Local advertising and marketing through Google Maps is absolutely going to be the next big thing for business owners. There are several updates in the works that are going to change user experience and optimize local Google Maps searches so local businesses can be discovered and visited more easily.Depositphotos_39330025_m-2015
Put simply, the reason that this series of updates is incredibly valuable is because it improves the experience of Google Maps for both the user and the business owner. The business owner is going to be able to advertise and market more directly to local customers, and users are going to have a much easier time finding the businesses and deals in a given area.
In this way, both physical and website traffic is bound to increase at your storefront, but only if you take note of these updates and make the necessary strides to get involved with the updates ASAP.
In response to the increase in local searches, there are three updates that are going to be making a big impact on user/business experience with Google Maps. Consequently, there are also three ways that you can take advantage of these updates to best serve your business.
#1 Utilize Promoted Pins to Advertise Location & Rank First
One of the newest features for local search advertisement is the promoted pin. Promoted pins are advertisements tied to your pin location and are intended to increase store business. Google developed these features in response to the increase of local searches, which have grown 50% more than any other kind of mobile searches.
Promoted pins utilize a company’s logo to mark it on the map. The company’s logo will only occur if the business decides to buy ad space, but will occur on the physical location as soon as the user does a search. These promoted pins are meant to blend well with the existing regular pins and be streamlined with the existing platform (Google doesn’t want them to be an eyesore).
Another bonus of promoted pins is they are marked by a purple pin, instead of a red pin. They will also be the first spot in the organic search results on the app.
You might be wondering what happens if there is a lot of competition for this spot, but Google has made it so that only two can actually rank in this position in a local search. This means it will not only be a highly prized position, but it will also gain more user attention.
To get started with Promoted Pins, you have to be eligible and you can check to make sure you meet Google criteria by doing the following:
Enable location extensions for AdWords
Update your Google My Business listing
Target a location / address and increase bids for locations near your business
Target keywords that relate to your location and what people look up in your area
Once you meet Google’s eligibility criteria, you can start thinking about ad payment.
Payment is ultimately the same principle behind standard AdWords PPC. If someone interacts with your ad, you pay for it.
#2 Create a Business Page to Show What You Have to Offer
Promoted pin advertisers will have the opportunity to create and develop customizable business pages. This will give you the chance to provide even more information about store inventory, specials you are running, or other details that are intended to drive business to your store front. These pages will, of course, feature the standard information such as business contact information, but they will also be a way for customers to do things like search store inventory. This is super convenient for users, who can avoid a wasted trip if you don’t have the item in stock.
You can think of a business page as a sort of landing page. You should test the page to make sure it is optimized (learn more here), and link back to this page in your writing. It isn’t something you just have in case someone clicks on it when searching for a business on Google–you want to drive people to this page! With the way mobile is growing, this could become one of your most important web pages.
Learn more about business page optimization here.
#3 Local Search Ads for the Win
Local extensions in AdWords currently allow advertisers to target local populations most likely to be interested in their business. The positive thing about these local search ads is they are apparent on both mobile and desktop. In fact, the actual Google Maps app has over 1 billion downloads—meaning that this is by-far one of the most (if not THE most) significant platform for local advertising. This is huge success for an app and many people use Google Maps daily to get directions and to find local businesses.
Keep in mind, by being a local advertiser; you have a good chance of ranking within the first two results on a relevant search. This makes local advertising extremely effective, if for nothing else to be one of the highest ranking results on a relevant local search.
Google local searches are not fully implemented yet, but these three aspects are something to have on your radar. Get started setting yourself up on Google My Business so you are optimized for local searches so you can begin to advertise just as soon as the feature is released in full. I definitely think since this is a PPC platform, you can feel confident that these local search features are going to be beneficial for advertising and driving business to your doorstep.