The impacts of the pandemic have helped most business owners to realize their need for having an online presence. But, is it enough to just be present online? Merely being able to say that “we’re on the internet” doesn’t solve the problem. If you really want to gain an edge over your competition, then you’ll need to incorporate some practices that make you stand out.
One such practice worth mentioning is optimization. The content that you put on your website is only worthy when it’s relevant. For example, if a person searches for “bakery shop near me,” but you haven’t added your local address, then your page won’t pop up. In other words, it’s irrelevant to your target audience!
While most business leaders understand that search engine optimization (SEO) is important, many tend to overlook the importance of Google Map optimization. Optimization of Google Maps is incredibly relevant for businesses which operate on a local parameter – those which specifically operate within a local market. Optimizing for Google Map location helps you attract more targeted leads to your website, rather than generating traffic which is essentially irrelevant to those outside of your service area. For example, if you have a specialty cookie shop in Winston-Salem, having traffic from India won’t do much to fuel your business. That’s why you really need the filtered and channelized traffic which can come from Google Map optimization.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Google Map Marketing, why it’s important, and what benefits it can provide to your local business.
In layman’s terms, Google Map Marketing and Google Map Optimization are essentially the same thing. Both refer to marketing your business presence on Google Maps by optimizing it. And just like any other form of optimization, the expected end result is for your business to rank higher in relevant Google searches.
And that’s really the edge that Google Maps provides; it helps you to appear in local searches! Let’s say you’ve registered yourself in the local directory and have optimized your presence on Google Maps. If any customer searches for your business category within your designated geographical region, you should automatically appear in the search results! This is a great way to direct interested shoppers to your site, and is effective at helping to turn more searchers into paying customers!
To give you a better idea of why Google Maps optimization is important, let’s look at some statistics. Netmarketshare relays that from the 3.5 billion searches which are carried out on Google every day, a whopping 88% can be traced back to mobile devices. And Thinkwithgoogle tells us that 76% of those who conduct a “near me” search on their smartphones will visit a local business they find within 24 hours. The result? More warm leads, higher conversion rates, and increased sales! If you don’t optimize for Google Map searches, you’re simply missing out on local customers, plain and simple.
According to Forbes, 92% of clicks via Google Search occur on the first page of search results. This should tell you that optimizing to get your site to show up on the first page is incredibly important! Otherwise, most searchers will never find your local business whenever they’re looking for a product or service.
Here are some more insights and tips regarding taking full advantage of Google Maps optimization:
When featuring your website on Google Maps, you need to be sure to include all relevant information that your searchers need to know when making a purchasing decision, including what specific services you offer, your hours of operation, contact information, address, etc. In addition, make sure that your website link is also prominently featured. Without a site link to click on, you could be missing out on a ton of valuable web traffic.
Google makes a habit of prioritizing local businesses over other competitors in your category. By prioritizing for location, you’ll earn a higher search rank, and thus experience less competition. Make your business as clickable as possible!
Gone are the days when people relied on newspapers and phone books as their primary sources for local business information. And younger generations now rely exclusively upon local searches to gather the information they’re looking for when it comes to local businesses. Smartphones with built-in GPS make it incredibly easy to find anything you want, and then navigate right to the local source or provider.
While some other forms of advertising can still add branding value, there really is no substitute for smart online search marketing when it comes to helping your local business get found. Leveraging relevant keywords for local searches should help you rank on a priority basis, and that means more lead traffic which translates to more conversions for your business.
In listing your business locally, you also create a scope for dialogue between your customers and your business. Customers like to be able to check ratings, leave their own ratings, share personal feedback, etc.
Even negative comments can be your friend, as they give you a first-hand understanding about relevant opportunities for improvement. But of course, what you really love to see are positive comments from your customers. Few things create better word-of-mouth referrals for your business than unpaid, unsolicited reviews from those who actually shop with you.
Hopefully, you understand by now that even if you’re not making use of Google Maps optimization for your local business, other local businesses are. The result is that your visibility is lowered in comparison to your competitors, who are adopting the necessary methodologies to stay relevant.
In listing your business online, also be aware that a picture really can be worth more than a thousand words. Keep in mind that a nice visual representation might get you more clicks than many paragraphs stitched together. For instance, someone looking for “restaurants near me” wants to be able to check out some photos depicting the food itself, as well as the ambiance of the restaurant. Many marketers believe that visual images are really the best form of content marketing for their business. So, make sure that some good visuals are included in your business representation on Google Maps.
Let’s say you’re a local eatery that’s recently added a new location. Your original location is well-known to your repeat customers, but they may have no awareness about the existence of your second location. And if your new location is actually a renovation of an older existing restaurant, then many may still be identifying that location with the former establishment.
Until you provide information about the whereabouts of your new venture with a local Google Map listing, you’re really just paving the way for misinformation and missed opportunities. And there’s no way that can be good for your business!
With so many people operating businesses online these days, it’s hard to know which ones are genuine, much less genuinely local. Some scammers will refrain from including specific business location and contact information on purpose; you certainly don’t want to come off as one of those! Authenticate your existence and your location through Google Maps, and you’ll build more local trust and confidence in your business.
If you want people to know about your local business, then you obviously need to figure out some good ways to promote it. And if you’re a small business, traditional marketing strategies can get expensive in a hurry. That’s one place where Google Maps optimization can really help you!
It doesn’t cost you anything to list your business on the platform, and if you’re intentional about including information that’s current and correct, that will only help your business to get found. People will continue using Google Maps to find the things they’re looking for, whether your business is listed or not. But if you are optimized for Google Maps, you have a much better chance of landing your business squarely within the field of view of potential customers who are searching for the very things you have to offer!
“Near me” searches provide a “near you” opportunity for your business. According to one study, at least 30% of mobile searches are based upon geographical location, and the numbers are likely much higher than that. We all now operate in an environment where customers are searching for relevant local businesses, and one of the best ways you can help yourself is to ensure that your business has an optimized presence on Google Maps.
Need some help with Google Map optimization? Or perhaps you’re ready to leverage digital marketing in some other powerful ways to make even more of a positive difference for your local business. No matter your current situation, the pros at Cibirix Digital Marketing Agency can help! Connect with us online, or simply give us a call at (336) 415-3534 today!
Amrita is one of the professional SEO analysts for the Cibirix marketing team. She applies her in-depth knowledge and experience to help boost website rankings for both our B2B and B2C business clients, ultimately producing more traffic for their sites. She is intentional about creating an individualized link-building strategy that’s not just creative, but ethical as well – she’s always careful not to violate any of Google’s SEO policies. Amrita believes in building links which will elevate our clients’ respective brands both effectively and sustainably. During her spare time between SEO projects, Amrita loves to read books and follow blogs related to nutrition and yoga.