How to Rank Higher on Google Maps

The ultimate guide to ranking higher in Google Maps. Learn how to climb to the top of the local map pack and start driving more traffic, leads, and revenue!

how to rank higher on google maps
Table of Contents

    Whether you’re an electrician, plumber, roofer, or landscaper, there’s a ton of competition out there. And they’re all competing for the same number of spots on page one of Google. If you aren’t in one of those top spots, you’re going to have a difficult time growing your company. Focusing on ranking higher on Google Maps can boost your visibility, attract new potential clients, and drive more revenue.

    a screenshot of the Google Maps local map pack for fence companies

    It isn’t enough to build your Google Business Profile since being listed doesn’t guarantee you’ll rank. And when it comes to earning new business – it isn’t just about being seen, it’s about being seen first. Ranking in the local map pack is the best way to put your home service business in front of new prospects. And this guide will walk you through the tactics and strategies to help your listing climb the maps rankings.

    Why is ranking on Google Maps important?

    Where you show up in the Google Maps results directly impacts how potential clients find you and choose your services. The joke has always been that the best place to hide a body is page two of Google. And that’s especially true for Google Maps too. If you aren’t in the top three spots in the local map pack, most people won’t even know your company exists.

    More and more homeowners are using Google to find local contractors in their area. They aren’t getting recommendations from friends or family. The days of going to the junk drawer to grab that door hanger from a couple months back are over. When they have a problem, they Google it and you want your company to be the first one they see.

    pie chart of google maps usage from direct use or keyword search

    Nearly 70% of people use Google Maps and most users use the map pack after doing a local search. So, when homeowners do a search for “roofing company in Dallas”, they’re using the local map pack results to find a contractor.

    screenshot of the local map pack for fence companies near me

    But, more importantly, ranking in the top three of the local map pack guarantees page one placement for local searches. And, it’s the highest your company can be seen on the first page of Google without paying for it.

    Adding your business to Google Maps

    You can’t rank higher in Google Maps if you don’t have a Google Business Profile yet. If you’ve already built and claimed your Google Maps listing, feel free to skip to the next section.

    If you haven’t, check out our complete guide on how to get your business on Google Maps. We walk you through the entire process step-by-step to set your listing’s foundation. And the following steps pick up right where that guide leaves off!

    So, if you haven’t built your GBP listing yet, pop over there, knock it out, then come back to take your listing to the next level.

    Let’s dive in!

    Climb the Google Maps rankings to be seen for local searches

    Once you’ve claimed and verified your Google Business Profile, it’s time to optimize it so your company can rank higher in the local search results. And the more steps you can complete, the higher you’ll rank in Google Maps.

    #1: Completely fill out your listing’s information

    Google uses all of the info you add to your Google Business Profile to decide your ranking in the local map pack. Completely filling out your listing will give Google the info it needs to figure out your placement. And, it’s important to remember that Google values accurate, trustworthy information. So, don’t try to game the system by adding keywords to your company name or spamming dozens of business categories.

    This will most likely back-fire and hurt your ability to rank instead of helping it.

    Use the exact USPS address for your physical address

    Google likes things to be simple and easy to understand, and you should too. If you ever have an opportunity to make things easy on Google, you should take it. Because any time you leave something ambiguous, Google will make the decision for you. And it won’t always be the decision you want.

    For example:

    • If your office has a suite number, include it on your Google Maps listing. Don’t leave it off.
    • If your address spells out Street, Drive, or Boulevard, don’t abbreviate it.
    • Use the exact USPS address so you never have to guess how to write your address. This includes on Google Maps and every other local citation website.

    Google wants accuracy and consistency, and we’ll touch on consistency in a later section. This will also make it much easier for them to accurately place your pin on Google Maps and the local map pack. Which, will also make it easier for them to understand your location and proximity to potential customers when they search for your services online.

    Use a local phone number

    Google, and your potential customers, are less likely to trust listings with an 800 or 866 phone number. These listings are usually for a non-local company trying to trick people into thinking they are. And, these numbers are also commonly used for spam and/or robodialers. Use the direct, local number for your business since it tells Google that you’re actually a local business.

    screenshot of the phone number setup on GBP

    And, if you’re using CallRail or WhatConverts to track and attribute phone calls, you can add that number too! Just be sure to have your tracking number listed as the primary number so it shows on your GBP listing. Putting your direct line in the additional phone field will keep Google from overwriting it if they see different info elsewhere on the web.

