Local SEO: How to Rank Higher on Google Maps in 5 Steps


Navigating the digital landscape can be daunting for local businesses.

While national and global SEO efforts ensure a large audience, the true gold often lies in local searches.

These are the potential customers right on your doorstep, seeking the services or products you offer.

Google Maps, a significant player in the local search game, can either elevate your business to new heights or leave you hidden in the shadows of competitors.

But fear not, we’re here to explain the basics.

Dive into our comprehensive five-step strategy to clinch top spots on Google Maps.

1. Claim and Verify Your Google My Business (GBP) Listing:

The Foundation of Local SEO

Every local SEO journey starts with a Google Business Profile.

It’s Google’s free tool allowing businesses to manage their online presence across the platform (basically Google’s own version of a social media platform), including Google Search and Google Maps.

If you haven’t listed your business on GBP, you’re missing out on the most fundamental step.

Start by claiming your business, then proceed with the verification process.

Google often does this by sending a postcard with a unique PIN to your business address.

Once verified, your business gains a badge of trustworthiness in Google’s eyes, potentially impacting your ranking positively.

While setting up, ensure you fill in every detail— from the precise business name to working hours. Photos can also make a massive difference; they give potential customers a visual insight into your offerings, enhancing appeal.

2. Optimise Your GBP Listing with Relevant Keywords:

Speaking the Language of Your Customers

Keywords are the bridge between a customer’s search query and your business.

When optimising your GBp listing, it’s not just about stuffing it with industry jargon but rather understanding and incorporating phrases your potential customers might use.

For instance, if you’re an Essex-based bakery, while you know all about “sourdough fermentation” or “Viennoiserie,” your customer is probably looking for the “birthday cakes in Essex.”

Your job is to find this sweet spot of keyword relevance and incorporate it seamlessly into your business description.

3. Encourage and Respond to Reviews:

Building Digital Relationships

In the digital realm, reviews are the new word-of-mouth.

Positive reviews can significantly bolster a business’s reputation, but their power isn’t just in praise.

Google’s algorithm considers the quantity, quality, and recency of these reviews as ranking factors for local search.

Actively encourage your satisfied customers to leave feedback.

Consider sending a follow-up email after a purchase or service, with a direct link to your GBP review section.

Remember, it’s not just about accumulating reviews; engaging with them is equally essential.

Whether it’s a rave review or constructive criticism, always acknowledge and respond.

This engagement not only fosters customer relationships but also signals to Google that you’re an active, attentive business.

4. Ensure NAP Consistency Across All Platforms:

The Importance of Digital Consistency

Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) might seem like basic details, but their consistent representation across the digital space is crucial for local SEO.

Any discrepancy, be it a difference in business name representation or an old phone number, can create confusion.

Ensure that your NAP details are uniform, whether it’s on your website, social media profiles, or local directories.

This consistency reassures both search algorithms and potential customers about your business’s legitimacy.

5. Build Local Backlinks:

Strengthening Local Digital Connections

In the vast world of the internet, backlinks act as endorsements.

Just as global backlinks bolster your overall SEO, local backlinks are powerful tools for enhancing local search prominence.

But how do you get these coveted local backlinks?

Engage with your local community.

Collaborate with local bloggers for guest posts, sponsor a local event and get a mention on their website, or work with local news outlets for coverage.

Every local backlink nudges Google’s algorithm, reinforcing your business’s relevance in the local context.

How long does it typically take to see results after implementing these local SEO strategies?

The timeline for seeing results after implementing local SEO strategies can vary. Typically, minor changes can be noticed in a few weeks, but more significant improvements in Google Maps rankings might take several months. The timeframe can be influenced by the competitiveness of your industry, the current state of your online presence, and the consistency of your SEO efforts.

Are there any tools available that can help identify the best local keywords for my business?

Partnering with a marketing agency can provide access to advanced tools for identifying the best local keywords. Agencies often have subscriptions to SEO software that offer in-depth analytics and keyword planning features, which might not be cost-effective for individual businesses to invest in independently.

Can the strategies outlined be integrated with my existing SEO efforts, and how do they complement each other?

Yes, local SEO strategies can and should be integrated with your broader SEO and marketing efforts. They complement each other by ensuring that your online presence is optimized both for general organic search and for local searches, which often include Google Maps. This approach ensures a cohesive online strategy that maximises your visibility to both local and broader audiences.

Not utilsing Google Reviews in your SEO strategy?

If you’re not utilising review and reputation management as part of your SEO strategy you could be missing out. Our article on The importance of Google reviews: How do Google reviews affect local organic search ranking? highlights how social proof in the form of Google Reviews play a vital role in endorsing your business as reputable and reliable in the online space.


In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, local SEO stands as a beacon for businesses aiming to make their mark in the immediate community.

By following these steps, your business will be able to thrive in the competitive market.

Need help with your local SEO? Get in touch today on 01702 471015 to find out how we can help you stand out in local organic search.

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