What is Google Maps Marketing?
Google maps marketing is the process of increasing your visibility on Local Search Results in Google. Simply put, when users search for a service online, they are shown results depending on their geographic location. These search results are based on the functionality of Google maps. It is the process of optimizing this functionality to boost more traffic through increased visibility on local searches.
Whenever a relevant Google search is conducted by a user, some local business listings are shown at the top of the results page. These are based on the locality of the user searching for this specific service. Most users will not go beyond the first few listings.
The idea is to find the highest ranking on these business listing search results. The higher up you are placed on a Google Maps search, the better your chances are to acquire more leads.
Users do not trust a business with poor online credibility. Google Maps Marketing is a reliable method to increase your brand’s visibility online.
Who Needs Google Maps Marketing?
Anyone who wants to boost their business needs to optimize the Google Maps functionality. You know why? Google Maps Marketing is a surefire way to reach qualified leads who are expressly searching the service you provide, that too, in your locality!
There is a lot of power attached to grabbing the top spots for a local business search result. It is not just about ranking your website, it is about positioning your brand as well. This means, every business owner needs to have their Google Maps marketing on point if they want to expand their business by acquiring qualified leads.
As a proficient SEO agency, we offer effective Google Maps SEO strategies for scaling business growth with local SEO services. You can reach out to us for a quote. Our team will get back promptly to start a dialogue about your business needs.
Why Google Maps Marketing Matters in 2020?
Aggressive digitalization has not been able to dent local shopping experiences. A huge chunk of users searching online for services will actually visit their chosen store in person, to make the final purchase. But truth be told, their purchase decision is heavily influenced by local business listings on SERPs.
Google’s ‘3 pack’ is a recently integrated update within the search algorithm. When users search for location-based queries, Google shows them the top 3 business listings in that area. These 3 listings are shown above the normal paid and organic search results. The users get to see the best ranked business listings first, and subsequently, on scrolling down, they will find the regular search result sites.
This update is Google’s way of making sure customers find the best businesses for their immediate requirements. So, how does this affect your SEO strategy? Well, for one, setting up your My Google Business page is a must. This is the first step towards optimizing for Google Maps Marketing. This way, you are steadily building up towards powerful Local SEO that aims at positioning your business listing for Google’s ‘3 pack’ ranks. Here’s looking at how it is an effective SEO strategy.
- Focus on long-tail keywords with area name to acquire qualified leads
- Optimizing mobile phone searches to show prospective local listings
- Extremely cost-efficient; less expensive than other digital solutions
- A fast and reliable method of getting online users to trust your brand
In 2020, this is great news for small businesses trying to expand their customer base. Through constructive Google Maps Marketing, our SEO experts can help you grow the search visibility quotient for your business listing.
What is included in Google Maps Marketing Checklist?
Online business listing is an important aspect of increasing user-reach through digital channels. Google My Business or GMB listing is even more important for Google Maps Marketing.
GMB is a free tool for businesses to increase their visibility across Google’s platforms. It ensures that your potential customers find you when they run a local Google search for your product or service. It also ensures that your customers seek you out for a repeat hire, if they are happy with your product or services.
We have curated a comprehensive checklist for optimizing your GMB listing on Google Maps. Please do keep in mind that we shall keep updating this as per evolving best practices and changing trends.
1. Claim or create your Google My Business Listing
If you are running a business that is comparatively new, you should start with setting up your GMB listing profile. In case you have been around for a while, your GMB listing might have been automatically created. In this case, claim your listing immediately. If you don’t do this, random users might be able to change your business information like operating hours, categories or phone numbers. That would lead to potential customers getting wrong information – which could prove harmful for lead acquisition.
How to create a Google My Business Listing?
Step 1 – Visit https://www.google.com/business/
Step 2 – Click on the ‘manage now’ button
Step 3 – Login with your Google Account
Step 4 – Follow given instructions to set up a listing
How to claim a Google My Business Listing?
Step 1 – Visit https://www.google.com/business/
Step 2 – Sign in with your valid account
Step 3 – Search for your business
Step 4 – Click on ‘own this business’ link for desktop and ‘claim this business’ link for mobile devices
2. Request Ownership of a Business
In case you find that your business has already been claimed by someone else, you can work on the following steps to reclaim it as yours –
Step 1 – Visit https://www.google.com/business/ and search for your business
Step 2 – As a storefront business owner, you will see the following if someone has already claimed your business –
This listing has already been claimed
You just need to find the ‘request access’ button and submit your ownership form.
