Google regularly updates their map algorithms so that they can provide the most relevant information to consumers and businesses alike. While it may seem like these updates are done simply to make ranking more difficult, in actuality these updates make it easier for you to reach your ideal customer.
51% of local searches result in a store visit. Google is focused on increasing that number by providing searchers with the most relevant information possible.
Keep reading for updates on the Google Map algorithm and ensure your business’s strategy to rank on Google Maps is in sync. As with anything local business-related on Google, the best place when trying to rank on Google Maps is to set up your free Google My Business account. If you’ve already done that, we’ve detailed the latest Google Map updates below so that you show up when customers are searching for products and services that your business offers.
“Add a missing business” in the Navigation Drawer
Google Maps recently made a change to the navigation drawer: searchers are now able to “add a missing business.” This seemingly small change is actually very significant for businesses that aren’t using Google My Business because searchers can add places to the Map that aren’t listed or discoverable online.
With searchers given the ability to add in businesses that aren’t discoverable, Google has upped the ante for local businesses and made it even more important that they correct and update their information. If a searcher adds in your business’s information for you, you run the risk of it being incorrect — which will hurt your discoverability in Google Search.
In addition to using Google My Business, you need to make sure your business is listed in top local directories. If you have multiple locations, each of them needs to be optimized for Google Maps and Search, as well. However, directory listings aren’t a one-and-done deal; you need regularly update and de-dupe them or you’ll run the risk of giving Google Maps and Search (and customers) with incorrect information.
For example, if your business has had more than one address during it’s lifetime (i.e.: you moved, etc.), most likely directories have you listed twice. Since the Google Maps algorithm can’t distinguish which is the correct address, it will opt to move your ranking down in its results pages so that it doesn’t run the risk of giving searchers the wrong information.
Direct calls via the Knowledge Panel
Keeping your business’s information up-to-date is even more important now that Google has given searchers the ability to place phone calls to businesses directly from the Knowledge Panel.
The Google Knowledge Panel will display in both Maps and Search and is dependent on the device you are using, your search terms and location.
If you decide to provide searchers using the Knowledge Panel with the bare minimum information they need to take an action, you’ll need to update your business’s name, address and phone number. To go above and beyond (and increase your rank on Google Maps), you should include photos, hours of operation, a link to your website and how your business is classified — to name a few.
If you use Google My Business, the Knowledge Panel will pull your business’s information from there.
By including even just the minimum information you can not only increase your rank on Google Maps but increase the likelihood that a consumer will call your business.
Refined local pack in browser Search and Maps app
The most significant Google Maps algorithm update is around the “local pack” on Search.
Previously, a local search would result in 7 businesses being shown. However, Google dropped that number to include only the top 3 — frustrating anyone in spots 4 – 7.
So what can you do if you’ve been ousted from the local pack results? Ranking on Google Maps is all about providing the algorithm with the most accurate information possible, so the tech giant can use it to give searchers exactly what he/she is looking for.
The more active and specific your Google My Business profile is, the higher Google will rank it on the local pack and on the map. The best place to start is by taking a look at your Google My Business profile and figuring out where you can embellish and expand on.
Areas you should try to build out:
- Hours of operation
- Local phone number
In addition, you should also post regularly on Google+. While many argue that Google+ is a “failure” from a social media network perspective, nobody will deny that it is significant in helping local businesses rank on Google Maps and Search.
Start to rank on Google Maps, in the local search pack and in organic search results by refining and actively updating your Google My Business account. By providing Google with updated information and showing them that your business is active, you’ll be rewarded with a higher ranking.
However, don’t let one profile be the only influence in the equation. Google’s Map and Search algorithms use 200+ different ranking factors, so it’s important you give them the information they’re searching for — all available in our SEO cheat sheet.
from LocalVox » Local Marketing Blog http://localvox.com/blog/rank-on-google-maps-2015-updates/