How to Appear at the Top of the Google Maps Search Results

Combining precise location data and clear business information with live customer feedback, Google Maps has increasingly become a reliable source of information for consumers.

Reaching the top of the search results promises high-quality leads for your business; it even guides them right to your door. 

But how do you rank highly on Google Maps?

Here at Advance Online, we manage the Google Business Profiles of hundreds of local businesses. In this article, we explain the Google Maps ranking factors and give seven tips on how to get to the top of the maps pack.

Google Maps Ranking Factors

google maps ranking factors

Just as Google uses ‘EEAT criteria’ to rank web pages in the search results, it also uses ranking factors to order the search results in the maps pack.

These include:

    • Relevance: How well the business matches the user’s search query – this is determined by the information included in the listing, such as the business name, description and product/service categories.
    • Distance: How far away the business is from the user – this is determined from the location data of the user and the business respectively.
    • Prominence: How ‘popular’ your business is – this is determined by the Google Reviews (average score and number), the activity of the profile (such as how regularly the business posts content), and the business’s overall presence on the internet.

As you can see, it’s a somewhat simpler picture than Google’s SEO ranking factors, which are technical, extensive and at times can be a little cryptic. 

While reaching the top of the Google Maps search results isn’t easy, you’re rarely left  wondering why a competitor with a weaker offering is appearing above you in the search results or reading the tea leaves of the latest Google Core Update.

So, what can you do to make sure you rank at the top of Google Maps?

How to Rank at the Top of Google Maps

Here are seven ways to improve your Google Maps ranking:

1. Add Accurate and Consistent Contact Information

Google Business is, first and foremost, a directory. The information it contains serves to connect customers to your business. Ensuring this information is accurate and comprehensive is essential.

Consistency is also important. If your Google Business contact details conflict with those displayed on your website, in particular the address and phone number, it may lead to Google deranking your profile or, worse, suspending it.

2. Optimise the Description

With Google Businesss’s templated format, there aren’t many ways to make your business information stand out, but the description is one of them.

Much like you would for the copy of your website, make sure the description includes your target keywords, such as your products and services.

It’s also an opportunity to sell your business, so make each word count.

google business description

3. Add Appropriate Category and Service Information

The ‘business category’ is one of the most important factors in determining the relevance of a business to a user’s search term. Google has thousands to choose from. Take your time and choose the right one.

You can also add multiple product and service categories to your Google Business Profile. Many businesses fail to get this far, so make sure you do. By making this information useful and extensive, it will help Google match customers to your business.


4. Update Your Opening Hours

There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than turning up to your business premises and finding them closed, especially when, according to Google Maps, your business is open. 

Remember all that hard work you put into that difficult job to get a 5-star review? It’s just been obliterated by an angry customer you haven’t even served.

By updating your opening hours to reflect changes to your business schedule, including public holidays, you not only avoid disappointing prospective customers but also show Google that you’re being conscientious about your profile.

5. Use a Local Phone Number

Busy tradespeople often operate exclusively by mobile. But a mobile number doesn’t centre you in your locale, at least in Google’s eyes.

Using a local phone number in your Google Business Profile reinforces your business’s location – this is particularly important for businesses without premises for customers to visit. You can always have the local number forwarded to your mobile phone.

6. Upload Photos and Post Content

Regularly uploading photos and posts to your Google Business Profile demonstrates you are an active business to both prospective customers and Google.

Make sure your posts are relevant to your products or services, and wherever possible, include the keywords in the copy.