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Is Map or Search Rankings Important for Local Businesses?

Is Map or Search Rankings Important for Local Businesses

The Importance of Map and Search Rankings for Local Businesses

For the majority of local businesses, Search engine optimization has become the most profitable marketing type to invest in. However, SEO also diverges into 2 categories (see the image below). One is the map where your business can show on map results and the other one is a search when a person uses Google search to locate a business. Both map rankings and search rankings play a vital role in determining a local business's visibility and attracting potential customers. But which one is better for a local business? Let's delve into the significance of these rankings and why they matter for local businesses.

Map or Search Rankings

The Power of Map Rankings

Map rankings refer to a business's position on popular map applications like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Bing Maps. When users search for a specific service or product near their location, these apps display a list of relevant businesses on a map, along with their contact information, ratings, and reviews. Example: Google will populate relevant Google business profiles when a user searches relevant terms to the business. Here are a few reasons why map rankings are essential for local businesses:

  1. Increased Visibility: Appearing at the top of map results significantly increases a business's visibility to potential customers searching for services or products in their vicinity. This visibility can lead to more foot traffic, phone calls, and ultimately, more sales.
  2. Convenience for Customers: Map applications provide users with valuable information such as business hours, directions, and contact details, making it easier for customers to find and reach local businesses.
  3. Credibility and Trust: Businesses that rank higher on map applications are often perceived as more credible and trustworthy by consumers. Positive reviews and high ratings further reinforce this perception.
  4. Mobile-Friendly: With the increasing use of smartphones and the rise of voice search, map applications have become a go-to resource for users seeking local businesses on the go.

Note: This is why it is imperative to hire a reliable Google My Business Optimization Service to optimize your business profile to make it more relevant to the customer demographics you are targeting. 

The Significance of Search Rankings

Search rankings refer to a business's position on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords and phrases. When users search for a specific product or service, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo display a list of relevant websites and businesses.Here are some reasons why search rankings are crucial for local businesses:

  1. Increased Online Visibility: Ranking higher on SERPs for relevant keywords increases a business's online visibility, making it more likely for potential customers to find and visit their website or physical location.
  2. Targeted Traffic: By optimizing for relevant keywords, local businesses can attract more targeted traffic from users actively searching for their products or services.
  3. Competitive Advantage: In a crowded market, higher search rankings can give local businesses a significant advantage over their competitors, allowing them to capture a larger share of the local market.
  4. Credibility and Trust: Users often perceive businesses that rank higher on SERPs as more credible and trustworthy, as search engines prioritize relevant and authoritative websites.
map vs search infographic

The Interplay Between Map and Search Rankings

While map rankings and search rankings are distinct, they are closely intertwined and can influence each other. For example, a business's presence on Google Maps can impact its search rankings on Google, and vice versa. Additionally, positive reviews and ratings on map applications can contribute to better search rankings, as search engines consider these factors when determining relevance and authority. To illustrate the importance of map and search rankings, let's consider the following data table:

Ranking FactorImpact on Local Business
Top 3 Map Ranking- 88% of consumers visit a business within 24 hours after searching for it on their mobile device 
 - 28% of local searches result in a purchase
Top Search Ranking- Businesses on the first page of Google receive 92% of all search traffic 
 - 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results

As evident from the data, ranking at the top for both map and search results can significantly impact a local business's visibility, foot traffic, and ultimately, its success.

