How To Grow Revenue using Google Maps Marketing
by Mike Khorev
It’s no secret that more and more people are now using Google Maps. From finding walking directions to driving assistance to finding a new place to dine in, Google Maps is arguably the most important app provided by Google at the moment.
If you are a brick-and-mortar business, or a business serving a local niche, not optimizing your listing on Google Maps is, put simply, missing out on a huge chunk of market, but yet many marketers are neglecting Google Maps marketing for one reason or another.
In this guide created by local SEO expert Mike, we will discuss how to easily -and effectively- implement Google Maps marketing with a simple checklist. When implemented correctly, this can lead to more traffic, more prospect, and ultimately, more revenue from your Google Maps listing.
Let us begin.
Register and Verify Google My Business Account
To have a listing on Google Maps, we will need to have an account in Google My Business. There are two things to consider when registering your Google My Business account: first, make sure you are providing a complete and accurate information of your business (we will discuss the important elements in detail below).
Second, make sure to verify your account. Although there are various possible methods to do this, mainly Google will send a mail to your physical address, containing a PIN you can use to verify your account
Name, Address and Phone Number
Name, Address, and Phone Number, which are referred as NAP in the world of Google Maps marketing and local SEO, are the three most important aspects of your listing.
So, make sure all three of them are up-to-date and complete. If your business is located in the U.S., make sure you use the address as used by the USPS. In general, if you are using the same address used by your local postal service, you are good to go.
Also, you can set whether to display or not display your NAP information to customers in your Google My Business setting. In general, you should always enable them.
Business Category Information
When registering your Google My Business account, you will be given the opportunity to specify your business categories. Remember, your objective with these categories is no to describe your product or service, but what your business is. (i.e. “pizza restaurant” and “pizza delivery service”, not “pizza” or “pasta”).
Use this opportunity to optimize your listing: don’t only state your primary category, but every possible categories your business is relevant in. Doing this can also lead to more traffic from people who are searching for various related categories.
For example, if you are a digital marketing consultation, you can set “digital marketing agency” as your primary category, and you can include “content marketing consultant”, “SEO service” and other related categories. The more the merrier, but make sure all of them are relevant.
Your “introduction” section is similar to your website’s META description, and so the principle is similar: here, you have the opportunity to showcase your business, your products or services, and your unique value propositions. Google will also use this introduction to determine your business’s relevancy for ranking purposes.
Focus on writing a comprehensive and compelling introduction for your human audience. You can include relevant keywords and location-focused keywords here, but make sure they are included naturally. You can also include links to your site and social media channels, but don’t include too many.
Soliciting Positive Reviews
Positive customer reviews are not only important as a Google Maps ranking signal, but is also important social proofs to drive more prospects and customers.
So, soliciting positive reviews is a very important aspect of Google Maps marketing, while you also need to properly manage the negative ones.
You can offer incentives like discounts, free products, and other offers to encourage more positive reviews. Ask your existing customers to leave reviews on Google Maps and other relevant review sites (Yelp!, TripAdvisor) in exchange of something valuable.
Properly determine whether a negative review is valid, or fake. If it’s fake, you can ask for a removal by providing proofs. You might also want to pursue legal actions.
If the negative review is valid, address it quickly and politely. Don’t deliver false promises and address the underlying problems, if any.
There are also many different tools available to help you monitor reviews. Use them to help you in this aspect.
Google Maps is a visual platform, and listings with photos will gain more traffic compared to those who don’t. Add at least one professionally taken photo. Again, the more the merrier, especially if you are a business relying on ambiance.
Photos are also great optimization opportunity in improving your Google Maps ranking. You can optimize images by adding metadata using various third-party apps. You can include these in the metadata:
- Your keywords
- Your address, and/or latitude-longitude information
- City, town, country tags
- Your products and services
Citation to local SEO is similar to backlinks or inbound links to “traditional” SEO.
There are three different types of local citations:
- Listings on major platforms like Google My Business, Yahoo! Small Business, TripAdvisor, and others
- Local directories or industry-specific directories
- Mentions from reputable press, high-quality sites, etc. (in a nutshell, backlinks)
There are two main principles in building your local citations: First, the more the better, list your business in as many directories as possible.
Second, make sure to keep consistent information across all listings,especially your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number).
As you can see, implementing Google Maps marketing is actually pretty simple once you’ve got the hang of it. By following the checklist and maintaining consistency especially in building your local citations and soliciting reviews, you will see your Google Maps listing slowly climbing up.
Generally, you should expect at least 3 to 6 months before you see your business on the top 3 results. Regularly monitor your progress, evaluate it, and keep optimizing your strategy.
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