    Add more relevant business categories

    Your business category explicitly tells Google what exactly your company does. But, if you’re like most contractors we’ve worked with, that isn’t all you do. You most likely provide multiple services that don’t fall under a single umbrella. So, just because you’re a landscaping company doesn’t mean that you can only have “Landscaper” as your only business category.

    screenshot of other possible business categories for a landscaper

    Your primary category absolutely needs to be the one that most accurately describe your business overall. But, you can also search through other categories and add relevant ones as additional categories under your primary. Your listing can have up to 10 categories total. So, if there are 10 categories that apply to your business, add them all. That will help you rank for each one.

    Add more relevant services

    Google lets businesses add service cards to their GBP listing to give potential clients more information about what services you provide.

    screenshot of the service card in GBP

    To add services to your Google Maps listing, go to the dashboard in the search results and then click on “Edit services”. You can then add specific services beneath each of the business categories you added to your GBP listing.

    screenshot of suggested services for a fence contractor in GBP

    Google may already have options for you, but you can create custom services for each category too. Simply select the services in GBP that match the ones you provide, and then add custom services for the ones that weren’t suggested.

    Once you’ve selected the services that matter most to your business, go back and write a quick description for each. The content in these service cards can actually help improve your ranking. The additional content and keywords gives Google more context about what your business does so it can rank you higher for relevant searches.

    #2: Make sure your NAP data is accurate & consistent

    Building your local ranking signals is all about consistency. Google pulls information from a variety of places when it’s figuring out how to rank your pages. If it sees that you multiple addresses, even the same address in different formats, it can confuse the local search algorithm and make it harder for it to understand where you’re located.

    And that can negatively impact your search rankings. So, it’s important that you always use the exact same address everywhere, i.e. Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, HomeAdvisor, Angi, etc. But, that’s just the first step. There are a few advanced tips to cement your place in your local community.

    Make sure your NAP data is on every page of your website

    NAP data is an abbreviation for Name, Address, Phone data. Essentially, your contact information. Having your NAP data on every page of your website will give Google your exact location. Having it just on your contact page isn’t enough. It needs to be on every page. And the reason for it is that Google ranks pages, not websites.

    screenshot of a contractor's NAP data in their website's footer

    The simplest way to put this data to every page is to add your company’s contact info to your website’s footer. That way you can make a single edit and then it’s on every page of your site.

    Link to your website from your GBP listing

    You don’t have to add a website URL when you build out your Google Business Profile for the first time. And for some contractors, you may not have a website yet or yours is currently in development. That’s completely fine. However, if you want to rank higher in the local map pack, you need to have a website and link to it from your maps listing.

    When Google decides your maps ranking, they also look at your website’s content, search rankings, and backlinks. Optimizing your site for local searches helps boost your local and Google Maps rankings. Not having a website on your GBP listing means there’s less data for Google to use to boost your rankings.

    Add JSON microdata to your site

    JSON schema markup is a slightly advanced local SEO tactic. So, if you aren’t comfortable adding code to your website, reach out to your developer to do it for you.

    Google loves structured data because it makes it simple and easy for Googlebot to understand what your pages are about when it crawls your website. You can wrap your NAP data in schema markup to clearly declare your address, company name, and contact info. Or, you can use JSON microdata and add it to your site’s code to help Google better understand your physical location. This, in turn, will make it easier for them to put your pin on the map and understand your proximity to local searches.

    Embed a Google Map on your contact page

    Another phenomenal, and easy, way to strengthen your local ranking signals is to embed Google Maps on your contact page. But, you don’t want to just embed your address. It needs to be your Google Map listing to show your pinned location. This helps send more positive ranking signals about your website’s geographical relevance for local searches. And, it can have a positive impact on your maps rankings.

    To grab the embed code for your Google Business listing and put a Google map:

    • Go to your Google Maps listing and click on the “Share” icon.
    screenshot of sharing your GBP listing
    • Then click on “Embed a map” and “Copy HTML” to grab the embed code for your contact page.
    screenshot of grabbing the embed code for a google maps listing
    • Then, incorporate it into your page’s layout so your visitors can see exactly where you’re located on your contact page.

    #3: Regularly add high quality photos to your profile

    Having high quality, eye-catching images on your GBP listing is a great way to grab people’s attention. And it can be an excellent opportunity to show off your craftsmanship by upload images of completed projects. But, more importantly, regularly uploading images shows Google that you’re an active business that cares about its reputation. And you’re more likely to be viewed as a company that’s worth ranking higher in the maps results than those that don’t.

    screenshot of a google maps listing with high quality images

    We also recommend working this into an existing marketing process. This way, whenever a project has been completed, you can plan out when you’ll add the new photos of the build to your GBP listing. To add photos:

    • Go to your Google Maps dashboard and click on “Photos
    screenshot of the photos tab on a google business profile
    • The click on the “Add photos” button and drag/drop the images in the dialog box.
    screenshot of adding images to a google maps listing

    But, you should also remember that it’s a best practice to upload images on a regular schedule. And it’s in your best interest to space them out rather than adding 20 at a time. If possible, you should aim to upload one new image a day.

    screenshot of a google maps listing without an image

    Also, Google includes an image in your Maps listing. Having an eye-catching image can draw the attention away from your competitors. And attracting new business you may not have gotten otherwise.

