How Can Your Business Dominate Google Maps?
Google Maps leads new customers to your local business every single day – whether you know it or not.
But in order for local businesses to dominate Google Maps, there are certain things you must do to make sure Google can find your business when people around you go a searchin’.
Listing your business on Google Maps is the start, but it doesn’t end there.
In order to dominate Google Maps, you need to claim more than your Google My Business listing.
Local SEO starts with an owned, verified & optimized Google My Business listing, it’s a great – free – way to get your business in front of new customers.
Most searches these days take place on a mobile device, this is one primary reason why Google is going to a mobile-first index by July 2018.
Google found that 4 out of 5 people surveyed used search engines to conduct local searches. used smartphones and 84% used a computer or tablet.
Mobile-first means Google will be ranking the mobile version of your website, before the desktop version.
Takeaway: you shoulda been mobile-friendly as of April 21st, 2015.
Prospective new customers search for your products or services on their mobile device, and Google Maps shows businesses that sell or service their query near their location.
Google Maps leads customers straight to your door — but only if you’ve made that door easy for Google to find.
5 Steps for Your Local Business to Dominate Google Maps
To successfully build visibility, get more reviews, & boost local rankings for your business using Google Maps, follow these five steps:
Step 1: Claim & verify your Google My Business Profileif you haven’t already.
If you don’t already own your Google My Business listing, go here and login.
Then get to work, you’re behind the curve!
Step 2: Ensure your Google My Business NAPW info is accurate & consistent.
NAPW is a local seo acronym for your practice Name, Address, Phone & Website.
Your telephone number should have a local area code, your address should match the address shown on your website – exactly, and your website should be listed.
If any of this info is inaccurate or inconsistent it can negatively affect your local rankings & Google Maps presence.
Make sure your NAPW is on point, then go proliferate that info on other search engine environs – like Bing Places, internet yellow page sites (IYPs) – like yp.com, local search sites – like Yelp, social media, and specialty niche portals – like Healthgrades or Houzz – depending on your business niche -…and a few dozen more of the top 100 citations.
Step 3: Optimize your Google My Business listing.
Don’t let overused industry jargon scare you, optimize in this case simply means adding a (properly sized) logo and eye-catching cover photo, some interior & exterior photos, video would be exceptional.
Just add every listing attribute Google makes available to you in your Google My Business dashboard – and keep a close eye on it for additions, and subtractions.
And don’t forget to add a description of your business.
Step 4: Encourage happy customers to leave you a Google Review.
AND give your customers a direct link to make it easy on them.
Just make sure you’re not really forcing them to only leave a 5-star review – Google changed it’s review guidelines this past month (April 2018), making it against their policy to use “review-gating” in your review acquisition strategy.
Review-gating basically means cherry picking or using other tactics to limit negative reviews – in this case by implying the 5-star review when a customer clicks the link from your text message, email, in-store (or office) signage, social media post, website…etc.
Google has done this to combat the fake reviews and reviews spam that proliferates about the local search ecosystem, although there really isn’t anything wrong or unethical with review-gating so to speak.
If you already use review generation software then you should have already adjusted your review acquisition strategy to abide by this change of review guidelines by Google.
Execute this step with vigor, reviews are a major factor in dominating Google Maps…BUT not quite as important as Step #5.
Do not let happy customers walk away without writing a review, or at least arm them with a way to review your business at a later time.
Step 5: Advertise Your Business On Google Maps.
Along with having a Google My Business listing, this is the single most important step for businesses looking to dominate on Google Maps.
There is no such thing as free lunch, the free & easy days for local seo have gone the way of the DoDo.
Really, building online visibility has never been free, it’s not something you ever set & forget. Organic doesn’t mean free, you’re paying someone to get your website ranked, well.
You have needed to pay a professional to get you THERE since the inception of the internet – there, being high on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
And now with the IoT (internet of things), voice search, mobile-first, and AI, that’s even truer nowadays.
Just take a look at how one of our clients dominates the FIRST THREE SEARCH RESULTS on Google Maps:
I’d love to say that’s some next-level shit, but really any paid search professional worth their salt should be achieving the same results for their clients.
Local brick & mortar businesses now NEED to advertise on Google & Google Maps to not only just to keep pace with the local competition, but to continually grow their business. Actually, it’s been this way for a few years now.
The phone book is dead, direct mail is a complete waste of money – for the most part – and people are on their phones and on social media day & night.
For local businesses looking to dominate Google Maps, it’s all about visibility & ROI.
Let’s take a local neighborhood dentist as an example of how to illustrate cost-effective & sustainable ROI.
To calculate new patient acquisition return on investment for a dentist at its simplest form, basically its:
- ROI = (Revenue – Investment) / Investment * 100
…or you could dive deeper and say
- (avg. value of a new patient – cost of acquisition) / cost of acquisition * 100 = ROI
For example, for easy math let’s say the average value of a new dental patient is $1000. And the average cost per acquisition is $100. Those are two extremely conservative numbers.
(1000 – 100) / 100 * 100 = 900%
Keep in mind this conservative example of paid search new patient acquisition ROI for dentists does not include any referrals generated from new patient, or lifetime value of the new patient – this is a hygiene, drill & fill type patient….not a full set of implants, veneers, Invisalign, or any other elective service.
Unless you’re a Medicaid practice losing money on new patients, advertising on Google right for you!
And it could be right for your local business too!
Want to Dominate Google Maps? Mobilize Your New Customer Acquisition!