With the internet emerging as the largest platform for marketing, there are thousands of ways of marketing your business online. But did you know that Google Maps can be as powerful an online advertising and marketing platform as any other online marketing tool? But how can Google Maps be beneficial for your digital marketing strategy?
There are a couple of ways in which that can be accomplished – by using Google’s local search ads function and by increasing the organic ranking of your business on Google Maps. With Google ads whenever a user searches for a business if a search ad is used, the business will show up on top of the search results and then you will have to pay for the ad on a CPC (Cost per Click) model. The organic way of doing it involves using SEO tools to improve the rankings of your website and your business presence as a whole.
In this piece, we will cover all the aspects of using Google Maps as a marketing tool. Let us look into all the aspects in detail.
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps Marketing simply put is the use of Google maps to enhance your business’s presence on the internet. With the use of this marketing tool, finding your business gets easier than it would be without the tools. Though this tool is extremely useful for large businesses, it can be highly useful for small businesses SEO strategies as well. Unlike its other counterparts, Google maps marketing is not only about enhancing your business visibility, but it is also more about positioning. It’s about positioning your business at the right locations and strategically planning your marketing strategies.
If you wish to be successful in your business, you need to ensure that you use a blend of all the digital marketing tools. Google maps marketing has a lot of benefits to their credit which we will discuss in the next section.
What Are the Benefits of Google Maps Marketing?
There are many benefits of using Google Maps as a marketing tool. These benefits of Google maps can be understood from the utility of these maps in our day to lives. Many of us are dependent on Google maps while navigating to our destinations. Google Maps are not only useful for reaching our destinations but if used wisely they can prove to be extremely useful in expanding your businesses. Google maps marketing can be beneficial in the following ways:
1. Pinpointing your business location
By listing your business on Google Maps you create an exclusive pinpointed location of your business showing exactly where your business is located. So, when people are actually looking for a service or facility related to your domain, they get to see your business on the maps and in their mind they know where to go just in case they need your services.
2. Creating brand awareness
Imagine a situation where you are on the roads traveling to an adjoining city for a business meeting. While traveling through the not so familiar highway if you feel hungry or need some supplies and that store or business is showing up on the map, you know where to stop and collect your supplies, thus convenient for you and business for the shop or store owner by the highway as well.
3. Google Maps listing comes with Google My Business
Essentially to get signed up and listed with Google Maps, you may have to list yourself with Google My Business as well. Google Places for Business is nothing but a business directory that helps you in ranking first in the search results when someone searches for your business. And, the best part about listing your business with Google’s business directory is that your business will be visible and will show up right on top irrespective of the content you have on your website. So an easy way to be on the first page of the search results.
Being visible on Google Maps means that the intended and interested customers will be able to find you and navigate to your business without any hassles. Which is again a readymade help for your business. Google is not only getting you leads, but it is also, in fact, bringing them to your store’s doorstep.
5. Google Maps listings help you connect to your customers
Through Google business listings, the customers are not only able to find your business but they are also able to put their reviews and experiences about a particular place on the website itself. Now, when you as a business owner see those reviews, you get an option to check those reviews and act and take the necessary steps for improvements in case of the negative reviews. This means you get extremely important insights on consumer satisfaction without any substantial investments.
Having seen the benefits, let us look at some of the other aspects of using Google Maps as a Marketing Tool.
Location Based Google Maps Results
You might have observed that when you search for a particular business search on Google using the “near me” option you will find all similar businesses that are listed or are available in your area. For instance, if you are looking for a Chinese Restaurant in your area, you can simply search for “Chinese Restaurants near me” and you will get a list of all the restaurants that serve Chinese in your locality. This feature of getting location based results with Google is an amazing feature that helps businesses grow locally and remain on the top of the search results and ranks. Though ranking of the results may be due to a lot of other reasons as well, location based Google Maps works best in getting your business popular and famous.
And, if you have been able to create a delightful customer experience for visiting customers, then the high ratings and positive reviews they give means that your business will be showing up above the others based on the customer experiences and ratings.
Organically Ranked Google Maps Results
When it comes to ranking your business in the Google Maps results, there are certain tricks, tweaks, and modifications that may be needed which are termed as optimizations. These optimizations are nothing but the best kind of settings that are required on your business listing on Google Maps to rank as high as possible. These optimizations would essentially require a proper description of your listing which has the right kind of keywords that are usually searched for by your prospective customers along with the context that should be grammatically correct with accurate information.
