Google Maps Marketing: A Required Tool for Local Marketing
Let’s face it…
Google Maps is something that many of us use as the go-to app for finding nearby activities, navigating yourself to a specific address or just seeing what is around you. However, this doesn’t mean that the power of Maps can’t go beyond just providing directions. It can also be used from a perspective you might not have thought about before.
Today, we are talking about Google Maps marketing – a term that was coined a couple of years ago. In fact, the moment Google Maps started showing more information about specific venues, people took to the app and started figuring out ways through which they can best promote their business.
In the sections below, we are talking about marketing your business on Google Maps:
- how it is done
- how to rank high
- how to get in those top 3 Google Maps results for any local queries (including “near me” queries) that people are searching for.
But before we do that, let’s answer the question you all probably have right now…
Why Google Maps Marketing?
In times when there are so many different channels to focus your marketing strategy on, Google Maps should not be an exception. The answer is simple – people use Google Maps and like to see the best places near them and read other people’s reviews for those places.
Whether they are locals or travelers, people need information. With effective Google Maps marketing, you can capture three main sources of traffic and:
- Build brand awareness: Results on Google Maps lead to your Google My Business (GMB) listing which gives people information such as photos, working hours, what you sell etc.
- Get more calls: The best thing about Maps is the fact that your listing also shows your phone number, allowing searchers to contact you directly about reservations or inquiries.
- Get more in-store visits: Obviously, the main benefit of Google Maps marketing is to get more in-store visits, especially from searchers which are near your business and can locate it immediately from the search result.
How To Rank On Google Maps: Listing All The Factors
If you want to rank your business on Google Maps, you need to create a Google My Business (GMB) listing. Both of these platforms are interlinked. A good thing to note is that creating a GMB listing is totally free.
The reason for this is because you are not creating an advertisement – you are simply letting Google know your business exists and pinning it on the exact location. To set up your GMB listing, you need to:
- Sign in to Google and visit this link
- Locate or create a listing for your business – make sure you claim and correct it if this happened
- Fill out all the information with relevant details
- Select the right category to add a contact
- Verify your account (you can do this with Google via phone, email or traditional mail)
- Add photos of your business
- Double-check everything you have entered
As soon as you add your Google My Business (GMB) listing, it’s time to see what it takes to rank higher.
Yes, there are rankings even on Google Maps. If you have seen those top 3-5 search results when searching for a restaurant or bar nearby, we are talking about them. But what is most important are the factors that Google takes into account when ranking a business in this list. They include:
- Relevance: Your listing should be relevant to the searcher’s intent. This is why your GMB listing should contain plenty of information, be relevant and use the appropriate keywords and information in its business title, description and other parts.
- Distance: The distance of your business to the location specified by the searcher is also important. For instance, if you have a bar and there is another bar in your area, Google will show the bar that is closer to the specific location of the searcher as the first one.
- Prominence: This is the tricky part which Google plays with when ranking Maps queries. Basically, the algorithm ranks queries based on popularity. So, the best way to rank higher on Google Maps is by getting positive press by news journals (articles talking about your business), getting more backlinks on your website, getting more reviews and positive ratings on Google Maps and getting high social media mentions and engagements.
So, the key takeaway from all this is to make sure that all information details are accurate, grammatically correct and relevant. Also, make sure that you fill in as many blank spaces as possible (including the space for your website URL, business hours, service area, photos and other things).
The Importance Of Backlinks And Reviews
When it comes to the Prominence part, you should focus on link building. However, this type of link building is different than organic and traditional SEO. Essentially, ranking high on Google Maps is best achieved through building a consistent presence and backlinks from local websites, local press sites, local chamber of commerce sites, industry-related sites in your area and citations in local directories.
As for the reviews, they are also a major ranking signal and a social proof that can help you build awareness and encourage more conversions. So, focus on getting more positive reviews on your Google Maps listing. If this is difficult for you, a proven strategy would be to offer incentives to customers in exchange of positive reviews, respond to the reviews that you already have and use social media to promote your business.
Summing things up, it is easy to see that Google Maps has a similar algorithm to Google’s standard one for search engine results. The only difference is that it is (maybe) easier to rank high on Google Maps, mostly because you are targeting a local area and building your business with information.
The key when employing this strategy is consistency in both your citation building efforts, reviews from customers and maintaining up-to-date information. Do this for 6 to 12 months and you will certainly see a difference in your rankings!