In today’s digital landscape, Google Maps has become the go-to tool for navigating the physical world. Users depend on the easy layout of the platform to find nearby companies, whether they are looking for a charming café or a well-regarded dentist. Nevertheless, concealed inside the realm of competition exists a domain where enterprises strive to attain prominence, specifically the top three positions on Google Maps. This high-quality property not only determines online visibility but also generates physical customer visits and income. The mastery of ranking in these highly sought-after places is of utmost importance for business owners in order to maintain a competitive edge in the digital marketplace. 

Google Maps Ranking factors

The ranking criteria of Google Maps are sometimes referred to as local ranking factors, as they pertain to the geographical location of both the user and the searcher. As per the documentation provided by Google, the three primary criteria influencing local rankings are:

  • Relevance refers to the degree to which your business aligns with the user’s query.
  • Distance refers to the proximity between you and the search user.
  • Prominence refers to the level of recognition and popularity that a firm enjoys.

Local ranking factors and the Vicinity update

In December 2021, Google officially announced the implementation of a substantial change to their local engine. The Vicinity update emerged as the most significant improvement to the local search algorithm within the past five years, resulting in a substantial alteration of the relative importance of the three fundamental ranking variables. The significance of the distance component has increased compared to its previous role. Prior to the upgrade, the listings that were more effectively optimized had the potential to surpass those that were in closer proximity to the searcher. Currently, this is quite improbable.

Google has initiated testing of the new local pack layout in search engine results pages (SERPs) in conjunction with the Vicinity update. When encountering a larger block, it is possible to observe its map on the right side and the three local pack results on the left side.

Google Maps

This analysis aims to examine the impact of the Vicinity upgrade on several local SEO ranking factors.

Relevance factor

The component of relevance is likely to be the most straightforward to elucidate. The relevance of a business to the query is a determining factor. Previously, in many specific areas, relevance was determined just by having a keyword that exactly matches your business name. However, the current upgrade has reduced the significance of this criteria. Currently, the significance lies in the category and subcategories of your business listing.

Suppose I search for “pub Melbourne” on Google.

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Currently, the local pack exclusively includes a single outcome that has the term “pub” in its name. 

Factor of distance

Distance is perhaps the sole element that is beyond your control. You are now in a fixed position and have no ability to relocate your business or compel users to look for it from a specific location.

The significance of distance was significantly heightened with the Vicinity upgrade. As depicted in the screenshot below, even a listing with incomplete information might still be included in the local pack if it is situated in close proximity to the searcher.

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Absence of ratings, reviews, and prices. No, nothing. However, the snippet was included in the SERP because to its geographical location.

What is the reason for this? Google aims to provide consumers with proximity to nearby locations, hence minimizing the need for extensive walking to reach their intended destinations. For the purpose of ensuring the comfort of individuals.

Prominence factor

Prominence, a ranking factor of utmost difficulty and significance, is now being considered. The Vicinity upgrade has also had an influence in this context.

According to Google’s literature, prominence is determined by the level of recognition a business has, both in physical and digital platforms. The visibility of your organization in Google Maps is determined by various factors, including the organic placements of your website, GMB reviews, ratings, and backlinks.

The influence of prominence becomes evident when you seek a location in a new setting (for example, when you desire to locate something in a different city you intend to visit).

Currently, I am not located in Rimini. Here is the contents of the local gelato Rimini package:

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The results exhibit a consistent rating of 4.6, with the first location receiving 2,000 reviews, the second location receiving 761 reviews, and the third location receiving 411 reviews. The association is readily apparent.

1. Add Your Business to Google Maps

To achieve a ranking on Google Maps, it is necessary to have a presence on Google Maps. To use Google Maps, it is necessary to navigate to the search bar and input the name of your business.

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If there is currently no available information regarding your business, please utilize the “Add a missing place” feature. A Comprehensive Guide to Top Rankings on Google Maps 2024 group buy

A window will appear, prompting you to provide the fundamental company details such as the operating hours, classification, and geographical position. Upon completion, select the Send option. Your application will undergo a thorough evaluation and receive approval, followed by an email notification.

2. Add Your Business to Google My Business and Optimize The Listing

From a technical standpoint, a GMB listing is not necessary to achieve a ranking on Google Maps. However, it is indeed true that GMB plays a significant role in determining local ranking parameters.

Upon adding your business to Google Maps, you have the ability to promptly generate a GMB listing. To proceed, please select the option “Claim this business” within the Maps pop-up.

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By executing this step, users will promptly be directed to the Google Business Profile page, where they may proceed to complete their listing by furnishing comprehensive facts and pertinent information pertaining to their organization.

Regarding the optimization of the Google My Business (GMB) listing, it is imperative to meticulously complete each line and area that is visible. Alternatively, please refer to our extensive manual on optimizing Google My Business listings.

Pro Tip: 

While the inclusion of an exact-match keyword in your business name may enhance your business’s ranking on Google Maps, it is important to note that Google’s Guidelines forbid the inclusion of keywords. The inclusion of superfluous information inside one’s business name is strictly prohibited and may lead to the temporary suspension of the Business Profile.

