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When we talk about local SEO, Google Maps comes to mind. This is because Google Map results show up when a query implies local results are needed, for instance, when you look up something like “Italian restaurants near me”, or “managed IT Services San Diego”. Boosting your Google Maps ranking for relevant searches is becoming all the more important since Google Maps is the preferred navigation app for 67% of consumers. Google Maps listing helps new customers discover you, helps you stand out amongst the local competition, and of course, nurtures more leads and generates higher profits. Since we have already established that ranking high in google maps is another way to get on the first page of Google, here’s how to do it right:
To get started on Google Maps marketing, you need to check whether your business is already listed on Google Maps. Simply type your business name on the search bar and if it shows up with a location next to it, it means you already have a listing. If not, you first need to add your business to Google Maps. If your business name doesn’t appear on Google maps, you will see an option to “add a missing place”. Click on the link provided and add your business name, accurate location, and category. Choosing the right category makes sure your business shows up for relevant search results and allows your target audience to connect more effectively.
Don’t be alarmed if your business has already been added to Google Maps. Remember that anyone can add any business to Google Maps, but doing so doesn’t give them any control over that listing unless you claim your business. Claiming your business on Google Maps allows you to add more details about your business in addition to name, location, and category. Businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches and rank higher. To claim your business on Google Maps, you need to sign up for a free Google My Business account. Once you have created an account, you can choose “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” from the listings. Google will send you a postcard in the mail with a secret verification pin which has to be entered to claim the ownership of your business. After verifying your account, you’ll be able to make changes to your account information, upload new photos, and publish posts. Now that you have linked your Google My Business account with your Google Maps business listing, it is time to work on acquiring top search rankings and appearing in relevant local searches on Google Maps.
To start optimizing your listing for local SEO, your Google Maps listing information should be complete, accurate, and as thorough as possible. From your account dashboard, click on info, and update your business information, making sure to avoid inconsistencies in information across the web. Remember that Google’s algorithm assesses the correctness and integrity of information to gauge your credibility. for instance, let’s say you run a business called “New York coffee express”. Make sure this name appears the same in your Google My Business dashboard as everywhere else online like your business website, Yelp listing, and Facebook profile. Even slight variations, such as “NY coffee Express” can ruin your credibility and trustworthiness.
The same goes for your phone number. Always utilize a local phone number with your area code, and avoid listing a toll-free number since they are often used for spam. This further goes to prove that your business is indeed located at the provided address.
Also, be sure to keep your business hours updated so that people searching for your business will know whether you are open, closed, or opening soon at any time, as well as when your business will be open during holidays and other events. Businesses that update their business hours frequently are seen as active by Google, which helps them rank higher. Not to mention, you don’t want a bad review just because someone visited your store and it was closed despite appearing open on Google Maps. Also, you need to craft a keyword-rich business description that will help customers understand what you do, as well as rank for relevant searches. Make sure to list the unique selling points in your description to sell people on why you are the best.
Furthermore, make sure your business is listed in the appropriate category that matches properly in close context with the main keywords. You need to think this one through and choose a primary category that best reflects the core of your business. For the secondary category, type out your main for other relevant categories too.
Last but not the least, you need to upload photos and videos to boost your Google Maps listing rankings. If right now you were to take a look at where your traffic is coming from, I guarantee you it won’t be from the website or maps. It’s from images or photos. Even Google users can add photos directly to your business or at the time of writing a review. Visitors like a visual appreciation of a product, place, or service, and enjoy looking at pictures of the building, the parking space, photos of your products, peaks inside offices or workspaces, and even pictures of employees at work. Pictures say a lot about a business at a glance and help customers visualize what it is like to be inside. Not to mention, pictures show Google that you are an active business. High-quality images are useful for another purpose as well. Google’s highly advanced photo recognition technology shows up images for local search queries. Don’t let your pictures sit stagnantly. Be sure to upload new pictures frequently. Make sure that your pictures are either in JPG or PNG, sized between 10KB and 5MB, well-lit, and devoid of filters. NEVER use stock photos or videos on your Google My Business listing!
Consumers of today make sure to check out reviews from other customers before choosing a business or making a purchase. Since Google takes the preference of customers into consideration when ranking a business, it doesn’t come as a shock that Google Maps ranking depends upon how many positive reviews your business listing has received. In fact, research shows that Google reviews yield higher conversion rates than local SEO strategies and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.
