Here's real steps that your business can take to move up higher in Maps results.
Everyone knows that being on the first page of Google is a difficult thing to accomplish if you are trying to rank your business for any search term that actually gets any competition. There are generally only 10 organic spots on the first page and since Google changed their algorithm in 2016, the Maps listings went from seven spots to only three spots, and sometimes even only two spots. Therefore, to actually show up in the Maps listings is extremely important if your business wants to actually get that phone ringing. Maps listings are located on the first page of Google for search terms right below the Google Ads. Some search terms do not have Maps listings.
But how do businesses actually get to that first spot or any of those spots in the Maps listings that are actually showing up? This article will explain real steps that your business can take to move up higher in Maps, and possibly even become one of the businesses that show up in the Maps results.
Step One - Your Business Should Make Sure Its Current Directory Listings Are Accurate
There is a term in the internet marketing industry called "NAP." This term is not about having a snooze, but is associated with your business's "name," "address" and "phone number." In the simplest terms, in order to not confuse Google, your business's name, address, and phone number should be consistent throughout the entire internet world. NAP consistency is one of the single most important things that your business can have to ensure a higher ranking in the Maps listings.
Businesses can check their NAP for free. Moz provides a free tool for this purpose. Simply go to Moz.com, click on the menu at the top that says, "Moz Local" and then click on "check my business listing." Then put in your business's name and zip code, and click "check my listing." When the list of businesses pops up make sure you click the result at the bottom that says "show more results" to see all of the listings your business is listed for. There should only be one.
If there is more than one, you have inconsistencies with something about your business. Perhaps you have an old phone number listed somewhere or you moved locations and have an old address popping up. By then clicking on the incorrect listings you will be able to claim those listings and fix the incorrect information with your correct information. Once you have all of your listing information correct you may notice that your position in Maps has gone up. Try checking where your business is located in maps for a search term before doing this and then check it after. You might be surprised at the results.
Step Two - You Should Ensure Your Business Is Listed in All of the Aggregators
What is an aggregator you ask? An aggregator is a directory listing site that adds your business website to its listings. These are sites like Yelp, YP, Superpages, etc. There are approximately 15 aggregators that your business can sign up to. Your business should make sure it's signed up to all of them and that your listings all contain the exact same information regarding the business name, address and phone number.
Using Moz.com, the same tool you used in step one, you can find the aggregators simply by clicking on the correct listing. This will pull up all of the aggregators and show you which ones that you are not signed up for. Sign up to all of them and then check six to eight weeks later. You may be surprised again that your Maps listing has gone up for a specific search term. It takes some of the aggregators six to eight weeks to add your business which is why that is the suggested time to wait.
Step Three - Your Business Can and Should Sign Up to Other Directory Listings That Are Not Aggregators
Although there are many things that are important to get your business to show up higher in Maps, one thing that is definitely important is to make sure that you are signed up to other directory listings in addition to the aggregators. It's even better if those directory listings are relevant to your business. For example, if you are a real estate agent then perhaps you can find real estate directories to sign up for. Signing your business up to a lot of directory listings can definitely increase your Maps listings results.
Try signing your business up to an additional thirty listings and my bet is that you will see an increase in your listings results. Be advised that some listings will charge your business to sign up to their directory listing. If you want to move your business up in the Maps search results then your business should make the investment and pay the money. It can help.
Step Four - Your Business Should Make Sure Your Google My Business Page Is Optimized
Your business must have a Google My Business page to even be able to show up on a Maps listing. Signing up is easy. Simply go to Google.com/Business and sign your business up to Google My Business. You will need a Gmail account with which to sign up to Google My Business. Once you sign up, you will need to "verify" your business before they publish your page. Generally, verification is done by Google sending your business a postcard with a code on it in about a week, and then you log back in and put in the code. Once your code is put in your business is now verified.
Once your business is verified, you need to optimize the page. To optimize the page, put in your business hours, your business category or categories, and add all of the pictures that Google asks you to add on the page. Even leaving out one picture will leave your Google My Business page not fully optimized. If you are able to fill out all the information that Google asks you to fill out, and add all of the pictures, your page will be considered 100 percent complete, which may increase your business's listing in Maps. Try it out and see what happens.
Maps results can be extremely important for a business to have. If you are not in the top three, chances are that your business is losing out on a lot of money because people are not finding your business very easily. Being in the top spot on Maps generally gets 35 percent of the traffic for any particular search term. Therefore, if a search gets 300 searches a month, 105 people will click on the top listing. Out of that, the business owner may get approximately 10 percent of the traffic as customers.
So, if 10 percent of 105 people hire a business and each customer is worth $1,500, that's $15,750 per month in revenue that a business owner is receiving if they are in the top Maps result for that spot. The tips set forth in this article will be enough for many business owners to get into the top three search results in Maps. There are other things that can be done and advanced techniques as well. But using just these tips will place some business owners in the top three spots of the Maps listings for some searches.