Google has worked its way into our daily lives. Millions of people turn to it for information, directions, and opinions. This is primarily due to its outstanding reliability, not only in services but the information provided. A great example of this is the Google Maps feature. Not only can it help you get to your desired destination in record time, but it can showcase useful businesses in your location that you didn’t even know existed. While this is a fantastic feature for the general public, it is a handy digital marketing tool for businesses looking to get more local business.
In this post, we are going to look at how businesses and digital marketers can, and should, introduce Google Maps marketing into their digital marketing strategy. We are going to look at the what, why, and how of Google Map listings.
What is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is the process of utilizing Google Maps and all its features to make your business stand out and easier to find. Not only will it help you with positioning on one of the most used maps in the world, but it can help you reach the top of search results in your field. Google Maps marketing is an extremely beneficial feature for large and small businesses looking to gain attention in the online world. While it is expected and often utilized by large companies, smaller businesses have a lot to gain from successfully introducing Google Maps into their business practice.
Why Focus on Google Maps?
Statistics show that Google Maps is the most used map app in the world. Most smartphones and tablets that use GPS tracking and searches rely on Google Maps to find what they are looking for. In order to show up on the map, it is vital to have a Google Maps marketing plan. However, there is a lot more to Google Maps than showing up on the map. Businesses with a good website (content and technical optimization) and dedicate the right resources to their Google Maps marketing strategy appear among the top PPC and SEO pages. There are two ways this can happen.
Proximity Based Google Map Results
The first type of Google Maps listing is based on a device’s location. With the rise of smartphones, proximity searches are becoming a lot more common. If you have ever conducted a Google search for a specific type of business on your phone, then you are sure to have seen these proximity results. They appear in a row of three businesses, right underneath the PPC ad and the top-rated organic result. Similar to how PPC ads are guaranteed a top spot in SERPs, Google Maps listings are prioritized into these three positions. This means that a well run Google Maps campaign can secure you the top of SERPs for your target audience.
Ranked Google Map Results
While proximity map results are a common result, they are by no means the only type of results offered by Google Maps. The fact of the matter is that location data is not always enabled on a mobile device, but Map listings are available for any location on the planet, not only in the general area of the device. This is when ranked results come into the picture. These Google Map results appear for businesses of a specific type in a given location. These results do not rely on proximity to show up. Instead, they look at how a Google My Business listing is set up.
Steps For a High Ranking on Google Maps
There are clearly a lot of benefits to ranking highly on Google Map results. How exactly do you secure these highly sought after positions? There are a number of on-listing and off-listing optimizations for business listing SEO. These are the steps for getting a higher ranking on Google Maps.
Add Your Business to Google Maps
The first step into Google Maps marketing is adding your business to the right database. This means getting on the map by adding your business to the Google Maps listing. This is a simple process and shouldn’t take you much time. Feel free to ignore this step if you are already listed.
Visit Google.com/maps or use the Google Maps application on your smartphone and search for your business name. If the business appears, then you have a listing already. If the location does not appear, you can click the drop-down menu and select the option “add a missing place.” Once you click this, you will see instructions to provide a name, category, and location.
It is important to note that anyone can add a business to Google Maps. It does not need to be the owner of the business. If you haven’t done it, then there is a possibility your business is already listed. Also, do not worry. Simply adding a business listing does not give people control of the listing. That can only be done by proving ownership.
Make Sure You Claim Your Business Listing
The second part of setting up your listing lies in claiming the listing. When a listing is created, it only requires a name, category, and location. When a business is claimed, you have the ability to add a lot more details. The more information a business listing has, the higher it will rank on Google Maps. It is important to note that you need a Google My Business account to claim a listed business.
Add the Right Information
Once a business is listed and claimed, you can move on to adding information. Google sees this as important data that gives them a feel of what you do. At this point, you should have a listing that is linked to your Google My Business account. It is time to add information to your business. Log into your Google My Business account and locate the dashboard with numerous tabs. Choose the info tab and fill in information like name, category, address, service area (if applicable), hours, special hours, phone number, website, products, services, attributes, and description. Keep these things in mind:
- Make sure you are consistent when it comes to the name and address.
- Use a local phone number.
- Add a tracked and main number.
- Make sure hours are updated and reflect real-time schedules.
- Add a good description
- Make sure to add your business to the right categories.
The Importance of Visuals
There is only so much that a block of text can do. Sometimes you need to provide some visuals to show people what your establishment looks like and what you have done. Make sure to add photos of your business. Consider multiple high-quality photos that capture the essence of your business. Not only will Google love you for providing a photo, but so will people that are looking to find you online.
Tap Into Google Reviews
Google values its customers’ opinions and feedback. This is a foundational principle that can be seen in everything Google does. Take advantage of this and utilize the power of good reviews. Once a business is listed, it will automatically be open to reviews. Your job is to provide a great service that will impress people. However, great service does not always guarantee someone will leave a review. Kindly ask or remind customers to leave a positive review when they can.
A lot of people find it scary to be open to criticism on the internet. However, this is only a problem if your service is awful. If you do a decent job and have happy customers, then the positive reviews will far outweigh the negative.
Make sure everything in your listings is integrated. Listings with multiple phone numbers or locations tend to be signs of foul play and are often discredited by Google. Remove duplicate listings and make sure information such as addresses, names, and numbers are the same in all listings.
Make Sure to Post Regularly
Similar to social media pages, listings require some upkeep and engagement. You can publish posts, and they will appear on your Google Maps listing. Consistent posting shows Google and people that the business is active, which can affect ranking.
Steps You Can Take On Your Website
In addition to setting things up on Google’s side, you can also take some steps on your website to get ranked higher. After all, the listing and your site should be integrated and complement each other. This shows Google and people that your business takes its online presence seriously.
Have a Responsive Website
When it comes to integrating your website and your Google listing, the first area of focus should be on website quality. A main area of focus is website responsiveness. Google has been ranking mobile websites for years now. They see that the majority of users use smartphones to conduct searches. Websites that are not set up for mobile devices do not provide a good experience to the majority of users and can be penalized. In addition to responsiveness, consider other aspects of your site, like load time, links, and design.
Add Local Keywords
Location-based keywords can play a critical role in helping your business rank on Google Maps. If your business is local, then it is a great idea to add location-specific keywords to your pages. Not only will this send Google signals that you cover a specific area, but it will let people know exactly where they can find your services.
Embed Google Maps on Your Site
A great way to integrate maps and your site is with the embed location option. Solidify your place on the map by embedding a Google map on your website. This is typically done on the Contact Us page of a site. This is another great way to let Google and customers know exactly where you are. Make sure to use the exact same address you used in the business listing.
To embed a Google Map on your site:
- Search for the business name on Google maps.
- Select “Share” in your listing and choose the “embed a map” tab.
- Copy and paste that link to your website contact page.
Google Maps is a great way to stand out and attract the attention of your community. Similar to other online marketing efforts, it is likely to take time before you see results. There are no hacks or quick fixes that will lead you to the top of SERPs. Follow these tips, and over time you will see the results you are looking for.