As a service-area business owner, you need to first complete a verification process. Once that is complete, you will see the following –
Find the ‘request access’ button and submit your form.
Step 3 – Both of the claimants receive an email confirmation. Just wait for the current owner to respond. This could take up to 7 business days.
You can track the status of your request from your GMB dashboard. Once the current owner responds, you will get an email notification – act accordingly thereafter.
If the claim is approved, immediately get on to optimizing your GMB profile. The claim can be denied as well – in that case, you need to file an appeal by contacting Google My Business support.
3. Verify your business
After claiming or reclaiming your business, the next step is to verify your business listing. Google gives you a set of verification methods to choose from. You can opt for whatever deems convenient for you –
Google will send you a postcard with a verification code. Once you receive this, login to your GMB account, feed the code to complete your listing. There is a 14-day window for the verification postcard to reach you. Please avoid making any changes to your listing information during this time. If needed, you can request for another postcard from Google.
Make sure you can receive calls on your listed phone number. Google will place a call to provide you with a verification code. Once you’ve received the code, feed it into your listing.
You will receive an email with a ‘verify’ button. You can either click this button or login to your GMB listing profile and enter the code to complete the verification process.
You need to set up a Google hangout app for this method. Google will want to see your business office, logo, equipment, infrastructure or clients. If your business is service-area based, Google would want to verify your business vehicle, license plate etc. To verify your listing, you need to take a video call from a Google specialist in case you opt for this method
If you do not want to get into the technicalities, you can avail the services of a Google trusted verifier. This way, you can work with a partner and skip the verification process.
A trusted verifier will carry out the process of verification on your behalf with the help of a private, Android-only, Trusted Verifier app. They will collect relevant information from you like utility bills, tax documents etc. They might even visit your business in person to acquire your business information.
4. Add a Business Name
Your business name for GMB should be the same as stated on your company website, business cards and other legal documents. Please ensure you feed in your authentic business name only. Spamming your business name with other irrelevant entities like search terms, city names or taglines is against the Google terms of service. It might lead to heavy penalization or suspension.
5. Add Relevant Information – NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. This information needs to be filled in correctly so that users can contact you if and when they want to reach out. NAP information is instrumental in making Local SEO work effectively. Your business website also needs to have this information mentioned in various places for full optimization.
Your NAP information should be uniform for all online platforms. Every single mention of your brand or business online should adhere to the NAP information on your GMB profile. This helps Google clarify that those mentions on other websites are actually referring to your business.
6. Add suitable categories
Google gives you the option of correctly categorizing your business listing. They will offer you to select your ‘primary category’ as well as a bunch of additional categories to let you define what your business is really about. The categories section lets you directly communicate with Google about your business type, your product details or the kind of services you offer. Optimizing this section by choosing a single primary category that best suits your business along with at least 3 other additional categories.
7. Select your Service area and operating hours
This is of utmost importance for Local searches. Make sure you fill in the exact operational area for your business. If you have multiple of those, don’t worry, you may select more than one city or municipality as your definitive service area.
Operating hours in your GMB listing is key for lead acquisition. Potential customers need to know your correct business hours for them to make a well-informed purchase decision.
8. Update your website and appointment URL
Your websites and landing pages for the appointment URL should be live when you put them up in your listing. GMB asks you to feed in the URL for your website homepage, this is where your users will travel after hitting the ‘website’ link.
GMB gives you a separate option for the ‘appointment’ link – this is where you put in the URL for your landing page. This page is designed for users to provide their information by visiting, filling out, and submitting a form. It is not a good practice to put in your homepage URL in the ‘appointment’ section. Unless of course, your homepage has a form that users can fill out for getting an appointment.
9. Add Services, products, and attributes
Put in the details of your services, products, menus and other attributes. Use different sections for different categories of products or services. Pay special attention to filling out the ‘attributes’ section. This provides information to users about various random aspects of your business. You might feed in a ‘pets allowed’ if you are a restaurant owner or ‘outdoor seating available’ etc. Do not fill in any false attributes because Google actually cross-checks with users about these attributes for various GMB listings.