Even if you are not getting many reviews, be proactive in asking for reviews from satisfied customers and clients, and be sure to respond to each review separately to encourage others to post reviews as well. Especially responding to those far and between negative reviews shows how proficient you are at solving customer issues and how much you care about your clients. Even better, ask reviewers to use appropriate keywords or city names within their review, which will help you rank above other businesses in your area. You should also use keywords to reply to all your reviews on Google My Business
To boost your rankings on Google Maps, make sure to craft a compelling and visually aesthetic landing page and attach it to your Google My Business listings. In addition to design, write powerful content punctuated with appropriate keywords, geo-tagged images, and related geo modifiers. Even having articles on your site that mention your city helps a lot!
Just like on Facebook, you should regularly publish content that directly appears on your listing page. Businesses that continue to push out compelling articles, photos, and videos appear active to Google algorithms and rank higher as a result. People who are searching on search engines can come across these pages as a result of your content and find your business. GMB posts are also beneficial for “Justifications.” Google might pull up a post to help ‘justify’ why a particular result is a good match for your query. For instance, if you look up “furnace repair bend Oregon”, this is what shows up:
For the first result, the justification is being pulled from the website, while for the second, one of the GMB reviews is used in lieu of justification.
It is not uncommon for users to ask questions about a Google My Business listing. As a business owner, you need to answer their questions and solve their issues. If there are no questions on your listing yet, you should determine the most frequently asked questions about your products and services and populate your page with those queries from a different email ID. Now login from your business email address, click on each question and add an answer. Ask your team members to like all the questions and answers, since the question with the most likes show up on the listing panel
You need a good eCommerce website to sell online, but building an eCommerce website from scratch can put you in a bit of a pickle. Luckily, the best eCommerce website builders simplify the entire process, all the way from designing your online store to set up product pages to managing inventory and tracking orders, so that anyone can set up their online store and launch their business without knowing a line of code! So, if you’re interested in selling products or services on the web, here are the biggest eCommerce website builders you should know about!
Wix is hands-down one of the most versatile eCommerce website builders on the market today, especially great for building eCommerce sites. With over 160 million satisfied users, Wix can even turn non-designers into web design pros. If you know how to operate Windows 10 or a Mac, you will easily get the hand of Wix.
Wix gives you everything that you need to launch your online store; be it 500+ pre-made templates to choose from for your online store, an intuitive drag-and-drop site builder, App marketplace for custom functions, a free domain name and SSL certificate, cutting-edge design features such as video backgrounds, animations, and scroll effects, multiple modes of payments, and even store management tools. In short, Wix has everything that you need to grow your site and generate leads!
The best part is that Wix is dead easy for anyone to learn and use, even someone with a rudimentary coding sense. Another benefit of using Wix is that it doesn’t charge any commission-free on any transaction, helping you save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars per year. Unlike other eCommerce builders, you can design unlimited products on Wix and there is no cap on the revenue you can generate from your online store.
The SEO tools of Wix also deserve a shout-out. They help you create an automatic mobile-friendly version of your website and optimize it. They also get your site listed on Google within 60 seconds. The Wix store manager makes it a breeze to track inventory, orders, and your product pages. If you want to add a logo or a blog to your site, you can do so without any third-party integrations. Wix is also super-affordable. The cheapest plan offers 20 GB of space, abandoned cart recovery, and integration with social media.
If you are looking for an eCommerce website builder that grows alongside your expanding business, you have chosen the right builder. This industry giant is a great option for people who don’t want to hit annoying limits about their site’s capability and wish to leverage omnichannel sales. What makes it different from others on the list is that this builder focuses more on big commerce. It’s one of the few platforms that offer B2B selling features such as quote management, custom price list, bulk pricing, and customer groups. BigCommerce sets quite a score by multi-channel sales, allowing you to list your products on eBay, Google Shopping, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Amazon, and expand into new sales channels. This platform is great for wholesalers, international eCommerce sites, B2B sellers, and multi-channel sales, thanks to its secure and intuitive platform, WordPress integration, drag-and-drop building tools, custom checkout abilities, cross border fulfillment, built-in faceted search, and multiple currency support. BigCommerce also allows storeowners to integrate blogs into their eCommerce store for content marketing activities.
BigCommerce also offers plenty of optimization features for SEO and page load times. You can leverage robots.txt editing, Google AMP, and Akamai Image Manager, as well as enjoying a global CDN for faster load times. If you want to rapidly and remarkably grow your online store and sell without restrictions, the platform is the right choice for you, but it is not the best option for beginners! It’s not the easiest to use, and its prices reflect the number of tools and features you will probably never use. Plans start at $29.95 per month.
