Google Maps Marketing: Lowest Hanging Fruit for Local Businesses
In this article, we explain what Google Maps Marketing is, why it’s important, and if your business can benefit from it.
After that, we show you how to set it up, and the exact steps you need to take to increase your Google Maps rank.
This report is broken down into 7 sections:
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is the strategy for appearing and improving your Google Maps rank.
For a lot of businesses, Google Maps can account for a significant number of customers.
Best of all, it’s fairly simple to implement compared to other marketing strategies.
If you run a local business, you definitely want to use Google Maps to your advantage.
Why Is Google Maps Marketing Important?
A couple years ago, Google released a report on local search behavior.
Below are the main takeaways:
- 80% of customers use search engines for local search
- 34% of users that search for local business on their computer/tablet visit store within 24 hours
- 50% of users that search for local business on mobile visit store within 24 hours
- 18% of local mobile searches led to purchase within 24 hours
- Almost three times higher than non-local search (7%)
As you can see, there are a lot of customers searching for local businesses, and they have high purchase intent.
For any local business, this should be an important reason to consider Google Maps marketing.
Can My Business Benefit From Google Maps Marketing?
Almost all local businesses can benefit from Google Maps marketing.
To check for yourself, head over to Google and brainstorm the ways people search for your business.
Here are some examples for a lawyer:
- “Lawyer Lakeland”
- “Lawyer Near Me”
- “Family Lawyer”
When you search all those queries, Google Maps shows up high on the page.
When you search for your own business, if a Google Map shows up high on the page, you definitely want your business to appear there.
How to Setup Your Google My Business Listing
The actual setup for Google Maps happens through Google My Business (GMB). GMB allows you to create a business listing on Google which appears on Google Maps. It’s also through Google My Business that you can modify your listing to increase your rank. We’ll go into optimization details in the next section but for now we’ll just get started with the setup.
This should be pretty straightforward, just insert the name of your business. If you’ve been in business for a while, you should check if you already have a listing.
This can happen if previous customers left reviews or comments about your business which automatically creates a listing. To check, type your business name into Google and see if a listing shows up on the right side.
For most businesses this won’t be the case but it’s good to check.
The next section will ask you if you want to add a location for your office or store. If you have a store or office, click yes and fill out your address.
If your business doesn’t have a store or office, click no and enter your service areas. Here, you can choose one or multiple locations where your business operates.
Next, you want to select the main category for your business.
In this example, we’re setting up an account for a commercial cleaning company. Follow the next steps in context of your own business.
To narrow down the categories, we type the word “clean”, and then select the most relevant option, “commercial cleaning services”.
For some businesses this will be simple, for others it may take some time to pick out the most appropriate option.
Either way, make sure you pick the right category for your business so you show up for the most relevant searches.
This area is also very straightforward. Insert a phone number so customers can get in contact with you. If you have a website, connect that as well. The more ways customers can contact you the better.
To verify your listing, Google will send you a confirmation code through the mail. If you have a store or office, put your store or office address. If you don’t have a store or office, insert your home address.
Within five days, the code will arrive, and you can activate your listing.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Once your Google My Business listing is setup, it’s time to rank higher on Google Maps. There are multiple factors that affect Google Maps rank, but there are a few that are more influential than others. Below, we cover the six most important factors for local businesses:
Earlier, we selected your primary category. Picking the most appropriate category for your business is an important ranking factor and is worth mentioning again.
To take it one step further, you can also add secondary categories for additional services your business offers.
As an example, at Online Otter our primary category is “website designer”, and secondary category is “internet marketing services”.
If you have additional services, filling out a few secondary categories can help you show up in front of more potential customers.
A keyword let’s Google know you think a specific word is important. For a lot of companies your main keywords are your products or services.
For Online Otter, our primary service is “Web Design”, and our secondary service is “Digital Marketing”. Both of those are keywords and it lets Google know those are the most important areas for my business.
