Every business' primary aim must be to be easily found by its local customers. One of the most effective ways to make this happen is by ranking higher in Google Maps reviews. Why? Because it not only informs customers but also directs them to your business.
This is one of the fundamental ways that Google is reshaping customer behaviour. Gone are the days when people would venture out with a particular brand name or business in mind. Now, it’s more about convenience and finding a reliable solution in their vicinity.
Someone searching Google for “toothache relief” isn’t looking for a particular dentist. They are looking for a dental service that’s nearby and trusted by other patients. Google reviews and Google Maps do the rest for them.
It isn’t enough for independent businesses to know how Google reviews work. It’s also important to understand how Google Maps works.
Google Maps is how close to 70 percent of customers navigate to their locations. Just like Google search, users mostly choose from the top-ranking results. So, if you want more customers to find you on Google Maps, you’ve to be near the top.
Importantly, over 80 percent of these customers are using it to search by keyword or discovery, as opposed to searching for a business or direct search. So, someone searches for “pet grooming services” and the search engine delivers the most relevant, prominent, and nearby results on Google Maps.
In other words, Google Maps is crucial to your local SEO.
Secondly, the three high-performing results for most searches will also find a place in regular search. So, the top three searches for “pet grooming services” on Google Maps will also find a place in Google search.
You see them as a “three-pack,” the most relevant local results for a search, according to Google.
That’s where you want to be. That’s the equivalent of thousands of dollars in advertising. And remember that if you don’t feature there, your competitors will. That’s why you’ve to do everything to rank higher on Google Maps.
Get your business listed by going to google.com/maps. Search for your business and see if it shows the address. If so, you are already listed. Otherwise, you will have to click on “Add a missing place.”
That will prompt you to give the name of your business, the category you operate in, and your address.
An unclaimed business cannot give additional information, such as the logo, opening hours, business description, website link and establishment photos. For this, you need to have your Google My Business profile set up.
If you have a profile or after you create one, go to your Google Maps listing and head to “Own this business” or “Claim this business.”
This is what will help you in local search. Once you’ve claimed your business, go to your Google My Business profile and head to “Info.” Give the name of your local business and its exact location.
It’s important to make sure that your details are consistent across your Google My Business profile, website, other listings, and social media handles. If there is the slightest variation, for example, “Sq.” instead of “Square,” there will be problems.
Ensure that you give your business phone numbers too. Then, it’s time to describe your business. The description should be unique and incorporate relevant local keywords. After that, choose your primary and secondary categories.
An important aspect of local search is your business hours. Add it and update promptly if there’s a change due to the pandemic. Nothing irritates customers more than checking opening hours on Google, only to arrive and find the place closed.
Google and its users trust businesses that display photos. Photos are there to show that your business is genuine. This means that you should never use stock imagery.
If you don’t upload photos to your Google Maps listing, it will show a generic thumbnail of a map.
Your ranking will depend on your Google reviews. You have to actively request reviews from your customers. You can do it directly, through SMS, through your website or social media channels.
If it’s difficult for you to request reviews, you can always use an app to do it for you. They are easy, fast and highly efficient.
You can also post to your Google Maps listing. It could be about sales, could include reviews, or could be about new services. This tells the search engine that your business is active and gives customers more information.
Ranking high on Google Maps reviews will help your local business grow and thrive. It will get you the most relevant customers from the most crucial locations. If done well, Google Maps can be a useful marketing funnel that will keep directing customers to you.
Based on the best practices of several high-performing businesses, here are some proven suggestions on how to get more reviews on Google.