Have Reviews on Your Google Maps Listing? You should respond to them

Have Reviews on Your Google Maps Listing? You Better Respond to Them

Many business owners today know that Google loves reviews. When you have review your business on Google Maps, the search engine giant ranks that listing higher than listings that are missing reviews. Sometimes business owners reach out to customers and ask them to leave these reviews. Other times, customers simply review a business because they want to share the experience they had. Whatever the reason the customer left the review, there’s one more important step for business owners. They need to respond to those reviews.

Google’s own support page states that businesses should interact with their customers by responding to reviews left about the business. Google gives the reason for this, saying that responding to reviews shows that business owners care about their customers and appreciate the feedback.

While Google doesn’t specifically say responding to reviews will increase your rank, they do so that responding to reviews will increase a business’ visibility. Since the visibility your business receives online is largely in the hands of Google, that’s important and indicates that responding to reviews is directly correlated to the ranking of your Maps listing.

When responding to reviews, it’s important to know how to properly do it. All reviewers should always be thanked for taking the time to leave the review. If the review was positive, a simple, “Hope to see you again soon!” will suffice. You can also say, “We’re so happy you enjoyed your experience!”

Negative reviews are a bit harder to respond to. Still thank the user for taking the time to leave a review. Then, address the problem and apologize for the inconvenience or bad experience the user had. Offer to correct the problem, by offering coupons or a free visit, or ask the customer how you can help fix the situation. It’s important not to become defensive or angry when responding to negative reviews. It will not make your business look professional, or a place other customers want to visit.

If you’ve gotten lots of reviews on your Google Maps listing, congratulate yourself for a job well done! However, that’s not the only step. Now is the time to start responding to them and boosting your Google Maps ranking even higher.

How to Add Your Business to Google Maps

After learning of the many benefits Google Maps holds for a business, business owners naturally want to know how to get listed within it. The good news is that it’s really easy and will only take a few minutes until your business is getting more exposure, and more customers through the door.

Claim Your GMB Listing

Google Maps is part of Google My Business (GMB). So, before you get onto Maps, you first have to get onto GMB. You can do this by going here: https://www.google.com/business/ and clicking on the “Get Started” button. GMB is a massive database of businesses all over the world. When customers are looking for a business, product, or service, they’ll likely use Google to do it. The first results seen are generated from GMB.

Search for Your Business

Google wants their business database, GMB, to be as complete and accurate as possible. That’s the only way to ensure more customers will use Google to find what they need. As such, Google may already have some of your information within GMB. They obtain this information by pulling snippets out of your website, social media profiles, and other places online to make a very basic listing. Due to this, when you’re first trying to get your business into Google Maps, you first have to see if it’s already listed. If it is, click “Claim this listing”. Otherwise, click on “Create new listing”.

Complete the Listing

After claiming your business or creating a new listing, you’ll need to fill out some information about your business. This includes whether you serve customers at a physical location, and if you deliver. These questions are to let Google know if your business has an actual physical location. After filling out this information, you’ll be listed in Google Maps. However, it’s not official just yet.

Verify Your Business

Google wants to make sure that only legitimate businesses appear within their database. Again, it’s the only way to ensure they’re delivering a great service to consumers searching for businesses. As such, they will ask you to verify your business. If your business already appeared within Google Maps, you just had to add to your listing, you can ask Google to send a postcard or verification, or can even do it over the phone. If your business was not on Google Maps before you started the process, you’ll have to wait for the postcard that has a verification code written on it.

Complete Your Profile

After verifying your business with Google, you can then complete the rest of your profile. Make sure to include the verification code, the phone number, hours of operation, photos, and anything else within the listing. Google ranks these listings and gives preference to those that have completed as much as possible. Some of this information you can complete even before you’ve verified the business, letting your business appear within Google Maps that much sooner.

With just these few simple steps, your business will be on Google Maps in no time, and you’ll start seeing more and more customers coming through the door!

How to Edit a Google Maps Listing

After you’ve listed your business within Google Maps, you’ll find occasionally you’ll have to edit your listing. This is an important step in keeping your listing up to date. Without editing your business, your business hours could sometimes be wrong, or other people can post inaccurate and misleading posts about your business. Editing your Google Maps listing doesn’t sound hard, and it isn’t. However, there are a few ways you can go about it, and some are better than others.

Google My Business Dashboard

This is the most popular, and the most effective way to edit your Google Maps listing. You can only use this method if you own the listing, meaning if you have already claimed it. If your business appears on Google Maps but there is incorrect information associated with it, you should claim your listing here: https://www.google.com/business/ and optimize it to ensure it’s correct.

