How to Improve Your Local Search Rankings with Google Maps

by robinana on December 27, 2009

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With well over 75% of individuals using search engines to find local information, it is pretty safe to assume that even the corner deli can benefit immensely from Google Maps local search juice. The time is now to build your local search presence, while Google is still tweaking and improving.

Google Local, which hit the web full-force in March of 2009, has evolved into Google Maps, which now gives local businesses the opportunity to build a solid presence on the web and appear in a top ten list next to an area map. This is ideal for the traveler looking for a certain type of business on their smart phone. By ranking with Google for your location and business category, you can add quite a bit to your bottom line in 2010. If you aren’t getting your share of the traffic, let me show you how it’s done.

If you apply the following tips, your Google Maps ranking will have no where to go but up–Heavy traffic will follow.

Claim and Verifying Your Business Listing

Google Maps gathers it’s local business information through a multitude of online sources. Every listing starts out as “unclaimed.” The first thing you need to do is to look up your own business on Google maps and claim the listing. Once you do so, check and fill in the correct information, (or add your business if it’s not there) and then verify that you are the owner. Google will send you a pin number to your business address through the mail. Once you receive this pin, come back to Google Maps and verify your listing.

Since Google heavily relies on the information it gets from the business owner through GLBC (Google Local Business Center), be as accurate as possible when adding your business information.

Add Keywords to Your Business Name

One tip that will greatly improve your rankings with Google Maps is to include important keywords (such as pizzaria or car wash) after your business name, in the same title space. It’s a small keyword trick that can push you up a few notches in the Google Maps top 10.

Categorize Your Business Correctly

Properly categorizing your business in Google Maps ties for number on the importance level. It can make a huge difference in your ranking.

Google will suggest categories as you type. Use a predefined category for your first couple of category selections. If your type of business is not included in the category choices, come as close as possible with a predefined category,  then  use your other choices to add your own unique category. You are allowed a total of 5.

To make your categorizing more effective, try to think like a searcher would when looking for your services.

Description

The Google Maps description field should be used to relay the details of your unique products or services to your potential clients. In 200 characters or less, describe the remarkable, valuable and unique qualities of your business. What makes you shine above the competition? Here is your chance to make it clear. There is a small, charming Italian meat market in my town that is the only licensed retailer for certified angus beef in our entire county. This is the kind of information to add to your Google Maps description.

Images and Videos

Google is all about “user experience.” Adding images and videos will help you to gain authority and bring your rankings up. Be sure to include your logo and pictures of your business in the images section. Also upload commercials, interviews, tutorials, etc.

Coupons

The coupon section in Google Maps really excites me. You can actually set up coupons in this section and then track the amount of business you are receiving from Google Maps. Pretty cool, and an easy way to bring new clients to your door instead of your competitor.

Get Reviewed!

Most of your best clients may not even be aware of your business listing with Google Maps. Encourage your clients to write reviews by providing a link to Google reviews right on your website. Google relies on the positive feedback from satisfied clients. This is an excellent way to build a strong business presence.

Follow these tips and Google Maps will help you to make this new decade more prosperous than you’ve ever been before.