    #4: Post regularly on your GBP listing

    Your Google Maps listing can also have posts like your company’s Facebook Page. These updates will show up inside of your Maps listing for searchers to learn more about your business. And just like the photos section, making posts regularly shows Google that you’re actively managing your profile.

    There are three types of posts you can put on your maps listing – updates, offers, and events.

    screenshot of the posts section of your GBP listing

    Creating posts in your maps listing is a great way to provide relevant content to teach potential clients about your services, offer limited time discounts to turn them into clients, and get the word about events your company is planning. Searchers are also more likely to go through your business profile’s posts since they’re actively looking for a contractor. They want to learn about you and your services so they can be comfortable hiring you for their project.

    #5: Use the Q&A section to answer frequently asked questions

    Searchers have questions and the Q&A section of your Google Business profile are the perfect place to answer them. This portion of the maps listing is one of the least used because most agencies and companies wait for their customers to ask questions.

    You don’t have to. Anyone can post a question to a business profile, including you, and you can answer your own questions too!

    If you aren’t sure what questions to ask, get with your project managers. They talk to your customers on a daily basis. They’ve most likely heard every question they could possibly ask and they’re a great resource to find out which ones they hear the most.

    Those are the ones you want to answer on your Google Maps listing since new prospects will most likely have the exact same questions. Being in tune with your target customer’s needs is a great way to build trust and have them click through to your website.

    #6: Consistently earn more positive reviews

    Google wants to show the best, most relevant businesses in their search results. So, it should come as no surprise that the number of reviews and the overall review score on your listing play a major role in your Google Maps rankings.

    Google also loves what customers love and nearly 95% of people go online to look at reviews before buying. And that includes hiring a local contractor! Having more reviews will help you climb the rankings, but also instill trust and credibility with potential clients. However, you don’t want to rest on your laurels. You need to keep earning reviews from clients to show both Google and prospects that you’re a credible business.

    screenshot of a google maps review

    And the simplest way to get them is to just ask for them. Either have your project manager or field lead ask the client to give you an honest review. Use an automated email campaign to ask your clients to leave a review after their project’s done.

    You should also take the time to respond to each and every review. This level of engagement and dedication to customer service is rare these days. And having an active profile is another way Google judges businesses.

    Stay on top of edits to your Google Maps listing

    Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one who can make edits to your Google Maps listing. Google lets regular users recommend edits to companies’ business profiles if they find missing or inaccurate information. On the surface, that sounds super helpful. However, not everyone that suggests edits have good intentions.

    There have been reports of companies finding out someone moved their map pin. Which results in them losing their search rankings and organic traffic. Some people will request access to your maps listing hoping you don’t see it so they can be given access by Google after 3 days without a response. They can also recommend a different contact info, put a different website URL, add a different business category, etc. Your profile can even be disabled and removed from Google Maps entirely.

    screenshot of an email notifying a user their GBP listing has been disabled

    And they do al of this with the goal of harming your maps rankings. These are surprisingly common negative local SEO attacks that you need to stay on top of. If you don’t, you very well could lose access to your business profile and see a major dip in search rankings, traffic, and leads.

    So, make sure notifications from your Google Business Profile go to an active email address that’s monitored by someone in your marketing or operations teams.

    Rank higher on Google Maps to drive more traffic, leads, & revenue

    We know how hard it is to be seen in the local search results as a contractor. Google keeps pushing the organic search results further and further down the page. And people are sick of scrolling to get there. However, ranking higher in Google Maps is one of the best ways to boost your company’s organic presence, and be seen when potential customers search for your services online.

    But it isn’t enough to just make your Google Business Profile and call it a day. You’ll be added to Google Maps, but you’ll struggle to rank in the top spots. So, if you follow these steps, you’ll climb the rankings to the top of the local map pack.

    Here at Hearth Marketing, we know which levers to pull to make it happen. We’ve helped tons of contractors just like you be seen for the keywords that matter most to their business. If you’re ready to start getting more traffic, leads, and projects from local searches, set up a free strategy session with our team!