If you want to rank higher on Google Maps, there are a number of different factors you are going to need to take into consideration. Location is more important than ever before when it comes to the world of SEO. If you have a local business or you are targeting a certain area, you need to make sure you rank for it.

So, with that being said, let’s take a look at the different ranking factors for Google Places.

Google Place marker at Google Village
photo credit: Leyla Arsan / Flickr

1. Ensure your Google My Business Page is verified

There is only one place to begin, and this is with your Google My Business page. The first step when it comes to getting found in Google Maps is to ensure your business has a listing on Google My Business and that it has been verified.

2. Make the most of the subcategories in Google My Business

This is beneficial for businesses that have enterprises in numerous locations, for example, institutions, universities, franchises, and retailers. For instance, grocery chains are a good example of this. Your main category here would be groceries. However, most grocery chains have a number of different departments within their super store, from gas stations to pharmacies. Therefore, you have an opportunity to compete in the local search market with every department. This is why it is important to make the most of the different subcategory options that are available.

3. Optimize the homepage of your website

Ranking highly on Google Maps is not just about ensuring your Google My Business page is optimized. You also need to make sure that the homepage of your website is as well. You are going to need to input your website URL when you create a Google Maps business listing. You are essentially creating a landing page to your Google Maps listing when you add your site URL to your Google My Business Page. Therefore, it plays a vital role in terms of your overall local SEO strategy.

The site that is associated with your Google Maps listing is going to have a direct impact on the authority and ranking in the local search engine results.

4. Add local business schema markup

You are also going to want to incorporate schema language into your website. For those who are unaware, this is a structural protocol that Google, Bing, and Yahoo have all adopted with the purpose of making it easier to determine specific datasets within web pages. You need to make sure your business contact details are wrapped in your Schema, as this will result in you sending a much higher quality signal to search engines, including Google, about the authority and relevance of your company location.

Backlink citation

5. Build niche citations

In addition to the tips that have already been discussed, building niche citations can also help you when it comes to Google Places. However, you may be wondering what a citation is to begin with. This is simply a record of your NAP. NAP stands for your business name, address, and telephone number. In some cases, it may incorporate the URL of your website too.

Citations are used by Google in order to validate business locations. You should consider citations in the same manner as you do backlinks for your organic search engine optimization strategy. The more relevant and authoritative citation sources are to your company, the more punch this is going to give you when it comes to enhancing your Google Maps rankings.

6. Make sure your citations are consistent

You also need to make sure you remove volatility and that you keep your citations as consistent as possible. Your rankings in the local search results in Google can drop because of volatility. Your NAP citations will have volatility if you make any variations or your address is represented in different ways across the website. This may be a simple difference from the way your address is written in one place compared to another. However, this can work against you. This is why you need to make sure there is consistency across all of the different occurrences of your address. There is no easy way to fix this.

Firstly, you need to decide on how your address is going to be displayed. You are recommended to do a search of your business address on Google. You should then start to go through the search results and identify every place where you have a citation. When you find a version of your address that is not identical to the address you have decided on, you should amend it so that everything matches up perfectly.

SEO specialist working on a project

7. Hire an SEO company

Last but not least, if you do not have the experience when it comes to search engine optimization, it will certainly pay to hire an SEO company instead. You will benefit from the assistance of someone who knows exactly what it takes to optimize a website for Google Places. They will also have all of the technology that is required to implement and track your SEO campaign, ensuring the best possible results. Unless you have a dedicated marketing team at your company, it is always going to be better to search for experts that can assist you.

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to ranking for Google Places. Hopefully, you now feel more prepared when it comes to developing your Google Maps SEO strategy. If you follow the tips that have been provided, you will have a great chance of success. Nevertheless, nothing beats using the services of digital marketing professionals. Finding an expert SEO company can make all of the difference.