10 Steps to Improve Your Google Maps SEO

Have you ever searched for a local business on Google only to find incorrect information or see your competitors ranked higher? It’s frustrating, but you’re not alone. Many business owners struggle with Google Maps SEO and ensuring their Google My Business (GMB) listing is accurate and visible. Fortunately, there’s a solution: local SEO services.

Local SEO services can help you claim and optimize your GMB listing, improve your ranking in local search results, and attract more customers. By implementing proven strategies, these services can ensure your business information is accurate, consistent across the web, and includes high-quality photos and reviews.

Step 1: Complete and Verify Your Google My Business Listing

A complete and verified GMB listing is crucial for SEO, yet many businesses overlook this. Sign up for a FREE GMB listing and ensure all key information is accurate, including your address, phone number, website, business hours, photos, menu/services, and more.

Pro tip: For Shopify stores and small businesses, ensure your physical store location is visible if applicable.

Verification confirms your business’s legitimacy. Without it, your listing might be removed. Verify your GMB account through email, phone, or postcard options provided by Google.

Step 2: Optimize Your Google My Business Categories

Proper categorization is crucial for visibility in maps and relevant searches. You can select up to three categories and adjust them later if needed.

For example, a bookstore might choose:

  • Bookstores
  • Bookshops
  • Stationery Stores

Step 3: Enhance Your Business Description

Your business description is prime SEO real estate that provides Google with essential information about your business. Craft an engaging overview with relevant keywords naturally embedded to rank for searches related to your niche, offerings, and location.

Avoid merely repeating your business name and categories. Share your story, experience, awards, expertise, mission, and unique attributes.

Pro tip: Include keywords like “SEO for Google Maps” or “SEO for Shopify stores” to target specific search intents.

Step 4: Add High-Quality Photos and Virtual Tours

Visual content significantly influences local rankings. Upload exterior and interior photos to showcase your space and offerings. Highlight products, menu items, event spaces, staff, signage, and the overall customer experience.

For businesses without a storefront, share photos of your products, staff, company events, etc. Use Google’s virtual tour builder to offer a virtual walkthrough of your business.

Step 5: Embed a Google Map with Your Address

Embedding a Google Map with your exact location on your website boosts SEO authority. Place a basic Google Map on your Contact Us page with a marker at your business address. For a more integrated approach, consider adding an interactive map to your website’s footer or contact section.

This ensures location consistency across platforms and differentiates you from competitors using black hat tactics like duplicate GMB listings.

Step 6: Encourage Customer Reviews

Customer reviews on Google are incredibly influential for local search visibility. Aim for at least 15 recent 5-star ratings to earn the “Loved by Customers” badge and improve your local ranking.

Request positive reviews through email follow-ups, receipts, and signage in your establishment. Offer incentives like discounts or social media shoutouts for the best testimonials.

Step 7: Monitor and Respond to Reviews

Continuously monitor reviews and respond to negative ones professionally. Set Google alerts for your business name and regularly check your GMB listing for new comments. Address less-than-5-star ratings politely, apologize for any shortcomings, and strive to make amends.

Always thank happy reviewers for their feedback, adding a personal touch that builds customer loyalty.

Step 8: Publish Local Content and Use Structured Data

Enhance local SEO by optimizing your website content. Create dedicated pages targeting popular searches related to your products and location.

For instance, a bakery might publish pages targeting “West Village bakery,” “custom cake Greenwich Village,” or “birthday cake deliveries near Washington Square Park.”

Use rich snippets schema and JSON-LD markup to help Google understand your offerings, location, hours, etc. This significantly enhances your search result appearance.

Step 9: Engage in Community Networking and Local Link Building

Real-world networking and marketing are essential for local authority and awareness. Seek opportunities for local press features, interviews on hyperlocal sites, backlinks from local directories, citations on business roundup lists, and profiles through professional groups and associations.

Step 10: Track Analytics and Optimize

To understand what’s working, set up reporting to track key local SEO metrics monthly:

  • Google My Business Insights
  • Organic traffic from localized keywords
  • Physical customer volume
  • In-store and online conversions from local searches


Mastering Google Maps SEO involves both digital and real-world marketing elements to enhance local search visibility. While this 10-step checklist will equip you with the essentials, navigating the complexities of local SEO can be time-consuming. For businesses seeking a more comprehensive strategy and faster results, partnering with a local SEO agency can be a powerful solution.

These specialists possess the expertise to optimize your online presence across all the key touchpoints. Following this checklist alongside their guidance will ensure you not only understand the process but also achieve increased in-person and website traffic, improved branded keyword ownership, and, most importantly, profitable new customer growth.



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