How to improve your Google Maps ranking

Recently I wrote an article about local.ch and it usefulness in your Digital Strategy. Turns out, there might be much better investments if you want to be found online. But then, how to rank higher on Google (Maps) will you ask? Some Local SEO tips and the registration in Google my Business will do the trick.

Here are a couple of steps you can take as a first improvements.

Perfect your listing on Google my Business

For location based queries (meaning: which contain a geographical term), Google will often return a map with a list.

Google my business
Location based query – List view

If the query is specific enough, on the desktop version you will see one proposal on the right hand side as shown below.

screenshot-listing-alone
Location based query – One entry view

Claim your business

If you haven’t already certified to Google that you are the owner of a place, go to this page, and search for your business. Once the request is filed, Google will send you a letter with a code, via snail mail. This is to certify that you work physically at the place. It can take up to 10 days in Switzerland.

Fill all the information

  • Add or update contact details as phone, email and website
  • Write a good description and add opening hours.
  • Choose the correct category: The full list of available categories.

Add a lot of pictures

Once you’ve claimed and validated the location you can upload pictures. Those pictures should:

  • Be in high resolution.
  • The file should be named nicely, with important keywords. This will improve their “findabiliy” via Google Images.
  • Always add a caption in the image, maybe with a link pointing to relevant content on your website.

A lot of pictures won’t hurt your ranking, upload as many as you can. For example this hotel in Tokyo has 194 pictures.

Virtual tours

It seems Google is pushing for Virtual Tours. You could hire a company to do this professionally… or do it yourself. The StreetView app allows you to make a decent job with your smartphone. I’ve tested it at Kleinhafen, the result is ok.

Download iOs app or the Android app

Ask for reviews

This is really important. After 5 reviews, your listing already stands out, orange stars are shown (see the image below). Google uses reviews as a signal for the ranking of your entry. It seems they are not so good at detecting “fake” reviews at the moment. But I would be very careful…

google-listing-with-stars
An entry with reviews stands out much more on Google Maps

Additional tips

Clean the area

Google Maps is not always accurate or up to date. Search for the same type of business in your area or businesses with the same name:

  • Make sure to have duplicates removed (ex: the entry of the restaurant but with the old name).
  • Have old or irrelevant listings closed (ex: a restaurant which has closed, or is not in the right place).
feedback-google-maps
Use the “Feedback” button on the bottom right of Google Maps

Backlink to your entry

Link back from your website to your Google Place entry. This will give a good signal to Google and make your entry rank higher. You can also implement a Google Map on your website. Use the “share” button on your entry and the choose “integrate map”.

Track your efforts

Is your listing doing good and what about the traffic it generates? In order to quantify and analyse your visitors, you should setup some tracking. This article from Moz.org shows you how to do it. But in short:

  1. Use this URL builder to get an URL with the UTM tags. Or just use this one: http://www.yourdomain.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=maps&utm_campaign=googleplaces
  2. Add this URL in your Google Listing as your website.
  3. Wait for Google to review it and you are done.
  4. After a couple of weeks you can check you campaign in Google Analytics and analyse it.

Do you have other strategies to improve your Google Maps ranking?

I can help you improve your digital presence: Just get in touch or read this article.

Yann Graf

I am an experienced Digital Strategy Consultant based in Switzerland. After over seven year respectfully crafting and improving the digital presence of Terre des hommes, Nautilus and G-Star Raw, I am now a freelancer. Please have a look at my Portfolio