Google Local Map Results – Our Guide to Getting Discovered Faster
April 6, 2019 By Practice Growth Pras
What do people do these days when they need a veterinarian, dentist, optometrist or any other local healthcare provider? They head to Google or Google Maps and search ‘doctor near me’ and pick one of the top results. In fact, this is so common that Google now assumes you mean ‘near me’ even if you just search ‘doctor.’
What does this mean for your practice? It means that you must be ranking highly for local map results if you wish to draw in new customers, clients and patients.
In this blog post, we take a look at what Google says you should do in order to show up in local map results. We’ll also provide some best practices so that you can (hopefully) show up higher than your competition.
How Google Determines Your Local Ranking
Google uses a multitude of factors when determining who shows up at the coveted top spot for local search queries. Moz, the leading expert in SEO, broke down the top factors that go into search engine ranking:
- Google My Business Signals is the most important factor. This includes the category of your business, if you have keywords in the business title and, most importantly, the proximity of the business to the person searching.
- Local SEO Signals. Do you have a website connected with your business? SEO efforts that help rank your website will also help rank your business in local search results. Inbound anchor text, inbound domain authority and the quantity of quality links all play an important role.
- Reviews. The quantity and velocity of user reviews plays a role in where your business will show up. Having diverse reviews will actually help, as well, so don’t be worried if you don’t have a perfect five-star rating.
When looking at what Google says, they primarily rank based on relevance, distance and prominence. As is usually the case with Google, exactly what this means was kept vague. That’s why third party companies such as Moz are useful: they help us understand what actually works.
Make Use of ‘Google My Business’
What does Google say about being added to their system? Well, their main recommendation is that people use Google My Business.
Google.com/business is the portal for anyone looking to add their business to Google’s search results. If you aren’t using it, you’re hoping that Google themselves have added your business. While that’s possible, you should skip the wait and use the tool they created. Using this tool will allow you to create a company listing, complete with hours, a linked website and directions.
You can get started right now at Google.com/business. You’ll be presented with a button that will walk you through the entire process of adding your business to Google’s local search results.
Keep Your Information Updated and Accurate
According to Google, local results favor relevant business that have complete and accurate information. Why? Having this information allows Google to fully understand what your business is and does. As you go through the Google My Business program, you’ll be able to set up your business on Google.
Make sure that all of the following information is up to date and accurate:
- Your hours
- Your address
- Your photos
Google also suggests that you managed and respond to reviews regularly. Doing this not only helps engage with your customers directly, but it shows Google that your business is alive and well.
Showing up in Google’s local search results is the best way to grow your business in this day and age. Millions of people around the country depend on Google’s results to find their next doctor, dentist or health care specialist. Put in the time to use Google My Business and watch your customer base grow.