Looking at a maps for navigating to a shop front or to an actual end destination is still very far from how most SME businesses understand they should present themselves online to be found in the digital world. But including navigation is very much a key input to current digital advertising success in modern search. Localisation of online products and services along with guides to those services provides the momentum for high quality on demand mapping for most searchers. Finding prominence in score based Google search results has meant engaging with Maps, and at this time Google My Business Maps is the key platform in this narrowing localisation world. There are many platforms such as Google Search, Facebook and Instagram for social. Maps is also a separate platform.
Management of that Maps presence and its relevance has moved from simple to more complex as the competition for prominence in the local area real estate rises and new smart tools such as Piivot are introduced to provide the expert knowledge support so a business may, via a smartphone, update and manage Maps content and the relevant reviews whilst looking at the live results stats of these posts and reviews on the Maps platform. Bridges to other social platforms are also options but for now Maps is the opportunity.
Ownership of the digital mapping data and the operations platform has been a clear integration goal of Google with Maps for over a decade. The gradual acquisition by Google of the major competitors like Keyhole and Waze over the years has also brought some great complementary technology to Maps so when integrated into the GPS and Street View that has enabled Google to grow to be the major world player in this area. Lesser operators such as Apple, an on and off again user of Maps on its devices, is once again branching out from the Maps platform and are again going to offer its own Apple Maps solution. There are other mapping start-ups but today, it’s just Google. That is our focus.
As Maps and mobility generally makes it easier to get around and with search results, if you add in any number of grouping verticals like target search reviews, product guides and the like, these work with Maps to really help the potential customer find a business. Which business is then found first in these search results comes down to those that appear at the top on the maps along with relevant reviews, as the first appearing locations to find services, to eat and to shop. This is the start of the now necessary multi touch engagement points necessary to build a customer’s trust prior to conversion.
Search stats show in major local areas many millions of people are searching each day on Google for all kinds of products and services. Harnessing the Map platform is now becoming integral to localised searches and the use of longer tailed keywords can help your business turn these searches for your products and services into customers. Intertwined with the usual search results are the ever-present paid ads and Google My Business Maps packs that, together with these search results provide an easy access to your business Map entry. It also allows customers to post reviews, both positive and negative so that a potential balance may be displayed around a Maps entry.
To harness the Maps needs some application knowledge in how you can manage the navigation access and appear regularly as the most relevant on the Map sections. It is just not luck. A lot of that knowledge can be focussed by using products like Piivot that can optimise the submissions and add the key interactive content with reviews and work with Map entry optimisation services like JetLocal to improve relevance and expand customer reach in search.
When a customer goes digital search and looks for a service or product online, Map content, business reviews and any relevance rating may be included in the provided ranked search results. In other words, when a potential customer tries a Google based search, the results displayed may be review summaries from online business reviews on Maps and consumer ratings. Maps now play an integral part of the relevance of the results returned to the searcher and the navigation stream that started the Maps application is now taking a back seat.