Trusted by 1+ million websites in 175 countries, Shopify is hands down one of the most powerful eCommerce website builders available on the market today. This web-based CMS gives you everything that you need to set up and manage your online store. Boasting 600,000 online stores and over $72 billion in revenue, the platform is usually the first choice of online store owners. Whether you are starting a new eCommerce business from scratch or expanding your physical presence to an online store, leverage Shopify’s Industry-specific templates and Industry-specific templates to get your online store up and running without any technical expertise. Each theme can be fully tailored to suit your needs. Shopify comes with an expansive Shopify App platform where third-party developers offer apps and plug-ins that help you append features and functionality to your store. From email marketing and social media integrations to shipping platforms, you are bound to find an app for anything you want.
What we especially love about Shopify is the world-class customer support you get. Whether you have a general business question or a technical question about the backend of your website, reach out to Shopify’s customer service team via live chat around the clock. You can even seek help from the massive community forum with answers from Shopify experts and current customers alike. On top of that, Shopify also has a robust knowledge base complete with hordes of podcasts, courses, articles, courses, and how-to guides written by Shopify itself.
All plans come with web hosting, unlimited bandwidth, over 100 different payment gateways to choose from, unlimited email forwarding, and a content delivery network for optimal performance. Shopify also gives you access to tons of marketing and SEO tools, mobile optimization, and analytics. With built-in abandoned cart recovery, you can catch incomplete sales. With Shopify, you can set up drop shipping, manage your customer rates, sync with 10 other sales platforms, or customize your checkout with personalized branding. Plans start at just $29 per month. You can try Shopify for free with a 14-day trial.
Weebly is the only free website builder, offering a full-featured platform for no price at all. Don’t let the free plan fool you into thinking that it must be a watered-down version of the real thing; Weebly provides you with a complete list of features that you need to get your online store up and running in no time; be it inventory management, in-store pickup, automatic tax calculation, shopping cart, etc. You also get unlimited products and in-store or delivery options at the checkout. If you want to garner the ability to receive payments through PayPal, add reviews, and abandoned cart emails, you will have to upgrade to the premium performance plan, which only costs $26. Weebly is absolutely perfect for handmade shops, home-based businesses, hobby sellers, small restaurants, breweries, and other local shops. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to be able to use Weebly. Weebly makes it a breeze to add new products, remove out-of-stock products, push updates, and track your inventory levels so that you can put your valuable time towards growing your business.
Since Weebly is powered by Square, you can also integrate the Square POS with your online sales system as well, if you are looking to manage your products and inventory all in one place. The easy-to-use drag and drop site builder allows you to launch your store with minimal effort and no coding. Like other eCommerce builders on our list, Weebly also gives you access to tools for shipping, inventory, SEO, and emails. Add Weebly’s product search to your online store to make sure your customers find what they are looking for. Add badges to products that have limited availability or are on sale. Add language translation, memberships, and other advanced features to your site by upgrading to the paid plans.
Squarespace is a creative’s wish come true. If you’re looking to make your online store as aesthetically attractive as possible, leverage hundreds of award-winning templates, combined with a strong inventory system and tons of high-end features, to create your creative, highly-visual website. When users cannot touch your products or interact with them, let visuals do the talking. Especially if you are a photographer, artist, or creative selling products, services, subscriptions, or digital goods, this platform is all that you need to brand yourself.
Even though the templates are stunning on their own, you can customize your chosen template with the help of Squarespace’s intuitive what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) site editor, with little effort on your part. Use the intuitive and highly-responsive drag-and-drop editor to apply your branding, upload your images and videos, set up your product listings, and voila! Even if you are a beginner, looking for a fantastic-looking website right out of the box, anyone can build a modern and visually appealing eCommerce store using Squarespace.
Squarespace’s social media integrations help you narrate your brand story and sell your products directly within the platform. This makes sure that your customers never have to leave the page to buy something from you.
The Squarespace mobile app allows you to manage and edit your website on the go. Squarespace has built-in SEO tools, blogging tools, and analytics tools to help you manage your online store and make it a huge success. There are hundreds of apps built-in to Squarespace for adding added features and functionality to your online store. The basic plan starts at $12/month but you can upgrade to add commerce functionality or the ability to accept payments.