Real-World Examples

To better understand the importance of map and search rankings, let's consider a few real-world examples:
  1. Restaurant in a Busy City: Imagine a new restaurant opening in a bustling city like New York or Los Angeles. By optimizing their website and online presence for relevant local keywords (e.g., "best Italian restaurant in NYC") and ensuring a strong presence on Google Maps, the restaurant can increase its chances of being discovered by hungry locals and tourists alike. Positive reviews and high ratings on platforms like Yelp and Google Maps can further boost their visibility and credibility.
  2. Plumbing Service in a Suburban Area: For a local plumbing service operating in a suburban area, ranking well on search engines and map applications for keywords like "plumber near me" or "emergency plumbing services" can be a game-changer. When a homeowner experiences a plumbing emergency, they are likely to search online for nearby services. By appearing at the top of search and map results, the plumbing service can quickly capture the attention of potential customers in need of immediate assistance.
  3. Retail Store in a Shopping District: Consider a retail store located in a popular shopping district. By optimizing their online presence for relevant local keywords (e.g., "clothing stores in [city name]") and ensuring accurate and up-to-date information on map applications, the store can increase its visibility to shoppers searching for nearby retail destinations. Positive reviews and high ratings can further entice customers to visit the store.

Key SEO Factors For Map & Search Rankings

Unfortunately, SEO can be very challenging due to the amount of work involved in it. There are 3 segments of SEO these are:

  1. On-page SEO
  2. Off-page SEO
  3. Technical SEO

On-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

It refers to the practice of optimizing individual web pages with relevant keywords to rank higher in search engine results and provide a better user experience. It involves optimizing various elements on a website such as:

  • Content (using relevant keywords, and providing high-quality and valuable information)
  • HTML elements (title tags, meta descriptions, header tags)
  • Site architecture (URL structure, internal linking)
  • Images (alt text, file names, size optimization)
  • Page speed and mobile-friendliness

The goal of on-page SEO is to make web pages more discoverable and relevant for target keywords, while also ensuring a positive user experience for visitors. It helps search engines better understand the content and purpose of each page, improving the chances of ranking higher in search results for relevant queries. As the experts state: pages should be made for humans not for search engines to rank! Keep it in mind, that your page speed and structure play a huge role on getting ranked on Google. 

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is techniques and activities performed outside of your website to improve its search engine rankings. It primarily involves building high-quality backlinks from reputable external websites, which signal to search engines that your site is authoritative and trustworthy. Other off-page SEO tactics include building brand mentions, generating positive online reviews, increasing social media engagement, and promoting content on external platforms. The goal of off-page SEO is to enhance your website's online reputation, authority, and visibility, ultimately leading to higher search rankings and more organic traffic. Here are some of the backlink types out there:

  • Editorial backlinks
  • Guest blogging backlinks
  • Backlinks in online directories
  • Blog comments backlinks
  • Forum backlinks
  • Contextual backlinks
  • Citation backlinks
  • Image backlinks
  • Profile backlinks
  • Web 2.0 backlinks
  • Social bookmarking backlinks
  • More...

Notes: For local map ranking, it is said that the citation backlinks are determining factors. These backlinks could help you rank higher on maps and search results. But consistency is the key! What I mean by that is for every citation you build for your business you need to make sure your NAP (name, address, phone) is always up to date. This could negatively affect your SERP rankings significantly. 

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of optimizing the technical aspects and fixing error that are found by the Google search console. It involves making changes to a website's architecture, coding, and other technical elements to make it easier for search engines to crawl, understand, and index the site's pages. Some key areas of technical SEO include:

  • Page speed optimization to ensure fast loading times
  • Creating and submitting sitemaps to help search engines discover pages
  • Fixing broken links and implementing 404 redirects
  • Ensuring mobile-friendliness and responsive design
  • Optimizing website metadata like titles and descriptions
  • Improving site architecture and internal linking structure
  • Implementing HTTPS security and structured data

The goal of technical SEO is to eliminate any technical barriers that could prevent search engines from properly crawling, indexing, and rendering a website, ultimately leading to higher search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.

This Is What We Think

I think both map rankings and search rankings are crucial for local businesses seeking to increase their visibility, attract more customers, and ultimately drive growth. By implementing effective Affordable Local SEO strategies, maintaining accurate and up-to-date online information, and actively managing their online reputation, local businesses can leverage the power of map and search rankings to gain a competitive edge in their respective markets.
Author - David Tellers
Digital Services
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