New Google Maps Gets More Social
So as per usual, nothing boring about Google Local, always new changes. Google rolled out a new Google maps, you can see the main talking points in the video above. I think the main items SMB’s should think about based on the new Google Maps is how they are bringing in personalized search within Google Maps for users.
And I Quote: “The new Google Maps makes smart recommendations for you…the more you use it the better it gets… you will get reviews from friends and recommendations just for you.”
Smart recommendations and reviews from friends..? What this means is you need to get your customers involved with your Google+ local page. Get your customers circling your page and leaving you reviews because now when their friends and family search on Google Maps they are going to be shown activity and reviews from their friends and family first over just want is near or related to their searched item.
Google ‘gets’ that we trust our friends, family recommendations over anything else and that is what we want to see. Google is always out to please ‘searchers’ first. Below I will list some tips and highlights I think small business owners should be focused on to be able to leverage the new Google Maps in their favor.
Get Your Customers to Follow Your Google+ Business Page
Now the masses have not jumped onto Google+ yet, but Google is trying their damndest to link every user in. You can bet in the next 24 months you’ll see many more of your family and friends becoming more comfortable with the Google+ elements and hell they might even start using it like they do Facebook. Get them circling your business and leaving reviews on your Google+ business page. The more circles and reviews you have the greater reach you’ll have since Google Maps is now going to present users what their family and friends think first.
Get Lots of Great Photos on Your Website & Google+ Business Page
Notice the photo carousel sneaking in again on the new Google Maps? This knowledge graph photo carousel has been popping up everywhere in Google, but it looks like it will be deeply integrated into Google Maps & Google+ Business listing pages. Make sure you have a great photos of your business (inside and out) and why not also add photos of major attractions nearby to your website.
PRO TIP: If you optimize those major attractions photos enough they may show in Google’s photo carousel’s for your city’s knowledge graph. If not, if you have great photos add them to wikipedia and it’ll most likely get picked up for sure. Maybe watermark your photo too while you are at.
Have Lots of Different Directions on Your Website’s Contact or Locations Pages
I always tell SMB’s, ‘lets look at what Google is doing or showing to find out what is important to them, then give to them!’ This stuff ain’t brain surgery, we just need to read inbetween the lines.
Notice on the new Google Maps how they make directions and different modes of transportation important? Well, that is pretty good sign that they know users want that information and they like to see those details. So why not add those exact details to your website too?! Add directions and different routes to take to get to your business’s location – not only by car, but be sure to list directions based on public transit, walking, & biking too.
PRO TIP: This a great tip for franchisees with many locations pages who are struggling to have unique content to each location page. They should add directions for many modes of transportation (below the fold) and maybe even list other major attractions someone might want to visit while in that area of that franchisees location (or other relevant local info). Example let’s say you own a local mechanic shop, you could list all the local coffee shops or shopping destination near your shop, so your customers could do that while they wait for their vehicle to be fixed. This is useful information and gives you unique content to add to locations pages if you owned a auto mechanic’s franchise. You can also add couple of unique testimonials to those location pages and presto! You now have a solid page of content that Google will love and is completely local and relevant and useful to users.
Get your business deeply integrated into Google+ social. The web is moving towards more and more personalized search results. If you become an early adopter you’ll most likely be able to dominate your local competitors.