How does Google Maps rank your business for searches conducted? Here’s a short video that explains how that happens. HINT: In a nutshell, it’s based on three ranking factors.
Watch the video, then we’ll talk about it.
Location, Location, Location
Even online, location is important. But your Google Maps listing will be ranked based on a user’s search query and your location from their search location. For instance, if you search Google Maps for “small business marketing wayzata, mn,” then you’ll find Small Business Mavericks in the No. 1 position. Conduct a similar search, however, for small business marketing companies in Minnetonka and we drop to the No. 2 position. Make that search for Apple Valley and we drop to No. 10.
As the searcher is farther and farther away from our location, the less relevant we become for their search query. That’s an important criteria in some industries such as hotels and restaurants where services cannot be delivered online. Location is very important.
The Relevance Factor
Relevance has to do with placing your business in the right category. If you are an automotive shop that performs tune ups and oil changes but do not do body repair, then you’ll want to make sure you list your business in the right categories. After all, you want to be found for the search queries people make and relevance is a key factor.
What Is Prominence?
Prominence is a different matter. It has to do with how important your business appears to be within your niche. This is likely judged on the basis of your reviews and ratings and whether or not other Google Maps users save you in their searches and add you to their maps.
What Do You Have Control Over?
To a certain degree, you have control over some aspects of each of these criteria, but there are other aspects of them that you do not have control over – particularly location and prominence.
You do not have control, for instance, over the location of the searcher. You do, however, have control over where you say you are located in your profile. Be honest and don’t try to game the system or it could hurt you. List your business location and see how it affects your rankings in Google Maps.
With prominence, you can ask your customers to review and rate your business, but you have no control over what they say. Just provide a good service and you won’t have to worry about bad reviews.
When it comes to relevance, you have a lot of control. If you place your business in the right category, use keywords in your description, and use traditional SEO tactics to a certain degree, then you can influence the relevance factor in the Google Maps algorithm.