Anyone who recently searched for something on Google has likely noticed the shift in their SEO practices. Previously, companies with the best search engine optimization would appear first in the results, even if that business wasn’t near you.
Thankfully, Google has shifted away from this structure, focusing on local search results, with the Google Maps functionality placing above most results on the page. So, for example, an individual searching for a Thai food restaurant in Chicago will likely see an itemized list of results within the area. Most often, a hungry patron is likely to interact with these posts, primarily due to proximity.
Understanding Google Maps Marketing
The concept of Google Maps Marketing is simple; use the Google Maps functionality to get featured on the platform when potential customers search for services or products that relate to your small business. For local businesses trying to attract clients, Google offers a powerful strategy to the local arena.
How to Implement Google Maps Marketing
When it comes to local results, Google reveals the specific ranking requirements for businesses. Local listings factor in relevance, prominence, and distance to facilitate the best match for an individual’s search.
They use the Google My Business (GMB) listing to establish relevance when drawing results, connecting individuals with potential companies that will match their needs. From there, the custom map creator will highlight relevant businesses according to the search term, giving customized options for visitors online.
What is Google My Business?
GMB is a free product available from Google for all companies and businesses. They allow businesses to manage their online presence across all platforms, focusing on Search and Maps. From a user-friendly interface, business owners can monitor customer interactions, update contact information, and expand their presence online. To optimize your GMB listing, here are a few tips to consider:
Always Maintain an Accurate Address
Potentially one of the essential pieces of Google Maps Marketing, the address is critical to your overall success. Google requires all businesses to enter a physical address (not just a PO box or mailbox) that a postal agency must verify. It’s crucial that the listed address is specific and includes precise details. Include all unit numbers, zip codes, and street suffices to the address listed on your account.
Try to Optimize the Google My Business Introduction
All businesses can include an introduction into their business page, which Google scans to determine relevance online. Always include relevant and essential keywords in the opening but avoid cramming multiple keywords into the space. Offer a brief description of why you started your business and how you differentiate from the competition. Match your target audience’s voice and keep your text positive.
Verify Your Listing
After you’ve updated the information on the GLM page, have the listing verified. Verifications optimize your company’s chance of appearing on Google Maps, as the platform can confirm it’s a legitimate business. Google allows verification through a postcard, email, phone, or instant methods. The majority will require postcard verification, which requires a code entered into the system after receipt.
Solicit for Reviews
Google considers a company with reviews to increase credibility overall, so don’t be shy about asking for direct feedback online. Always respond to feedback (both positive and negative), keeping the tone professional and upbeat.
Create High-Quality Links
Links are online components that connect other websites to your specific website or business page. These links improve the overall website credibility, including SEO efforts. Ask local directories or online companies if they’d be willing to link back to your website, especially if they’re currently ranking well for specific SEO keywords.
You can offer to send free products in exchange for a review, write a guest blog post for a link back on the page, or ask if they’d be willing to share content to promote each other mutually. The more links you have back to your website, the more likely Google will see the website as credible and trustworthy.
Establish Local Citations
Local citations include any online mention of your business through local media channels. This consists of links back to your website, company name, or company accounts online. Look for local blogs, industry directories, or other listing options for your business online. Try to spread your company name as far as possible for maximum results.
Build on Social Media Platforms
Although your social media channels may not directly influence your Google Maps Marketing, it’s a key component to all marketing efforts. Most consumers will search for a company online before deciding to purchase.
They’ll read through reviews, scroll through social media posts, and try to find a company that matches their needs.
If you’re not available on social media, there’s a good chance your prospective clients will see the competition instead. Building your small business includes your brand’s visibility and becoming accessible to visitors.