Ranking your site in Google Maps is becoming one of the most important objectives for local businesses. The majority of internet searches are for local businesses and many searches often end in purchases of products and services. Couple this with the growing use of mobile phones and how the search results react on a mobile display, gaining high rankings in Google Maps is becoming incredibly important.
Google has recently changed the way the listings are displayed in search results in 2015. Previously, Google allowed up to 7 results for local searches; however, they have adjusted the output to displaying only 3 results at max. This means that more than 50% of businesses were removed, and the little real estate the remains is becoming more and more valuable.
To get started in ensuring your rankings, the first thing you need to do is to claim and verify your business on Google Maps. If you have not already done so, you can do this straight from Google My Business. During the set up process, you will be asked to provide information regarding your business including: primary category of your business, business address, service location, phone number, description, and more.
Within your description you want to include your main keyword. Some SEO experts may tell you to use your main keyword in your page title; however, if your business doesn't include those terms within the name, you may be singled out as keyword stuffing, something Google does not like. Keep everything natural and you should be OK.
The next thing you want to pay attention to is known as your NAP. NAP refers to your business name, address, and phone number. You want your NAP to be displayed on your site and be used consistently on all of your citations. Your citations are any and all references to your business from other sites and directories. Directories are sites similar to Yelp or Yellow Pages. When signing up for these sites, you want to make sure your NAP is as close to identical as possible. Having a uniform NAP allows Google to easily align all of your citations with your business.
In many instances, having a greater number of citations will help increase your ranking in the maps. Building more citations can certainly help, but only if they come from relevant sites. For instance, any business should have a citation coming from Yellow Pages; however, an electrician should not receive a citation from a directory of plumbers.
There can be a bit of tedious work when attempting to rank your site in Google Maps, but the end result can provide tremendous results to your business.