8 Google Local Maps Optimization Tips for More Traffic and Sales

Travis Van SlootenSmall Business SEO

Google local maps optimization is a term that savvy business owners know well. The term has been around ever since Google introduced Google Maps in 2004.

Recently, Google changed the name of the service to Google+ Local. Many business owners still refer to the local search application as Google Maps and hence, refer to their local search marketing strategy as Google Maps SEO.

For the first few years after the launch of Google Maps, local search optimization simply meant claiming and verifying a business on Google Maps. Most businesses were able to get their businesses ranked on the all-important first results page, since a vast majority of businesses were either not aware of the free service or did not know how to take advantage of Internet marketing and SEO. Now, virtually every business tries to achieve a top seven ranking on Google Maps.

The increased competition for a high Google Maps ranking and Google’s constant tinkering with its search engine algorithm can make sit difficult for you to develop a powerful local search marketing strategy. However, your business has 8 ways to achieve Google local maps optimization that will improve your local search ranking.

Citations

Citations are mentions of your business on 3rd party review sites and in other business directories. It is important to build citations before claiming and verifying your Google Maps listing.

Look at citations as the cyberspace version of word of mouth advertising. The more quality referrals you receive from the popular citation sites (Yelp, Foursquare, and Angie’s List), the more likely your business ranking will rise on Google Maps.

Complete every Field

Take the time to complete every field that Google Maps provides. Enhance your business Google Maps optimization by providing detailed and accurate information about your business.

For instance, your organic website’s URL must match the URL of your Google Maps listing. Hours of operation and business category are two fields that many business owners neglect to complete. Upload all of photos and videos allowed by Google Maps.

Location, Location, Location

Businesses can spend hours refining their Google Maps SEO and still not see any positive results because they did not provide the correct geographic information for their business. If you own a florist shop in Riverside, California, you do not want to use the geo-location of “Los Angeles Florists.” Local searches work only when you accurately define the location of your business.

Cross Promotion

What works on your business’ organic website will also work on your Google Maps listing. Take the successful promotions from organic website and integrate them on your Google Maps listing. Promote special events, product bundling, and service discounts. Remember to keep the promotions current to maximize your Google Maps SEO.

Online Reviews

Every time your business receives a mention in a 3rd party website review, your Google Maps listing receives a boost. Google indexes all of your online reviews and collects them for your Google Maps listing. Offer incentives to encourage your loyal customers to post positive reviews on 3rd party sites.

Negative Reviews

Instinct tells us to defend our business whenever we receive a negative 3rd party review. However, common sense should tell us that a negative review online is similar to a customer complaint that we receive in person. You enhance your business’s reputation, and thus its Google Maps ranking, by responding to negative customer reviews of your business.

Google Boost Ads

Google always creates new products and service that savvy business owners implement in their local search strategies. One of the more recent introductions allows business owners to create online search ads directly from their Google Maps account. You do not control which keywords that appear. Google boost ads are another way for your business to achieve maximum optimization.

Local Submissions

Local directories provide Google with information that bolsters your Google Maps ranking. Focus on the two primary local submission directories that provide information to Google. The two leading data providers help your business build credibility across the web.

If you have incorrect information in the Localeze and InfoUSA databases, you will find the same incorrect information funneling into your Google Maps listing.

After your hard work maximizing Google Maps SEO, you do not want to perform a local search and receive the message, “More results near…” You might as well not exist at all! You must rank in the “Magnificent 7” on Google Maps, which you accomplish by implementing 8 Google Maps optimization tips that build traffic and increase sales.