What is Google Maps marketing, and how does it work? Marketing with Google Maps is a business tactic that uses Google Maps’ functionality to make your business easier to find. Check out our complete guide to learn how you can improve your Google Map SEO.
Google Maps is undoubtedly one of the most useful tools that the search engine company has developed. It lets us know the layout of roads that helps us get around cities and towns and fills us in with important landmarks and business info that makes our lives so much easier.
For local business owners, Google Maps is also an incredible marketing tool. By simply creating a Google My Business (GMB) profile, businesses can appear in Google Maps and become accessible to many potential customers.
Digital marketers call this idea of using Google My Business and optimizing for local search ranking — Google Maps Marketing.
First, let’s learn what exactly does Google Maps Marketing entails and the key SEO factors that influence your rankings on the Maps.
What is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is the process of making your business stand out among Google Maps listings. The goal is to optimize your business to rank higher in local search results and attract customers searching for your products or services.
However, let’s be clear. When we talk about Google Maps marketing, it does not refer to just a single platform. Google Maps results are shown in many places, including the Local 3-Pack results, voice searches, and the Google Maps app with 5 billion downloads.
To succeed in Google Maps marketing, businesses would need a combination of local SEO, paid search, GMB listing management, and reputation building.
Then again, is Google Maps marketing for you? This depends on the types of business you are running, but for most local businesses, the answer is yes!
Importance of Google Maps Marketing
Based on Google’s statistics, local searches and Google Maps drive consumers to over 1.5 billion destinations each year.
46% of all searches made on Google are looking for local information, and among this, 93% of local search results display the Google Local 3-Pack, which are local businesses that have a listing in Google Maps.
Naturally, people doing these local searches are potential customers ready to buy your products or request your services. 70% of customers are likely to visit the store based on their online information.
This thus makes Google Maps one of the most powerful marketing tools for local businesses. By marketing on Google Maps, not only will you be able to increase your local visibility, but better positioning will earn you more sales and revenue compared to your competitors.
However, these results depend on your positioning in Google Maps for relevant searches. So the goal here is to achieve as high a placement as possible in local business results listings on Google SERPs and let’s take a look at what this means.
Proximity-based on Google Maps Results
Google Maps listing is primarily based on your physical location. With increasing mobile search volume, proximity-based Google Maps results are becoming more commonplace.
For example, do a quick Google search on your mobile device or signed-in browser for a short-tail keyword like ‘hardware shop’.
You will notice that the results returned are businesses near you and are listed based on how close they are to your current location.
Rankings on Google Maps Results
On the other hand, not every user has their location data enabled on their mobile device. Sometimes, there are scenarios when we are simply researching for businesses out of our vicinity. In these cases, ranked Google Maps results are shown.
These Maps listing results are independent of the user’s location and based on optimization best practices, where Google Maps marketing comes into play.
A quick tip: Check to see if you are already ranking on the Google 3-Pack for any local search terms. If yes, make sure to use a local rank monitoring tool like our BiQ’s Rank Tracking to keep track of your position.
Google Maps Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand how it works let’s look at the 6 tactics you can use to boost your rankings on Google Maps.
1. Get Your GMB Listing Verified
To get your business on Google Maps, you first need to have a Google My Business profile.
Google My Business (GMB) enables business owners to show their business listings on Google search and Map results. Almost any type of business can register or claim their GMB listing, and here is a quick guide to setting up your GMB profile.
Note that you should never skip the last step of verifying your business. Many people fail or forget to verify their listings. Still, unless your GMB profile is verified, you won’t be able to manage your business information in Search, Maps, and other Google properties.
Besides, verification is necessary to confirm the physical location of your business and check whether you’re authorized to own the listing. Only after that will you be able to make changes to your business across Google and view local search insights.
2. Optimize Your GMB listing
So once you have your GMB listing verified, it’s time to optimize your profile.
GMB signals like categories, keywords in the business description, and more are all ranking factors that will influence your rankings and chances of getting into the much-coveted Local 3-Pack. There are only 3 spots, and you want to make sure you show up for relevant searches to reach your potential customers.
