Google Maps has gone from simply being a map that helps users navigate to being a useful means of exploring and finding goods and services. For your business, Google Maps offers several benefits, such as helping customers find you quickly and easily, helping them contact you, and guiding them to your location. It can also offer your business greater credibility when users check out the accompanying reviews from other customers.
If you are not performing as well as you’d like, you may be wondering why your competitors rank higher than you in Google Maps. There are several possible reasons that you can explore to help improve your standing.
Here are some of the most common, along with some tips for what you can do about each.
Their Google Business Profile is Better Optimized
Your Google Business Profile tells customers and Google about your business and is a great means of connecting with local customers. It is easy to create and maintain your profile, but not all businesses optimize it to its fullest potential. A completed profile is 70% more likely to prompt a customer visit and those customers are 50% more likely to consider making a purchase. Additionally, almost 3 times as many customers consider a business more reputable when their business profile is filled out in full.
Optimizing your profile, therefore, should include ensuring it is complete and accurate if you have not already done so. Look beyond the “required” fields and fill in as much detail and information about your company as possible. Other methods might include writing a compelling description of your business, adding high-resolution photos, and even video if possible. And if you’re a brick and mortar business where customers can come to your location – always make sure your opening times are up to date, particularly around any holidays or special days where normal operating hours vary.
More People Engage with Their Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile is meant to allow customers to interact with your business. If they are engaging with a competitor’s profile more than yours, you may not have set up messaging to allow them to contact you.
When messaging is active, customers can reach out to you directly, receive quotes if applicable, and more. This heightened engagement will help you rank better in the eyes of Google while also building relationships.
Make sure that all of your contact information is up to date and that you’re giving customers every opportunity and way to contact you. Give them the tools to make the choice on how they want to interact with you. Filling out your phone number so they can use the click to call function on Google Maps, making sure your store address is correct so they can get directions, inserting your website URL so they can view your site… all of these steps are important and give the user the choice of how they can interact with you or find out more about your company. And more engagement = better rankings.
Their Website is Better Optimized
Having great local optimization on your website for your location(s), helps to further build a picture for Google about the areas you serve.
One common mistake we see is when businesses have 2 or more locations, but fail to give each location it’s own page or hub on their website.
It’s important that each Google Business Profile has it’s own corresponding area page or section within your website.
So if you were a pet store, for example, with locations in Toronto and Vancouver, having a Toronto Google Business Profile that links to a Toronto page on your main website, and a Vancouver Google Business Profile that links to a Vancouver page on your website would be a better setup than having 1 generalized locations page.
They Have More Local Citations
Citations are when your company is mentioned on another site that you don’t own. The citation will include your company’s name, address, and phone number. For example, a citation for a restaurant would include appearing in an online directory where consumers can search for local businesses.
Citations are an important ranking factor in local SEO. You can think of them as the fuel that powers your rankings. Coupled with our next point below, this is what can really level up your standing in Google Maps.
They Have More Reviews
Reviews are a great, free resource. Customers who leave positive reviews create a positive impression of your business so that when others read the review, they are naturally more inclined to visit your website or your physical location. Even the negative reviews can have a positive effect on potential customers if they see that you are responding to them, taking them seriously, and using them to improve.
Reviews will help you build trust in your brand and as such, deserve your attention.
They’re also another big Google Maps ranking factor.
There are lots of ways to encourage more people to leave reviews of your company on Google Maps (in fact, we’ve got a whole blog post about that coming up soon), but for now at least, if you’re not already actively asking customers to leave you a review, then you should consider starting.
More People Search for Their Brand Name
Your competitor may be ranking higher due to more users searching them out by their name.
More brand keyword searches not only gives them more chances to appear higher, it’s also a signal to Google that this is a business that people want to interact with.
If Google sees that your business is popular or more in demand, then that’s inevitably going to lead to them being more inclined to rank it higher in non branded searches too.
It’s all about trust, expertise and giving users what they want.
Local SEO Takes Time
This last one is the least popular one, as there’s not a whole lot you can do to really change it. But it’s an important point to remember.
To reach its full potential, SEO takes time. This is because SEO is an ongoing process that addresses several different factors. There isn’t really a point when SEO is “done” because changes in technology, Google’s algorithms, and the numerous variables involved will require continual adjustment of your local SEO strategy. You can be sure that your SEO will generate results, but if it is something that you just started to focus on, you will need to give it a little time.
These are just some of the reasons why your competitor may be ranking higher than you in Google maps. The good news is that you can take action on each of these points, improving your own standing
For more information about Google Maps, what they can do for you, and how you can best take advantage of them, contact us today.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.