The Local Knowledge Panel

The Local Knowledge Panel is a box that appears to the right of the search results when someone looks for a business. This Panel typically only appears when someone searches for a very specific business. If you search for your business on Google and this Panel appears, you can edit some of your listing here. Mainly you can change the pin marker location within the map, and mark your business as closed or never existed.

Google Maps

You can also edit your listing by going directly into Google Maps found here: www.google.com/maps. In the search field you can enter the name of your business and edit some information that is incorrect about your business. You can change the pin marker location, your business name, address, phone number, hours, and mark your business as closed or never existed.

While all of these places will allow you to edit the Google Maps listing for your business, the best way to do it is really to claim your Google My Business listing and edit Google Maps within it. This will allow you to edit your Google Maps listing, and keep control of the rest of your Google My Business listing.

How to Rank Higher in Google Maps

While it’s important to have a Google Maps listing for your business, it’s just as important that your business ranks higher than your competitors. Just like Google ranks websites, blog posts, and all other content on the Internet, they also rank your Google Maps listing. This is because they want to return only the best results to searchers. So, the higher your business ranks in Google Maps, the more customers will see your business after performing a search. So, how can your business rank higher in Google Maps?

Of all the ranking factors Google considers when ranking businesses in Google Maps, the most important is your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Your profile should be complete, accurate, and optimized to get you a higher rank. Below are tips that will help you do this.

Go Local with Your Phone Number

Many businesses use a 1-800 or 1-877 toll-free number. This is convenient for your customers, but Google is all about local and so, doesn’t like it when these numbers appear in your listing. Use a local telephone number that has a local area code. This will not only help your business rank higher in Google Maps, it will also verify to your customers that your business has a brick and mortar location in the area.

Do Not Use a Tracking Number

Many business owners use a tracking number in Google Maps to determine how many customers are reaching them through their listing. However, like using a toll-free number, this can hurt your ranking. Use the same number all your other customers use. It will appear consistently online, and that’s really what Google’s looking for.

Update Your Hours

Including business hours in your listing doesn’t just help customers, it will also help your Google Maps ranking. Remember to not only include your regular hours, but also hours of operation on holidays, weekends, and any other time they change.

Optimize Your Business Description

Google Maps only gives you so many characters in your description, so use them wisely. Keep the description short and include your main keyword. Google loves keywords and will rank your Google Maps listing higher if it includes at least one keyword and your location.

Add Photos

Google knows that searchers today are looking for images and video over text. As such, you should include photos of your business in your Google Maps listing. Make sure they are pictures of the actual business, particularly the one you use as your profile picture. When Google sees you’re giving searchers the content they prefer, they’ll assign your listing a better rank.

Get Reviews

Google loves reviews. Reviews, particularly positive ones, show Google that customers trust your business and that you’re a valuable business. Go into your Google Maps listing, click on “more information” and copy the direct link you find there. Then share it on social media and ask your customers to leave a review within your listing. The more reviews you have, the higher rank your listing will receive.

Consolidate Your Google Maps Listings

Sometimes businesses end up with duplicate listings. Maybe you created one and your marketing consultant created one. Or, maybe you created one when Google already had your business ready to claim. Whatever the reason, delete additional listings so you have only one. When you have more than one Google Maps listing, Google doesn’t know which one is correct, and which one to show customers. In the end, they’ll rank them both lower and your business won’t appear in the Maps search results.

With just these few steps, you can greatly increase your Google Maps ranking and become visible to even more customers!

How to Use Keywords in Google Maps, and How Not To

Keywords are a crucial component of any content you post online for your business, and your Google Maps listing is no different. Incorporating keywords into your listing will make it easier to rank higher, which means more customers will see your business after performing a search. However, if you include too many keywords, or use them in the wrong spots, your listing could be penalized and your ranking will suffer. So, how do you properly use keywords in Google Maps?

Find Your Best Keyword

Start by choosing one, and only one, keyword. There are a number of ways you can find your best keyword. One of the best way is to use Google’s Keyword Planner after signing into your Google account. Type in some words about your business and Google will return a number of keyword results. You can also perform a search in Google for your competitors, or businesses similar to yours. See what keywords they’re using, and how they rank to determine which ones are most useful to your business.

Optimize Your Google Maps Listing

Now that you’ve found your best keyword, incorporate it into your Google Maps listing. Place it in the description, within the categories if possible, in posts you create, and anything else you include with your listing. Focus content around this keyword and it will start to rank higher.

Get Reviews

When you ask customers to review your business, they’ll naturally incorporate your keyword if you’ve chosen wisely. For example, diners at a restaurant are likely to say something like, “Popped into this cozy little restaurant for lunch one day.” If ‘restaurant’ is your keyword, that review will help boost your ranking. Once you have a number of reviews, you can then expand on your best keyword and include more. For example, that same diner may write, “Popped into this cozy little restaurant for lunch one day while in Seattle.” The term ‘Seattle’ is a good additional keyword because it’s local, and Google loves local just as much as they love keywords and reviews.

