Local SEO: How To Stand Out On Google Maps
According to a Google study, 4 out of 5 Internet users today expect to obtain search results adapted to their geolocation. Thanks to Google Maps and the information collected in “Google My Business” company profiles, Google also promotes the appearance of “local” results, often in the form of a map, for this type of query. These results tend to obtain above-average click-through rates, so it’s more important than ever for your business to optimize its website for Google Maps if you want to capture this traffic from potential customers!
In this article, we explain how local SEO can now be an essential asset to speed up your in-store visits. We also offer you 6 essential steps to be well positioned on Google Maps.
Local SEO consists of positioning your site among the first results of search engines for a local query (such as “pizza nearby”) in order to attract people to your business physically.
When an Internet user searches for a nearby business, Google displays the local results they deem most relevant to their search via the Google Maps tool. In order to appear in these results, it is important to optimize your local SEO.
Why optimize your website for Google Maps?
1. Encourage Internet users to visit you
The number one reason to optimize your local SEO on Google Maps and arguably the most obvious is the increased visibility and traffic you are likely to gain from it. Indeed, the first three search results on Google collectively collect 60% of clicks. However, knowing that Google Maps results are displayed first in most local queries, it is crucial to appear there:
As you can see, the first organic result for this query only appears in fifth position, while Google Maps results dominate the top portion of the page, getting all the attention. Optimizing your local SEO allows you to go up in results and capture a larger share of traffic.
2. Increase your in-store sales
Did you know that 78% of local mobile searches ultimately result in an in-store sale? Because they include a notion of locality, these requests are more “qualified” than the average and represent opportunities not to be missed.
Indeed, a user looking for a nearby business generally does so with the intention of going there and making a purchase. Indicating our presence on Google Maps greatly increases our chances not only of attracting him to the store but also of converting him into a customer.
3. Differentiate yourself from your competitors
According to a Google article, 76% of people with intent to buy change their mind after their mobile search. In other words, having your business on Google Maps is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competitors and capture a larger market share.
Indeed, you can distinguish yourself from your competitors thanks to the information you offer on Google My Business, such as your opening hours or the amount of positive reviews you have obtained. Conversely, if you don’t appear on Google Maps, your customers are more likely to turn to your competition. So don’t take your local SEO lightly!
How does Google Maps determine the order of search results?
Google Maps uses three criteria to rank businesses that appear in search results:
1. The relevance of your business
Businesses that best match user queries are more likely to appear first on Google Maps. In other words, if the products and services you offer on your website match what the user wants, you will be more likely to rank well.
2. Geographical proximity
Only businesses that are relatively close to the user’s location (or the location they specify) will appear in Google Maps results.
Businesses deemed popular by Google are more likely to appear in the top results of a local search. Google assesses the reputation of a company based on its online reputation, the position of its site on the search engine and the quantity and quality of backlinks it obtains.
Optimize your local SEO on Google Maps: checklist in 6 steps
Google Maps uses three criteria to rank businesses that appear in search results:
1. Optimize your Google My Business account
It is essential to make sure that all the possible information fields are filled in your Google My Business account for a good local SEO.
Indeed, by providing a significant amount of information to Google about your business, you increase its chances of fully understanding what you offer and of judging your relevance to what Internet users are looking for.
So be sure to provide
- Your complete address
- Your geographic location
- Your opening hours
- A link to your website
- Description of your business
- Some photos of your establishment or your products
- A phone number
- Your category
To go even further, you can consult our guide on how to optimize your Google My Business account or our video tutorial “How to create Google My Business messages” to improve your chances of being well positioned on Google Maps.
2. Make sure you use the same NAP everywhere
The acronym “NAP” refers to the basic contact details of a company, or more precisely its name, address and telephone number. When your NAP is shown on all your platforms, i.e. your website, your social networks, Google My Business, etc., Google concludes that your business is trustworthy and that your geographical location is legitimate, which encourages them to put you forward on Google Maps.
So make sure to add your NAP to your website as well as to all the other platforms you use:
But beware! If the search engine discovers even minor disparities between the NAPs listed, your local SEO may suffer. Indeed, this can cause uncertainty as to your real location, which is essential to avoid. In order to verify that your NAP is constant across all your platforms, you can use Moz Local or Yext, two useful tools for monitoring your local SEO.
3. Enter a local phone number
Google is generally wary of toll-free numbers (such as numbers starting with 1-800), as they are often linked to fraud or spam. While you are not penalized for including such a number on your website, it is best to include a local phone number on Google My Business.
A phone code linked to the location of your business on Google Maps confirms to Google that your business is indeed in this region, thus reinforcing the relevance of your site and improving your local SEO. It also increases the chances that users will decide to call you.
4. Get and Respond to Positive Google Reviews
The more positive your business receives, the more your notoriety grows in the eyes of Google, which strengthens your local SEO. So encourage your customers to leave you reviews on Google and comment on them! This gives your business credibility and shows your potential customers that you are listening to their needs, getting them to click on your site. Also, be sure to respond appropriately to negative reviews to minimize their impact.
5. Add a Google Maps map to your website
A relatively easy way to improve your local SEO is to embed a Google Maps map on your website. Such a maneuver strengthens your position in search results as it confirms to Google that your business is indeed where you indicated it on your Google My Business profile.
Here is the procedure to follow to integrate a Google Maps map on your site:
- Find your business on Google Maps
- Click on the three lines that appear next to your address
- Select the option “Share”
- Choose “Embed a card”
- Copy HTML content
- Integrate everything into the source code of your website
6. Optimize the natural referencing of your site
In order to optimize your local SEO, make sure you take into account more broadly all the elements important to the good SEO of your website.
For any query made on its engine, Google determines the results based on hundreds of factors that fall into the following broad categories:
- Website reputation: quality and quantity of inbound links
- On-site content: content optimization (keyword density, text length, titles, metadata etc.)
- Technical elements of the website: Loading speed, mobile adaptability, security etc.
In particular, we suggest that you carry out a keyword study in order to identify the terms most searched by your target customers, but also to carry out a complete SEO audit. We explain how to do it step by step in our web marketing strategy guide.
Bonus: move up to first position thanks to advertising on Google Maps
For the past two years, it is now possible to promote your physical business on Google Maps thanks to “promoted pins”, or “proximity announcements”. These paid ads make it easy to position your business among the first results on Google Maps in order to attract more customers.
To set up such ads, you just need to add a location extension on Google Ads. Your ads will then be likely to appear in mobile search results as well as on desktop computers.
So, are you ready to boost your presence on Google Maps?
Are your competitors still ahead of you in Google Maps? Not for long. By following our advice, we are convinced that you will be able to boost your local SEO and attract new customers to your store. Now, it’s your turn to play!