As such, ranked results on Google Maps are obtained through optimization techniques which we will learn in subsequent sections. But before we move on to that, one very important service that we will first look at os Google My Business.
Let’s have a closer look.
What is Google My Business (GMB)?
Google My Business was earlier known as Google Places for Business and is an online business directory service with google. Once a business owner lists their businesses with Google My Business the business will start featuring on the search results. Almost all kinds of businesses can claim a Google Business Listing and as soon as your listing goes live, the searchers will be able to see their businesses on the maps.
Thus, this listing that you do for your business on Google is like the token or the key to your business’s online presence on Google Maps. So, make sure you are listing your business right and of course, don’t forget the optimization. So, how to list and optimize your business listing for Google Maps Marketing? Let us find out in the next section
Google Maps Marketing Optimization
We talked about optimization a while ago that helps you improve the rankings of your business in the search results. In order to make sure that your listing is optimized for best ranks we can use the following tips and techniques. Let us list them one by one and find out how these optimization tips would work.
1. Use Complete Address
Whenever you are listing a business or any service or ad online, it is always recommended to mention the complete address of your business. You never know which part of the address would a searcher key in, to search and not using the whole address may lead you to miss out on those address keywords.
2. Specify Your Service Area
It is always advised to specify your area or coverage of service so that customers within your area can easily search and come to you rather than to some other business that is not servicing the area.
3. Verify Your GMB
Verified contact numbers and email addresses always have some level of credibility than the unverified ones and if you follow the verification processes of your Google Business listing you have better chances of customers contacting you and dropping in.
4. Select the Right Categories
When listing it is very important to specify your service and your service area, type, category, etc. If you do not do that, you may lose out on customers looking for a service category that you offer but they did not come to you just because they did not see it on the listing.
5. Write an Optimized Introduction
A good introduction to anything is an instant winning strategy. If you have a good optimized introduction included in your listing, businesses will be able to come to know about your services at a glance. Make sure the intro is short and crisp with the right set of keywords so that your business ranks at the top
6. Upload Geotagged Images to Your GMB
Seeing is believing and that is true with your business listing as well. Make sure you upload some pictures of your business locations preferably with some customers along with the geotags so that the prospective customers or searchers have no doubt about your genuineness and physical existence.
7. Get Google Reviews
When you get google reviews and a maximum number of it – your business will stand out and apart right at the top. The reviews may not help you stay at the top because we do not know if the customer reviews are considered by Google’s search algorithms, but having reviews will always help. That’s because buyers and prospective customers always check for reviews before they buy any products and soliciting and having positive reviews means you will have more customers dropping in.
8. Respond to Google Reviews
Last but not least, make sure you respond to these reviews regularly. This paves the way for the trust people could build around your brand. When they know that there are real people reading the reviews and feedback and taking corrective actions on negatives, the negatives on your review section turn positives for your business.
Apart from that, you can also do some optimizations on your business website. Let’s find out how.
Website Optimization for Google Maps
When you wish to optimize your business website for Google maps, you can accomplish this in the following ways which are as follows:
1. On Page SEO
This is the most common way of optimizing your site for Google Maps. This involves using your website content to be optimized as per the GMB listings. The two common ways are as follows.
Internal Linking – This involves including links to the listing on the website content
Google Map Embed on Website – This means that the Google Map is embedded on the website page at some corner to direct the users to the listing and reviews.
Apart from the on page SEO, there is the Off Page SEO method as well.
2. Off Page SEO
You can make use of authority websites to route the traffic to your listings and get more business. This is termed as Off Page SEO.
Backlinks – Backlinks are links on these websites to the GMB listings from a blogpost with compelling content for your business.
Google Map Embeds on Other Websites – Instead of using the embedded map on your business website, you can embed the map on authority sites with your business promotion blogs to direct traffic to your listings.
Having covered optimization as well, let’s answer a frequently asked question.
FAQ – How long does it take to rank first on Maps?
The simple answer to this question is that there is no answer. Patience is the key when it comes to SEO and there is no specific time or duration that can be defined for your business to rank first on Maps. It can take anywhere between 2 to 7 months to rank but given the massive edge and advantage, GMB listings add to your business it is worth all the wait.
In Conclusion, it is fair to say that Google Maps Marketing is one of the best marketing tools that has immense potential to transform businesses big or small for good. Use this guide as a yardstick to list your business on Google today and watch your business climb ladders and heights of success.