The Beginner’s Guide to Google Maps Marketing

17-Jan-2020 04:28 PM Digital Marketing

When you search for any business or service on Google, you would’ve noticed the “local 3-pack” at the top of the results. For example, searching for “Dentists in Calgary”, produces the below three listings after the ads:

You might be wondering of all the dentists in Calgary, a cosmopolitan city in Canada, why were these particular search results are featured here. The answer is simple: Google didn’t select them! Rather, by employing marketing best practices, these dentists have managed to snag a position in the local 3-pack.

This type of listing is a part of Google My Business listing. It goes without saying that being featured in this section means a multiple fold increase in eyeballs and footfalls for your business.

Let’s take a look at what it is and how it can help your business be featured prominently on search results.

Simply put, Google Maps marketing involves optimizing your business’ online presence so that it shows up on location-based search results. It’s all about making you easier to find. In the maze of bylanes populated with your competitors, it can be easy to miss out on potential customers. This is especially important for small/local businesses struggling for footfalls.

If used strategically, Google Maps marketing could turn out to a major source of leads for you. And if people are willing to search for your store online and walk into your store, chances are high that they will make a purchase.

To begin with, whenever a user searches for a product or service online, Google produces a list of local businesses that are relevant to the query. These listings can be of many types.

Proximity Based & Near Me searches

“Near me” searches are essentially those where users search for “pizza parlors near me” or “saloons near me.” For location-enabled devices, the query will return a set of businesses that matches the conditions. The listings are ordered based on proximity to the users’ location with the closest position marked “A”, followed by “B” and then “C” and so on.

Near me searches are so popular that even Google suggests them as you’re typing on the search bar. These results display your website and directions to your store as well. If your business doesn’t pop up in the results for a “near me” query, you’re missing out on valuable traffic and sales.

Ranked Google Maps Results

Not every user has location services enabled on their devices. So what happens when they search for a product or a service online? The Google Maps result will still display businesses, just not the ones near the user’s location. What gets displayed on this page is the Ranked listing.

In the above example, I’ve searched for bakeries in Singapore, which is not my location. Clearly ‘bakeries in Singapore’ is a very hard market to crack. But these stores have managed to snag the top three places on Google. No doubt, business is good there.

The keen-eyed among you might have noticed that the second result has a lower rating than the third result. This is correct if you’re going for a ranking weighted by the number of results as well. However, in many cases, the number of reviews also might be close and the rankings are way too close to call. In those cases, what matters is your brand’s profile on Google My Business.

Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) will let business owners claim their business that may appear in Google search results. Of course, if it doesn’t appear on search results, you can still create a GMB profile for your business.

The GMB listing for your business will display your address, opening hours, and customer ratings among other things.

Optimizing Your Listing

Many business owners make the mistake of creating an incomplete listing. They only enter their store name and contact information. But this is not enough. Just like performing on-page SEO for a blog post, your listing should also be optimized so that Google will choose to display it over your competitors.

Here are some tips to optimize your listing:

1. Use your complete postal address.

Probably the most important variable is your business address. You do not want to send your customers on a wild goose chase trying to find your store. Better to stay on the safe side and use the address as per the format prescribed by the postal agency of your region.

This way, Google will be able to pinpoint with accuracy your store on the map and customers too will not be confused.

2. Get your listing verified

To give your business that professional touch, get it verified by Google. Here, you will find the instructions to verify your business. Google insists on mailing you a postcard with a pin to your registered address to complete verification. So ensure that your address is updated correctly.

3. Update your categories

If you run a graphic design service, it makes service to mark ‘Graphic Designer’ as your business category. But Google also offers you the choice to select more categories. Do not leave these empty. In our example for a graphic design service, you should ideally opt for ‘Advertising Agency’, ‘Website Design Company’ and ‘Model Design Company’ as well. Because most of these come under what a graphic designer would also do.

This link has all the categories that you can select on Google My Business.

4. Include optimized photos

No listing is complete without images to go along. These cannot be random images that have nothing to do with the business or free stock images. You should make the effort to take good quality images of your storefront or landmarks or menu cards(if you’re a restaurant) or any other information that your clients will find useful.

Always add metadata like keywords and geographical location to your images. This will make it easier for potential clients to find you online.

5. Optimize your introduction

When Google offers you the chance to introduce your business, use it wisely. Include important information and pepper keywords related to your business throughout. Keep in mind that Google has a strict editorial policy against link and keyword spamming.

Your introduction should convey everything a prospective customer might need to know about your business in as few clicks as possible. It should also be easy to read. Use bullet lists instead of a wall of text. Use short sentences as opposed to long rambling ones that use up the word count. Above all, keep your messaging consistent.

Wait for the crowds

If you’ve taken care of your Google My Business, you can sit back and wait for the crowds to pour in. When if you such a useful tool that is both free and easy to use, it is your prerogative to make full use of it. Don’t miss out on this simple way to boost your brand value.

If you need any help with creating a Google listing, consult with us and we’ll be happy to help you out.