Naturally integrating keywords in your Google My Business listing can help you rank higher. Below is an example of our title on Google My Business:
- “Online Otter – Lakeland Web Design & Digital Marketing”
Another keyword for local businesses is the city or location you’re in. Including your location organically in your title gives you an even better chance to rank higher.
As you can see in the previous example, we’re not only using the keywords “Web Design” and “Digital Marketing”, we’re also using the location keyword “Lakeland”.
- “Online Otter – Lakeland Web Design & Digital Marketing”
Review quantity is another easy area to tap into for local businesses. If your service is top notch, customers shouldn’t have problems leaving you a review.
All you have to do is ask, and make it as easy for them as possible. To make it easy, reduce the number of steps it takes for your customers to leave a review.
The best way to do that is to send them a link to your review page so they don’t have to waste any time. In order to get a link to your review page, follow these steps:
- Look for your listing on google maps
- Click on “write review”
- Copy the link on the top of the page
Now that you have your link, you’ll be able to efficiently get reviews from customers.
When customers write reviews, Google takes special notice when they use your keywords.
For example, a good review may look like this:
- “Online Otter was really helpful. We can’t wait to continue working with them!”
An even better one will look like this:
- “Online Otter really helped us out with web design. We can’t wait to continue working with them!
When customers use your keywords in their reviews, it is a strong indicator for Google.
Lastly, you always want to make sure your reviews are high quality. The best way to do that is to always provide exceptional service. Marketing doesn’t work without a quality business at the core.
If you’re getting bad reviews on a consistent basis, see what the negative feedback is and start working on a solution.
If you’re getting bad reviews every now and then, that’s ok. Sometimes mistakes happen, sometimes angry customers happen, either way, a few bad reviews won’t sink your ship.
In fact, you can still use bad reviews to strengthen your brand identity. Potential customers will look at how you respond to negative reviews when they evaluate your business.
When you respond, be courteous, genuine, and respond quickly. With this combination, you will more effectively resolve customer complaints, and show business integrity to potential customers.
Google My Business Finishing Touches
To really set yourself apart, we cover four more tactics that will help you complete your listing. Google loves complete profiles and will rank you higher for your efforts. Below are the main areas you should focus on:
Google My Business Description
To get to the description section, go to the info tab and click on description. In your description, you can briefly let customers know about your services and business. It’s a good practice to sprinkle your main services and location into your description.
As an example, this image shows the description for Online Otter. As you can see, I mentioned my location, Lakeland, and my main services, web design and digital marketing.
Naturally integrating your location and services is a very effective way to optimize your business description.
Google My Business Photos/Videos
Having more photos and videos than your competition is an easy win for local businesses. Go to the photos section in your listing and start uploading content.
First, focus on your logo and cover photo. When that’s done, upload team photos, and photos of your team at work. After that, upload a business video or start creating a business video if you don’t have one.
You should aim to have twice the number of photos as your competitors, this will ensure a higher rank on Google Maps.
Google My Business Attributes
Attributes allow you to show more descriptive information to potential customers. Depending on your business category, different attributes will be available.
To find out what options are available for your particular business, head over to the info section and click on attributes. Fill out all the attributes that apply to your business.
Google wants to give customers as much helpful information as possible, and completing attributes helps achieve that goal.
Google My Business Posts
Lastly, you want to utilize Google My Business posts. You can use posts to promote events, products, and offers. You can also use posts to share anything in general that’s new with your business.
Posts will show up on your listing and can be used as free advertisements. Since posts are relatively new, there’s a lot of upside for local businesses that act now.
Google Maps Marketing Overview
All these techniques are the starting point for a successful local campaign, but to maintain that success you need to actively manage your listing. Continue requesting reviews and adding new content to your listing and you will see your ranking continue to improve.
If you’re a business owner and you finished this article, you should feel proud and confident. You should feel proud that you learned a practical strategy that will help your business, and you should feel confident that your business will grow through implementing these strategies.
The tools are in your hand, now it’s time to get to work.