10. Business Description
You can push Local SEO in the right direction with a keyword-rich business description. You would want to make full use of the 750 character limit and put in content that you want to rank for. This is an optimization technique to let Google know more about your business and what searches it should show up for.
11. Use GMB Posts
You can create high-quality posts to attract customers through GMB posts. This is a recent update that allows you to advertise your business through GMB. So, you can put up mini ads about upcoming events, offers or newly added products through this feature. Not many businesses are using GMB posts since it is a comparatively new feature. You can take advantage of this by leveraging this feature to promote your business.
12. Add Photos and Videos
This will help you communicate your brand story to new users checking out your profile. Photos and videos are extremely important media in the digital age. The more you add, the better your users get to know you – and this can only take you closer to your desired optimization goals. Make a good impression on your potential customers by giving them a virtual tour of your brand.
Lastly, invest time in coming up with a solid strategy to generate 5-star reviews on GMB. You can do so by giving a handful of customers free goods or discount coupons in exchange for a good review. You should also invest time inconsistently replying to negative as well as positive reviews from users. This reflects on how valuable you consider your users – it also increases your online credibility through suitable user-interaction.
Showing up on Google’s ‘3 pack’ is just the start, you need to stand out starkly from the other 2 in order to further business growth.
But what exactly are Google My Business and Google’s local pack?
Google determines local ranking by relevance, distance, and credibility. For queries with local intent, Google will show 3 relevant business listings before the regular search answers. These 3 listings are known as Google’s ‘local pack’.
For example when a user searches for ‘best restaurant near me’, the algorithm will show a list of the 3 best restaurants in that geographical area. These are Google My Business listings, that allow owners to market their service through Google Maps.
Google’s Local pack functions around information that is fed into your Google My Business or GMB listing. So, if you’ve mentioned a specific service area in your listing, Google will show your business within the 3 spots of the local pack, for any relevant search query.
Google My Business is a free tool and can be optimized by owners to reach out to their potential customers. You can also analyze data about how many customers engaged with you using this tool – through clicks, calls, bookings or follows.
How do we Rank You Better in Google Maps?
As a professional SEO agency, you can trust us to drive results through diligent Google Maps Marketing. We have a team of experts who can ensure your Google My Business listing is suitably optimized. This is instrumental in making your business listing show up for relevant search queries.
Let us help you understand our optimization process with full clarity. Here are some of the techniques we apply for better ranking on Google Maps –
A complete and foolproof Google My Business listing
The accuracy of your listing is directly associated with your ranking on Google Maps. Google would want your listing to have as much information as possible, to place you among the 3 ranks of the local pack. We make sure, each of the following sections are properly filled out and brimming with information.
- Phone number
- Business categories
- Business details
- Profile images
- Verified status
- Review replies
- Positive vs negative ratings
- Average star of ratings
Using an appropriate phone number
Google is not keen on toll-free numbers listed out as your primary phone number. Toll-free numbers are mostly used for spamming, and you need to steer clear of them in your listing details. We ensure a local phone number is listed on your GMB profile so that users can reach you according to their needs.
We know the correct means of using a tracked phone number, without hampering your credibility with Google. So, if you need to find out which users are reaching out through Google Maps Marketing, we will provide you with transparent and regular reports on that.
Optimizing your business listing
This is a complex process and should be left for the professionals while you focus on running your business.
- Writing a business description with suitable keywords
- Properly categorizing your business in terms of ranking
- Adding relevant photos to your Maps listing
- Getting rid of duplicate business listings
Good reviews go a long way in defining your online credibility. Unlike other review sites, Google reviews give you no room for changing or controlling the public reviews. We help you create strategies for reaching out to satisfied customers for providing five-star reviews. You can’t take down a negative review but you can surely negate that further with a positive reply. This is a tremendous amount of work and our team will take care of this, on behalf of your brand.
Using your business website
Your business website is the core of your online profile and it can be fully used to increase your Google Maps ranking. We carry out the following measures to make this happen –
- Embedding a Google map into your website structure
- Using Local keywords in the content body
- Making sure your website is desktop and mobile responsive
With changing technology and evolving algorithm updates, our agency will help you channelize the right resources for better ranking. Google Maps Marketing is comparatively new and our team of experts has proficient skills to skyrocket your local ranking.