack will generate more traffic to your website, more leads, more phone calls, and many other desirable conversions.

One study found that nearly 70% of smartphone users say they regularly use Google Maps

On top of that, out of the 3.5 billion searches that happen on Google each day, more and more are considered to have local intent. 

The phrase “local intent” refers to any search in which Google assumes the user is looking for a local result – so someone who lives in Austin, searching for Restaurants in Denver is still executing a search with local intent.

Any business that is serious about getting found in today’s digital age needs to utilize the power of Google Maps.

In fact, according to Google, 83% of U.S. people who visited a store said they used online search before going in.

Before you can rank in Google Maps, make sure you have already set up your Google My Business page.  If you need help, you can visit my guide on how to set up Google My Business for fast results.

Google Maps Ranking Factors

Before you can expect to rank higher on Google Maps, you need to understand what the Google Maps ranking factors are.

There are 8 ranking factors that contribute to ranking in Google Maps and the local 3 pack:

  1. Google My Business signals
  2. Link signals
  3. Review signals
  4. On-page signals
  5. Citation signals
  6. Behavioral signals
  7. Personalization
  8. Social signals

It’s important to note that Google’s local algorithm works differently than their organic search algorithm.

Google’s local algorithm analyzes all of the signals listed above and ranks listings based on the following three areas:

  1. Proximity: How close is the business to the searcher?
  2. Prominence: How popular or authoritative is the business in the area?
  3. Relevance: How closely does the listing match the searcher’s query?

Now that you have a handle on how the local algorithm works and its ranking factors, let’s talk about specific ways to optimize your GMB page to improve your ranking in Google Maps.

7 Pro Tips to Rank Higher on Google Maps

#1 Complete your Google My Business profile

The status of your business’s ranking in Google Maps correlates directly to the completeness and accuracy of your Google My Business listing. 

This is because Google wants to be able to display as much information about a business to consumers as possible. 

The more information you supply Google, the more Google can supply its searchers, and the more comfortable it will be ranking you higher in results.

#2 Use a local phone number

Google doesn’t like toll free numbers (800, 888, 877, etc.) because they’re frequently used for spam. 

Instead, use a local telephone number with the area code of your location. 

This will help you rank higher in Google Maps and will also verify for searchers that you’re a local business.

#3 Keep your hours updated

Google Maps tells users if a business is open, closed, or if it’s opening or closing soon. 

Keeping your business hours updated allows your potential customers to know your status.

Because there’s nothing worse than showing up to a business that’s closed when they’re info said they were open. This can also help to minimize any negative reviews by providing a good customer experience.

#4 Build local links

Links are still one of the largest ranking factors in Google’s algorithm (both in organic ranking and in Google Maps). 

In fact, link signals are the second highest Google Maps ranking factor at 17%

One of the best ways to start building local links is to utilize your local relationships around town. Think about other businesses that you work closely with, organizations that you support, or even companies that might qualify as a “shoulder niche”.

For the highest success rate, start with businesses that you already have a relationship with or know well. 

You could offer to write or record a testimonial in exchange for a link, or perhaps you could co-create a piece of content that benefits both of your audiences.

#5 Use local keywords on your website

Make sure the important pages of your website are optimized for location-based searches. 

This means placing geographically modified keywords into your titles, headers, body, image tags, and URLs. 

For example, if you offer HVAC services you would want to use the “Air Condition Repair in [city]” as one of your headers.

#6 Make sure your website is responsive

Google ranks its results in an effort to provide the best possible experience for its users. 

Since the majority of Maps and local searches are performed on a mobile device, having a responsive website needs to be a priority.

A responsive website functions consistently across any device or screen size.

If your Google Maps listing links to a website that requires pinching and zooming, has broken links, or is slow to load, your ranking will suffer. 

If you’re not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, you can check with Google’s free mobile-friendly test tool.

#7 Get (more) Google reviews

Reviews continue to be one of the most important components for ranking in Google Maps, but the benefit of building more reviews is not purely for the purpose of local SEO.

Reviews offer a much better customer experience. They help to build up social proof, manage customer expectations, and they can sell your product or service before you even get in touch with your customer.

In fact, research by BrightLocal showed that 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews.

Pro Tip: Don’t ask for a review too early. 

Too many businesses ask for a review for a product or service before their customer has had the opportunity to fully experience it (and actually benefit from it). 

Only after they have had the chance to solve their problem with your product or service should you ask for a review.

Your Next Step…

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the 7 tips from today’s post are you going to work on first so you can rank high on Google Maps?

Are you going to update your website so it’s mobile responsive?

Or maybe complete your Google My Business profile.

Either way, let me know by reaching out.

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Jason Garcia New Oceans Digital

Hey, I’m Jason Garcia – founder of New Oceans Digital.

I’m a digital marketer and a certified conversion optimization expert.

That means I’m passionate about driving revenue growth by improving website performance.

Every 2 weeks I send a newsletter with actionable growth tips for outdoor brands in 5 minutes or less.