Don’t Cram Your Content with Keywords

Using keywords is good. Using keywords excessively is bad. Don’t just place your keywords into as many possible places as you can. Google will view that as spam and penalize your Maps listing for it. Instead, use them naturally and in areas they make sense.

Don’t Use Keywords in Your Business Name

When entering your business name, use only your business name. Don’t include keywords here, unless they are part of your company’s name. Even including the term ‘Seattle’ could hurt your Maps ranking if the city’s name isn’t actually in your business name.

Keywords are important, but it’s just as important to know how to use them, and how not to. Follow these tips and have keyword confidence with your Google Maps listing.

Mistakes to Avoid with Your Google Maps Listing

Your Google Maps listing is central to achieving success with local SEO and getting more customers in through your door. What you do with your listing, what you include within it, and what you don’t include, will have a great impact on your Maps listing. Do it right and your Maps listing, and your business, will benefit from it. Make some common mistakes though, and your listing will suffer. Below are the biggest mistakes business owners make with their listings and the ones you should avoid.

Failing to Verify Your Business

Some businesses think Google will list their business on Maps even if they don’t verify it. That may be true, but you shouldn’t rely on it. If you don’t verify your business, it hurts your rank in Google Maps, as Google will wonder if you’re a legitimate business.

Using the Wrong Business Name

You may think that if there’s one thing you’ll get right in Google Maps, it’s the name of your business. But so many business owners get it wrong. They use techniques that are considered spammy by Google, such as using their location when that location isn’t part of the actual name. Or, business owners use their legal business name instead of the one that’s widely recognized by the community. Both of these will hurt your Google Maps ranking, and how many customers can find you within Maps.

Using a Bad Business Description

You have 250 characters to display the description of your business in Google Maps. As such, don’t include lots of filler that doesn’t provide value to your customers. Tell them what they need to know quickly, and that will be useful when they compare your listing to other businesses – because they will.

Using the Wrong Reviews

Many business owners know that Google loves reviews, and gives businesses a higher rank when they have them. However, many business owners also don’t want to ask their customers for reviews. To combat this challenge, business owners sometimes purchase fake reviews. This is one of the worst things you can do. Google outlines in their requirements that reviews must be honest, and left by real people that visited your business. If they learn that your reviews are fake, your listing will be greatly penalized for it. Additionally, customers can identify fake reviews pretty easily, and typically stay away from businesses that use them.

There are many things you can do to ensure your Google Maps listing is a success. There are also many things you can do to hurt your listing. Avoid these mistakes and know that your listing will shine, and all your hard work will be worth it.

The Benefits of Google Maps for Your Business

Google Maps is a win-win solution for anyone that uses it. As a business owner, it’s easier for customers to find you, which is something all business owners want. For customers, it helps find the businesses, products, and services they’re looking for. Google also benefits from it as more people continue to use this service, which means they continue using Google and making it the number one search engine.

These are all real benefits gained for anyone that uses Google Maps. For business owners, there are even more.

Information at a Glance

When customers look up your business online, Google will show them a map with the location of your business. If you’ve completely filled out your Google My Business listing they’ll also see other important information such as your phone number, hours of operation, and driving directions. This allows them to contact your business more quickly, which often results in a purchase.

Free Advertising

It is completely free to set up your Google My Business listing, which is how you’ll create your Google Maps. Whether you’re running other PPC campaigns online or not, there is no better value for your money in online marketing than creating a listing and getting a map.

Increased Visibility

Study after study has proven that not only are customers more likely to contact businesses in Google Maps, but when they do, they’re also more likely to make a purchase. When you can rank high in Google Maps, your business becomes even more visible to many more customers.

Quick Updates

When creating online marketing campaigns for your business, they sometimes take weeks before you see any results. Immediately after creating a listing, customers can see your business in Google Maps and start getting in touch with you.

Better Advertising

Not only is Google Maps free advertising, it’s also much more effective marketing. This is because customers can leave reviews on your Google Maps listing. When those are positive, other customers trust them much more because they come from real people.

Track the Data

Google Maps gives you free advertising, increased visibility, and lets customers get in touch with you immediately. Another, hidden benefit of Google Maps is that you can track the data. You can track how much traffic your website is receiving through Google Maps, and how many calls you’re getting through your listing. So, not only is Google Maps effective, it also shows you just how effective it is.

These are just a few of the benefits your business will reap when you create a Google Maps listing. Get started creating yours today and learn the many more benefits you’ll enjoy.

