Love it or hate it, Google is a powerful beast. According to Netmarketshare, it’s the home of 79.71% of searches on desktops and 91.33% of searches on mobile devices.
Its grip on the maps market is equally powerful, with the Google Maps API claiming a 93.52% share. According to comScore’s 2016 US Mobile App Report, Google Maps stole Google Search app’s fourth place on the unique visitors leaderboard, with over 95 million users.
This means that unless you’re an online-only business, you can’t afford to ignore it.
Be There or Be Square
Studies show that people take more notice of where your business appears on Google Maps than they do of the ads that pop up – and that increasingly, mobile devices are being used to search on the move for local businesses such as restaurants. In 2016, Google found that 30% of mobile searches are related to location. You need to make sure your business is found!
You can now control all your business interactions with Google through Google My Business (if you previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages Dashboard to manage your business information, your account will have been automatically upgraded to Google My Business).
My Business allows you to manage your business listing and maps entry, display photos, receive and respond to views, analyse customer interactions and even set up a simple website. Make a change – and that change is reflected in your search and maps listing. There’s also a new Q&A feature that allows customers to ask questions about your business, products, events or services and allows you to post FAQs and answers, too.
- You’ll need to verify your business and new listing using a pin Google will send you
- Add colourful photos of products, premises or staff. Try to feature things that make your business unique.
- Make sure the information you provide on your business is accurate, detailed and concise.
- Keep information updated – holiday hours, changes to opening hours, email addresses, phone numbers etc.
- Choose your business category carefully, as Google will use this to classify your business
- Remember that people can instantly see the reviews for your business, so make the effort to respond to as many as you can. Think carefully about how you respond to negative reviews.
- If a customer asks a question on your listing, answer it swiftly. Chances are that they’re local right now – if you don’t tell them that yes, you can supply a gluten-free pizza or yes, you do have an extensive collection of second-hand Agatha Christies, they may go elsewhere.
- If a user hits the “next” button for more results (or continues scrolling down (on a mobile device), Google Maps may zoom out and show popular results in a larger geographical area. To ensure you’re not left out, bear in mind Google seems to take more notice of third-party interactions when ranking businesses in the results. Get your business mentioned and reviewed elsewhere online as much as possible.
If you’re not already using Google My Business with Google Maps, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help!