The following is a list of elements that should be excluded from your business name:

  • Advertising slogans. Negative: Pigs & Butter, the Optimal Meat in the Urban Area. Quality: Pigs & Butter Codes for Stores. Location: Coffee House – 1703. Product: Coffee House Registration of trademarks/signs. Drawback: Burger King®. Positive: Burger King
  • Words that are fully capitalized (excluding acronyms) or contain superfluous spaces. Bad: McDonald’s S. Good: McDonald’s Details regarding business hours, including the state of closure or opening. Drawback: Domino’s Pizza Operating around the clock. Positive: Domino’s Pizza
  • Phone numbers or website URLs should only be used if they accurately represent the legal name of your firm. Airport Direct can be contacted at 1-888-557-8953. Positive: Direct from the airport
  • Special characters, such as %&$@/, or legal phrases that are not important unless they are included in the official name of your business. Unfavorable: Shell Pay@Pump. Positive: Shell
  • Please provide details regarding your business’s services or products, unless this information is required to identify a specific department within the business. Verizon Wireless 4G LTE is a subpar option. Excellent: Verizon Wireless
  • The provision of location and address details. Drawback: Holiday Inn (EXIT 2 on I-93). Excellent: Holiday Inn Salem. Information regarding the confinement of your firm within another business. Drawback: Geek Squad (located within Best Buy). Positive: Geek Squad

In conclusion, it is imperative that your business name closely aligns with your legal name, devoid of any supplementary terms or phrases. 

3. Get more reviews

As previously stated, evaluations have a significant influence on one’s rankings on Google Maps and inside the local search results. Certainly, I am referring to favorable evaluations. What is the process for obtaining them? Primarily, it is advisable to motivate clients to provide reviews. You have the option to initiate a social media campaign, provide a promotional offer, or just send an email to get their feedback on your business and request a rating.

In addition, it is worth noting that reviews include distinct ranking characteristics, as evidenced by Google’s practice of directing some reviews to the Most Relevant area.

Evaluate rating. Occasionally, Google surpasses the star rating. Several SEO professionals have provided reports on Google’s attempts with sentiment analysis.

Evaluate the amount. Having a greater number of reviews is advantageous.

The review content contains several keywords. The quality of your reviews is enhanced when they incorporate pertinent keywords.

Given this consideration, it is vital to ensure that the reviews pertaining to your organization are abundant and incorporate relevant keywords. To incentivize your clients to utilize the required keywords, contemplate soliciting reviews of particular products or services offered by your company.

Caution: Negative evaluations might be received by any business. Do not disregard them, but ensure to respond to the customer and express remorse for any adverse encounter that may have occurred. The utilization of Google Maps encompasses not only the aspect of exposure, but also the strategic placement of one’s business. Google Maps may significantly contribute to your digital marketing plan when utilized appropriately and properly.

4. Optimize your website

While it is not necessary to have a website in order to be displayed on Google Maps, such as a GMB listing, disregarding organic SEO might negatively impact your Google Maps performance. This is because there is a significant relationship between organic traffic and improving rankings in the local search results.

Add local keywords

In order to enhance your local rankings, it is advisable to incorporate local keywords within your website. The aforementioned keywords enable Google to perceive your pertinence to a specific geographical area.

Typically, you can easily incorporate the name of the specific location where you conduct business into your landing pages. As an illustration, go for New York best coffee rather than simply best coffee. Additionally, it may be beneficial to consider improving the nearby keywords.

To explore novel local keyword suggestions, it is recommended to utilize the Keyword Research module offered by Rank Tracker. One possible approach is to utilize a local term as a starting point to generate more keyword ideas through the utilization of the Autocomplete Tools functionality.

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If you have a presence in multiple areas, it is advisable to establish distinct landing pages for each region and enhance them with pertinent local keywords. These keywords might include the names of surrounding sites, attractions, cities, and so on.

Please be aware that in our guide on local ranking factors for entities, I mentioned the utilization of local landmarks, which are the names of renowned surrounding locations. By including these locations on your website, Google can foster stronger connections between your business and a certain geographic region. The aforementioned locations are accessible on Google Maps. If certain sites possess well-known local monikers, you may also utilize them.

Insert a Google map

Integrating Google Maps directly into your website is an additional method to establish a connection between your business and the specific area. Specifically, one can indicate the directions to their destination from prominent nearby points, such as an airport, railway station, or local attractions.

It should be noted that the Google Maps API incurs charges for extensive usage. However, it is indeed feasible to incorporate Google Maps into your About and Contact pages, or any other relevant sites. To receive a monthly credit of $200 on the Google Maps API, it is necessary to establish a billing account with Google Cloud Platform. It is important to note that charges will only be incurred if the consumption above the allocated $200 credit.

Make your website responsive

The concept of website responsiveness refers to the ability of a website to operate consistently on various devices and screen sizes. The inclusion of a website link in Google Maps business listings, along with the fact that around 60% of Google searches are conducted on mobile devices, underscores the need of having an adaptable website.

