Are You Using Google Maps to Boost Your Local SEO Efforts?
-by Alex Bungener - Digital+
Google Maps has become the go-to search option for millions of smartphone users worldwide. If you’re not taking advantage of this tool in order to increase your local exposure, it’s time you started. It’s not enough to have an optimized website to generate organic search results. You have to pay as much – or even more – attention to getting your business to the top of Maps listings.
Why is Google Maps so Important?
When Google understands that you are looking for a local business, right below the ads is a map. Below that map you’ll find a list of three businesses. That little section gets more than 50% of all “searcher action” that occurs on the search engine results page (SERP). Thirty to 40% occurs in the organic section below the maps section, and the remaining searcher action comes from ads.
A growing number of people are using their phones and tablets to search rather than their computers. Google accounts for nearly 90 percent of the estimated 3.5 billion mobile searches performed each day. An astounding 76 percent of people who perform a local search visit a store that shows up on that search the same day.
Even more astounding is the fact that 92% of people read between one to six reviews before deciding to either call or visit your business. Therefore, not only do you need to be optimized for search in the maps section, you also need a great review portfolio to maximize your new customer acquisition success.
Google Maps can lead to thousands of potential customers. For that to happen, however, you MUST appear just below the map and have a review portfolio that matches or surpasses the other two competitors listed.
What are the Keys to Being Listed in Maps?
When they search for, say, “pizza near me,” Google includes a map with the pin locations of three different pizza restaurants in their area. Below the map you’ll see a list of those pizza places. From here you can click on reviews to read them, go to their website, call them, or get directions to their location.
For service area businesses such as plumbers, pest control, tree services, etc. the pin location(s) may not be on the map itself, but there will still be three providers listed below the map.
You’d think that there would be some sort of order to how those pizza places are listed, right? The natural thing would be to list them by the distance they are from the user. But that’s not the case. The first restaurant on the list might be 2.2 miles from the user, while the third one is only .9 miles away.
So what separates those companies at the top of the list from those farther down? Optimization. Your business might be in the Google directory – but when it comes to Google Maps, that’s not much better than a basic listing in the phone book. Just because you’re in the directory, that doesn’t mean you’ll show up in Google Maps.
There are a lot of ways to help boost your Google Maps position. Here’s a quick look at just a few of them.
- Good reviews
- A complete – and OPTIMIZED – Google directory listing
- Quality photos of your products or services
- Make Google feel you are the most relevant (for keyword phrase) and most prominent in the city the searcher is located or searching in.
These are important, but they won’t guarantee you’ll be higher on a Google Maps listing. It takes a great deal of time to rank as high as possible – and if you are like most business owners, you simply don’t have that time. Creating that relevance and prominence – which is extremely crucial for a service area business – takes time, monthly work, skills and knowledge. Accomplishing this will lead to new customers every month!
Digital+ can help with all of your Google Maps optimization needs. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn more.