Most companies strive to be at the top of Google Maps, as that is where the majority of consumer attention gravitates. The map display is impossible to miss and visually dominates the top of search results when Google determines that the search performed contained local intents.

To be found on Google Maps, your business must have a Google My Business (GMB) profile, but it’s not enough to just claim it and verify ownership. You need to optimize it and keep being active to take full advantage of it.

This is the source of local business data that Google uses for its local search algorithm. In addition to applying and completing your profile, here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

1) Optimize the description for your specific location

When someone searches for a business – let’s take “an interior designer near me” as an example – Google uses your business address in relation to the IP address of the person searching if they are on their home PC or their phone’s location service. if they are on a mobile device.

If your business serves cities and towns outside of your location address, you’ll want to include these options wisely in your description. If you can’t do this without coming across as spam, consider adding something at the end, such as “Also serves the following regions: (list of cities and towns)”.

2) Geo-tagging photos to increase local discovery.

When uploading images to your GMB profile, use the geotagging option. If you pay attention to local search results, you will notice that Google shows more images, even for local results, and includes business information along with them.

Since many businesses do not adapt quickly, this allows you to be the first in your market to take advantage of this strategy. Make it a habit to post images often as this gives your feed a constant source of new content.

3) Use “Messages” for special offers and customer acquisition.

One of the newest features is “Messages” which appear directly on your GMB profile as well as on Maps. This allows you to share special offers and business news or announce new products or services. This is a great way to communicate with current customers, as well as post information that will be visible to potential customers, helping to convince them to take a look at your offerings.

via forbes.com