5. Build relevant backlinks

SEO has consistently recognized the significance of high-caliber backlinks, and this holds true for local search as well.

In order to enhance one’s visibility in local search, it is imperative to prioritize both thematically and regionally relevant backlinks.

When seeking chances for link-building, it is advisable to engage in a proactive approach by conducting an outdoor survey. Begin by considering your immediate community members. Next, direct your attention towards your company contacts, who could include your partners, suppliers, clients, and so on.

Even in cases where a business shares no similarities with you save for their geographical location, the presence of a backlink from their website will nevertheless indicate a “connection” to that specific place, so positively impacting your local results.

Ensure that you do not overlook the chance to ascertain the backlinks of your competition. To accomplish this, navigate to the Domain Comparison area in SEO SpyGlass and select Link Intersection. Then, incorporate a few of your competitors from Google Maps by searching for your business category and location. Next, select Prospective domains from the provided drop-down box.

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6. Audit and update NAP citations

The acronym NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, which represents your essential business details. Google’s confidence in your business increases when the consistency of these details across your business references on the internet improves.

It is logical to conduct an audit of your NAP citations in order to identify and rectify any incongruous data.

Despite claims by certain experts that the significance of citations as a ranking indicator diminishes annually. It is advisable to ensure that one’s business is adequately represented on prominent platforms such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, or Tripadvisor, as well as on local directories that cater to the specific geographical region, such as city-wide review platforms or aggregation marketplaces.

7. Add Schema Markup to your website

Structured data enables Google to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your organization. Local businesses have the ability to implement schemas for many aspects such as their address, operating hours, and social media accounts. As Google crawlers access your website, they will readily acquire essential information, thereby enhancing their trust in your website and elevating its ranking on Google Maps.

Ensure that you verify and authenticate your schema using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to verify its proper functionality.

8. Try Google Maps Ads for ranking

Google Maps Ads is not a natural method of promotion, but it can still be utilized as a tool for acquiring traffic.

Similar to other pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, advertisements are displayed on the Google Maps search engine results page (SERP) above the organic results, typically one or two at a time. To advertise your business on Google Maps, it is necessary to establish your firm by claiming it using your Google Business Profile account and subsequently creating a Google Ads account.

In essence, similar to any CPC campaign, advertising on Google Maps offers the clear advantage of being positioned above other search results. However, in this case, the advertisement directs traffic not to your website, but rather to your GMB listing.

Google Maps offers several methods to display your PPC results.

Advertisements in Search Results

When conducting a search on a mobile device for a business or service within a specific geographical area using Google Maps, the system will provide the closest businesses in proximity to the user’s physical location, along with their respective ratings.

To get a prominent position in the search results for a particular location, Google Maps provides paid local search listings.

This type of outcome promptly enhances the click-through rate (CTR) of any organization in comparison to its competitors and generates a substantial number of new clicks.

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Advertised Pins

Promoted pins represent an additional category of paid advertisement listings, serving as an effective means to garner attention during users’ map browsing activities. Contrary to the search results advertisements, these highlighted pins appear on the map automatically without requiring the user to conduct any search.

The color and design of the symbols will be determined by the kind of the business being promoted. In addition, you have the option to include a logo instead of a conventional icon for display.

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Retail promotions

In-store promotions are prominently shown on businesses’ listings, providing users with information about the unique specials they are currently offering. These promotional activities encompass a wide range of incentives, including buy-one-get-one-free offers and price reductions on select products.

In this particular instance, the pin is presented as a conventional Google My Business store, however, once clicking on the profile, viewers will be directed to the unique in-store offer.

9. Track your Google Maps rankings

You may track your Google Maps rankings in the same manner as you track your regular SEO rankings.

Consider Rank Tracker as an illustration. To use Google Maps, navigate to Preferences > Preferred Search Engines.

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Additionally, users have the option to designate a specific place for tracking their whereabouts, such as a certain street address. To initiate the process, please select the “Add Custom” option adjacent to the Google Maps button within the search engine list. Subsequently, provide the desired location in the newly opened box.

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After accessing the customisation menu, proceed to input the desired address for the purpose of tracking. Users will now have the capability to monitor their local rankings in proximity to the precise geographical location of their firm. To accommodate multiple business locations, it is recommended to generate additional projects inside the Rank Tracker platform, as there are no limitations on the number of projects that can be utilized.

Once the keywords are incorporated into the project, it becomes possible to monitor their search engine results page (SERP) and visibility advancements using Google Maps.

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Sum Up 

Optimizing for Google Maps may not be the most apparent avenue for advancing one’s SEO approach. However, given the increasing prominence of local business features in search engine results pages (SERPs), it is imperative for businesses to incorporate these elements in order to attract views, clicks, and ultimately acquire paying clients. Upon perusing this guide, it becomes evident that the process is not as arduous as it may have initially appeared.

Rank Market offers a unique opportunity to access a variety of SEO tools through their group buy service, empowering users with cost-effective solutions for enhancing online visibility. With their comprehensive selection of SEO apps, users can efficiently optimize their websites and climb search engine rankings without breaking the bank.