Google Maps Marketing for Local Businesses.
A prominent component of a local SEO strategy for any local business looking to be found online is Google Maps Marketing.
Only a short while ago you would have probably turned to Yell or even other review sites like TripAdvisor to discover services in your area. Nowadays, Google and Google Maps are the first port of call.
One of the main reasons for this is that it is so easy for the user. They open Google or Google Maps, type a word such as ‘plumber’ and a map pack appears at the top of the search results.
This is what is called the local 3-pack. This displays results based upon user proximity or if the user also types a location, for example ‘emergency plumber in London’.
Why is Google Maps Marketing important?
Quite often a customer will decide on whether to call a business from this map list alone. When your business is well optimised for the Google Map pack it is more visible to the potential customer. This makes it much easier for potential customers to find you.
They can also interact with your business right from the search engines result page. As you can see in the image opposite, a customer can call your business with just a simple push of a button. This is even without the need of visiting your website.
Appearing well in the local 3 pack also raises your brand awareness. To appear in this location on the search engine result pages you will need to set up what is called your Google My Business account.
Setting up Google My Business.
To set up a Google My Business page you will need to create an account. You are then required to enter all of your business details. You will then receive a verification code from Google prior to completing your listing. This can take around 5 days to arrive by post or they can call you right away if you choose this option.
Once you are verified, you will need to ensure all the business details are added correctly and are up to date.
Adding pictures and gaining reviews are also a necessity if you want to achieve those high rankings. According to Google, businesses with pictures on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location and also 35% more clicks through to their website.
Reviews give your business more credibility. Customers are more likely to use a business which has a rating of 4 stars and above. Ensure you manager your reviews by responding to any you receive in a prompt and professional manner.
How to appear higher in Google Map Pack.
There are a number of elements which help increase your rankings in the local map packs. Proximity tends to be the number one factor here, but there are other important components which cannot be ignored.
Again, reviews are one of the factors but over and above this citations and links back to your website have important roles to play.