To achieve this, make sure to include keywords your audience uses to find businesses like yours in your description. Let’s say you are an owner of a hardware shop, and your business description should also include keywords like paint, power tools, or other related terms.
Here we recommend using BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence for all your keyword research. Our tool supports local SEO efforts and allows you to access language and location-specific keyword data. As of now, there are more than 100,000 locations and 35 languages you can choose from.
The Keyword Intelligence tool will start to analyze your target keyword and return with related keywords and search phrases which you can then use to describe your business.
However, avoid cramming all your keywords into the description. You can also include them naturally in your Q&A section or responses to queries and comments. Because this will too help improve your Business Profile’s ranking for relevant searches.
Now that you have already optimized keywords on your website with BiQ tracking and monitoring your local search rankings is equally critical to check the optimization results of your website.
Grid My Business is one of the best local rank tracking tools to monitor and compare your local search ranking performances. It supports all locations that can be found on Google Maps.
You can obtain more profound insights into your local rankings with Grid My Business. By performing a quick and easy bulk scan of up to 5 keywords per scan, you can identify local rankings of multiple search queries.
3. Get Awesome Reviews
Now, quick question. If you were to get search results like the one below, which business would you most likely choose?
It should be obvious. Reviews play a key role in influencing a customer’s decision to purchase or not and are thus also a key ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
Though having a high number of reviews doesn’t guarantee you the #1 ranking in the Local Pack, it will most certainly stand out from your competition.
People often rely on other user reviews and recommendations to make their final decisions.
That’s why make sure you are actively soliciting reviews from your customers.
If your GMB listing is still new, you can reach out to your loyal, long-time customers to get the momentum going. Otherwise, add this effort into your marketing funnel by drafting an automated email reminder post-purchase to ask for a review.
If done correctly, this will keep a steady stream of reviews coming in, which also acts as a strong signal that reminds Google your business is active.
But more importantly, make sure you are constantly monitoring and responding to your reviews. Replying to customer feedback reveals a lot about your business to prospects, incentivizes additional customers to leave their reviews, and improves your local SEO.
Even if you receive a negative review, don’t launch a personal attack. Be courteous and thank the customer for their feedback. In contrast, another option is to flag the review as inappropriate if it violates the Google guidelines.
4. Accurate NAP Citations
Another vital signal in local SEO is NAP consistency, and it refers to the accuracy of a location-based business’ Name, Address, and Phone Number across the internet.
This is often regarded as a minimum requirement in the local search optimization strategy, and you need to check if your business details are accurate wherever mentioned. This could include business listings in local directories, social media, and websites.
Citations do not necessarily have to link back to your website to provide search engines with positive signals regarding your business. However, ensure your citations are correct across all mentions to let Google and Bing know that your business is legitimate.
5. Add Relevant Business Pictures
Honestly, this is no surprise. People love great visuals, and the brain can often process much more information from an image than through words.
Using the right product and location images can help better engage buyer’s attention, increase trust and boost conversion rates.
So a quick tip here is to invest in photography and capture images that can evoke an emotional response or desire for customers to visit your shop.
6. Utilize Paid Ads
Lastly, although marketing for Google Maps is free, for businesses looking for quick results and have more room in their marketing budget, using local search ads can be a great option.
Similar to regular Google ads, these paid local ads will bring your business listing to the top of Google Map searches for keywords relevant to your business. It works by using location targeting and appears in both desktop and mobile searches.
Remember to experiment and track your performance to understand how customers respond to your ads when using ads for your business. Use these data to inform further your marketing campaign of what queries you should target and the preferred actions for users.
Ultimately, Google Maps marketing is highly competitive. It is the ideal standard for local search, especially for local businesses looking to drive online and in-person traffic.
So if you are using local SEO practices, be patient and continuously improve your local visibility. Because once you succeed, the benefit reaps will elevate your business to greater heights.
Updated: 29 September 2021