When it comes to the searching the Internet, Google is god—emphasis on the lowercase “g”. What we mean is, Google is a man-made thing that is prone to errors. And in the case of ranking for Google My Business (aka “Google Maps”) the algorithm is pretty dumb.
Our digital marketing and SEO agency in Columbus, Ohio was showing up #20–#30 when searching “SEO company” just less than 5 miles from our office. The sad part was that companies without any review or websites were showing up before ours!
It was completely unacceptable, and so after many late nights consulting lord Google (lowercase “l”), we stumbled upon the 3 most important things you need to do to rank higher on Google My Business and convert customers to call, click, or visit your business.
1) Name of Your Google My Business
Everyone knows that keywords are an important part of SEO, and adding keywords in the name of your Google My Business listing has a huge benefit. To be honest, it's not fair that name plays such an inflated role in the ranking (over things like posting, geotagging photos, and Q&A), but it does. Just try it for yourself! Search "Japanese Food Near Me" and you will likely see businesses that include "Japanese Food" in the name over businesses that just say "Asian" or "Sushi" (unless maybe they are all the same distance and one has more reviews).
So, by simply adding descriptive keywords to the name of our Google My Business listing, our digital marketing and SEO agency in Columbus, Ohio jumped from #20–#30 to #1–#5 instantly! And that jump in ranking translated into a jump in search traffic.
So, if your business has a lot of 5-star reviews, but further away than your competition, try adding keywords to your name! Make sure not to go overboard though. You might even want to update your website logo to reduce your chances of potential spam trouble.
2) Nearness of Your Google My Business
Google My Business is sometimes referred to as "local SEO" and therefore "nearness" of a business to the person searching affects the ranking of search results. After all, Google is trying to make people's lives easier, not make them drive all the way across town for Japanese food when there is a Japanese restaurant right across the street! If that were the case, people would stop using Google, and that's bad for business.
Sometimes businesses have the flexibility to open multiple locations across town, but for everyone else, just focus on adding keywords your Google My Business name.
3) Reviews of Your Google My Business
While name and nearness are (grudgingly) the top two SEO factors for Google My Business as of writing this article, once your business is one of the top 3 results, you want people to convert—call, click or get directions. And you do that by getting reviews.
To get reviews on your Google My Business, search Google for your business name and address (for some reason if you don't add address, things can get weird when someone reviews you on a mobile device).
Once you find your business, click "write review". You will see a popup box, and the URL will change. Copy this URL and paste is into an email to send to a past customer. Make sure to change the display text to something legible list "leave us a 5-star review".
We recommend looking at how many reviews your top competitor has, subtract that from the amount of reviews you have, divide that by 12, and focus on getting that number of reviews every month. You don't want to get too many reviews too fast and risk Google getting suspicious and deleting all of your reviews.
Consulting with a SEO Agency in Columbus, Ohio Can Help
SEO is always changing, and how to rank higher on Google My Business is no different. Staying on top of Google's algorithms can be exhausting, just when you start to rank for one keyword, the algorithms change and you're back to zero. Trying to handle it yourself may lead to costly mistakes. Your best approach is to hire a digital marketing and SEO agency in Columbus, Ohio who is experienced in handling all aspects of the search engine results page (SERP). At Makeshark, we work with over 50 small businesses and nonprofits on a daily basis. Our years of experience and familiarity with SEO will ensure your digital marketing gets the support it needs and deserve so that you can focus on running your business.