Using Call-To-Action Buttons in Google Maps

Since 2018, Google has provided the option to business owners to incorporate call-to-action buttons in their Google Maps listing. The only call to action Google once allowed in Google Maps was “Visit Website.” Now, you can choose call buttons, direction buttons, and still, a button that allows visitors to go directly to your website. While there are many benefits to having these buttons within your Maps listing, it’s also important to know how to use them.

There are two main benefits that come with including these call to action buttons within your listing. The first is that it automatically tells your customer the next step to take. You don’t have to include it elsewhere in your listing, because it’s one of the first things they’ll see.

The other benefit call to action buttons bring is that customers are more likely to use them. More customers are using mobile apps these days. They don’t want to have to look up your phone number, memorize it quickly, and then leave the app to enter it into their keypad. Giving customers a one-touch method to get in contact with your business means they’re more likely to.

Google provides many different options for call to action buttons, including viewing a menu or a list of available services, placing an order, and of course, call buttons. You don’t have to use all of them and, you should choose wisely when deciding which ones to include in your listing. Choose buttons that are of course, the highest priority for your business. Most businesses include a call button, but if you’re a restaurant, buttons to place an order may also be a priority for you. If you’re a retail store, you may wish to include a button that allows customers to view your inventory.

The good news is that, after seeing all the options you have for call to action buttons, the ones most important to your business will likely be fairly obvious. Aim for having at least two call to action buttons within your listing so customers feel as though they have a couple of options.

Why It’s so Important to Update Your Google Maps Listing

Many business owners know that being listed within Google Maps is important. It increases your visibility to customers, gets you more revenue, and even gets your website increased traffic. However, too many business owners simply create a listing and then leave it there. They don’t check it, they don’t make updates to it, and essentially, have no idea what’s happening with it once it’s up and running. That is a major mistake. Ignoring your listing will not only unravel all the hard work you’ve done on it, it can also hurt your business.

Did you know that once your listing is live on Google Maps, anyone can make changes to it? That’s right. It sounds incredibly unfair to business owners, but Google does this to provide customers with an authentic and real experience. They want customers to upload pictures, reviews, and make other edit suggestions for your business. And so, anyone that sees your listing can change it – even your competitors.

This can be disastrous to a business, which is why it’s so important to check it and update it when needed. Reviewing your listing is the only way to see if there are fake reviews that should be removed. This is not an easy process, but if there are unfair reviews on your listing, or reviews that simply just aren’t true, you can ask Google to remove them.

Reviewing your listing will also allow you to see if anyone has made significant changes that could hurt your business, such as changing the address, hours of operation, or phone number. If these changes are made, customers may not be able to contact you, or become frustrated because they regularly visit your business when you’re not open.

These are real changes that could be made to your listing. Worse, these changes can be made without you even knowing. Google does’t always alert customers when changes are made to their listing, so the only way to keep on top of this is to check your listing regularly, and make sure it looks exactly the way you want it to.

Your Website Can Help Your Google Maps Listing Rank Higher

It’s true that your Google Maps rank is directly tied to your Google My Business listing. However, many business owners don’t realize that their website will also have an effect on their Maps ranking. Below is a list of tips to incorporate into your website to ensure it’s supporting, and not hurting, your Google Maps ranking.

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

It’s important to remember that customers are going mobile today. More users are searching on their cellphones than they are on desktops or laptops. Due to this, it’s important they can reach you just as easily as if they were on a larger computer. That means you must optimize your website to make it mobile-friendly. If your listing includes broken links to your website, users need to constantly pinch and zoom, or if your site is too slow to load, Google will penalize your Maps listing for it.

Go Local

Google Maps is all about local listings, so it makes sense that your website should also be optimized for local. Incorporate geographically modified keywords into all the titles of your web pages, the headers, body of your content, image tags, and your URLs. Ideally you should have location pages for any location you serve, but place a priority on the main pages of your website, such as your home and service pages.

Place a Map on Your Website

While optimizing your website for Google Maps, why not also embed an actual Google Maps onto your website? Many businesses place this map on their Contact page, and that’s a great place for it, since it will tell customers where to find you. Google also ranks websites higher that have a map embedded onto their website because it confirms that the business is located where you say it is. Just make sure you use the same business address you use in your Google Maps listing so the two line up.

To embed a map on your website, search for your business within the app or on the website. Find your listing, click on ‘Share,’ and then click on the ‘Embed a map’ tab. Then you simply have to copy that code into the website page you want it to appear.

Business listings on Google Maps are becoming more advanced every day, allowing customers to get the information they need quickly. Making sure your website is in top shape will help you achieve and maintain a higher ranking on Google Maps.