Every business wants to rank on the top of Google Maps. The higher you rank, the more likely potential customers will choose your business over your competitors. Here are some of the factors that Google uses to determine ranking and what your business can do to optimize its ranking.
Claim Your Google My Business Profile
Regular readers of our blog might get tired of this tip, but it’s absolutely essential for helping your business get discovered. Your Google My Business profile is what your customers see on Google Maps. This profile contains key information about your business, such as business categories and hours of operation.
If your business has been around for a while, chances are that you already have a Google My Business profile. All you need to do is find it and claim it. If you need to create a new Google My Business profile, click here.
According to Moz, Google My Business factors are the #1 factor determining local search ranking. Without a Google My Business profile, it’s going to be very hard for your business to rank above competitors.
The more complete information you have about your business, the better chance you have of ranking higher on Google Maps. And the higher you rank on Google Maps, the more likely customers will choose your business. Once your Google My Business profile is claimed, you should make sure to do the following.
Upload High Definition Photos
Make sure that the first thing that your customers see is an appealing image. A restaurant with a great high-definition photo of a delicious meal will look a lot better than a competitor with a picture of a blurry storefront.
Add Accurate Contact Information
Once you add contact info, it’ll be easy for your customers to reach you. Add your phone number and email so customers can get in contact with you should they have any questions.
Keep Your Business Hours Accurate
With accurate business hours, your customers won’t show up to your business after hours. Be sure to update with any special holiday hours.
Use the Right Categories
Google gives you the ability to add three business categories. Make sure that you use all three of these so that your business can get discovered for different Google Maps search queries.
These categories should align with what your customers are searching for. A lot of the times, your customer reviews can help guide you in the right direction. Customers will often use the terms they used to discover their business in their reviews. You can also see which terms customers are using in Google My Business Insights.
Fix Your Listings Across All Sites
Customers will be able to see your business listing on Google and dozens of other review sites. Your business listing consists of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).
When you have your NAP on multiple different sites, Google receives valuable citation signals that show that your business is trustworthy. Businesses need to be careful to make sure that their listings are consistent across different sites.
Even a small difference in your listings on one site can affect your visibility. When a search engine finds an inconsistency, it cannot tell what information is supposed to be accurate. Since search engines want to show accurate information first, they will push inconsistent and inaccurate listings to later pages of results. Even differences in street abbreviation could end up costing your business in terms of visibility.
Want to know how consistent your listings are across all sites? Check out the free BirdEye listing scan to get a better idea of how you can improve your appearance online.
Get More Customer Reviews
It’s simple: The more reviews your business has, the better you look to Google. A business with 500 reviews is significantly more likely to rank high on Google Maps then one with 5 reviews. After all, lots of quality reviews show that lots of customers are talking about and coming to your business.
If you want more Google reviews, it’s important to send out review requests. 70% of customers say they will leave a review if asked.
Here are some tips that will help you send high converting-review requests.
Send Review Requests via Text and Email
Asking reviews for your customers in person is great, but it won’t give you the results you want. The easier you make the process of leaving a review, the more reviews you’ll get. Send customers texts and emails that link directly to your Google My Business profile. All they have to do is click the link and leave a review. It’s simple, quick, and easy.
Pay Close Attention to Timing
When it comes to sending review requests, timing is everything. We’ve found that customers are most likely to leave a review when they get the request the same day as the sale. The longer you wait to send the request, the lower the chance you’ll get a review out of it.
Avoid Review Gating
Google has officially banned “review gating”, the practice of selectively sending review requests to a certain group of customers who you’re sure to leave a good review. If you do engage in this practice, you face the risk of having your site penalized by Google if you’re discovered.
Respond to Customer Reviews
Google has confirmed that responding to customer reviews helps businesses with ranking. After all, responding to customer reviews shows that you care sincerely about the experience of each and every one of your customers.
For positive reviews, take the time to thank the customer for the feedback. For negative reviews, make sure that to apologize, understand the problem that the customer experienced, and ensure them that such a service failure will not happen again.
Make sure to respond to each of your reviews in a timely manner. If you wait too long to respond to a negative review, it might be too late to turn the customer’s opinion around.
How BirdEye Can Help You Rank Higher on Google Maps
Fix Your Listings Across All Sites
Going through each of your sites to fix errors in your listings is not enjoyable, nor is it the best use of your time. Instead of going through this tedious task, you can automatically fix your listings on over 50 sites with BirdEye. Simply enter the correct information into our listings tool and we’ll update your listings across all these sites.
Send Automated Review Requests
Manually sending review requests can take a lot of time. You can’t just snap your fingers and send an email to each one of your customers who came in on a given day.
With BirdEye, you can get new reviews without having to lift a finger. BirdEye can integrate with your CRM and automatically send review request text and emails to your customers on a regular basis.
Stay on Top of Your Review Responses
With BirdEye, you can see and respond to reviews on 150+ sites on a single dashboard. You can get automatic notifications to stay on top of your reviews and respond in a quick and decisive manner.
Use BirdEye, the #1 Reviews Software
With BirdEye, you can stay on top of every aspect of customer feedback. BirdEye’s all-in-one platform enables businesses to get new reviews, manage and respond to reviews from over 150 sites in a single dashboard, automatically share posts on social media, and receive actionable insights through Natural Language Processing.
BirdEye has been named the #1 company in the reputation management industry by G2Crowd. The Americans Business Awards recently gave BirdEye an award for “Most Innovative Tech Company.”