Google is renowned for its innovation and experimental nature and one has to admire how readily they take risks and how daring their initiatives are. Google Reader and Google Glass aimed to change the world and the Driverless Car isn’t far behind – but whether they hit the mark or not, Google keeps persevering. Some of the best minds in the world work for Google, and it’s because of this that services such as Ad Sense and Gmail even exist. The reason for writing all this is because one of Google’s vast successes that is standing the test of time in a warp-speed world, is Google Maps.
How it Works
The main way to ensure you are as visible as possible on Google Maps is to fill out the Google My business profile completely (to get your business on Google Maps you must sign up to Google My Business) and ensure every box is filled – don’t rush it. Boring advice, but oh so necessary.
Additionally, I have seen reports that seem to suggest local search (i.e. search in your local area) is getting more like the rest of search (search in the wider world), making generating online activity and topical conversation around your chosen locations key.
From what I’ve seen, reviews are one of the key differentiators in how visible your maps listing is as a small business. One of the benefits of running a smaller company is a shorter chain of command and closer contact with clients themselves. Asking your clients to review you on Google Maps and give you a testimonial for your website is, in my opinion one of the best things you can do. People look at reviews now more than ever, and maps listings with reviews do tend to be significantly more visible.
To demonstrate the value of reviews, a client of mine recently went from 25 reviews to 35 reviews on their Google Maps page. Firstly, I can see their maps visibility has risen significantly when searching for key topics around their offering on the Google Maps engine. Secondly, they have enjoyed a 45% increase in views to over 4,000… in the last 30 days alone.
Now for a bit of current news; Google recently sent out Maps re-verifications for Google Business listings (Google Business is the umbrella term that Google Maps now sits under). If you receive or have received one of these for your small businesses existing listing, do re-verify it – you don’t want to miss out on being seen and your listing could be removed.
Old School Tactics
A lot of blogs on optimising Google Maps talk about the usual actions you should take so I won’t go into detail, but they include the following:
- Promotion: Use your website to promote your local listing in addition to your email communications. You can see on one of ours here we have links to both Google+ and a neat Google Maps map on our website. Old school tactic but I believe it adds value.
- NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number): Keep these consistent and the same for both your website and Google Maps listing so the two marry up.
- Offers: Rather than directly increasing visibility, posting offers can serve to drive activity… and sales.
- Location: Putting the correct locations on your listing is vital as people often search on Google using location – make sure the locations match those on your website too.
For the small business, I honestly think Google Maps is one of the best resources out there – and of course – it’s free to all!