Google Maps Is the Ruling Local Search Tool
Google is the Big Cheese. The Kahuna. The Sultan of Swat. (Okay, so that last one is Babe Ruth, not Google.) But did you know that Google Maps, in particular, might be the reigning Titan of Terror? Many clicks are shifting away from WWW sites and traditional SERP listings in favor of Google Maps.
We’ve been tracking this shift in our clients’ monthly analyses.
Engagement with Google business listings (GMB) continues to show growth YoY, including a record number of calls, direction requests, and clicks to clients’ websites from GMB. Map views and discovery searches are also at all-time high levels.
Survey confirms Google Maps preference
A new survey* found that 77% of respondents use Google Maps to find “near me” business information before they turn to other sites. After Google Maps, users turn to Facebook (38%) and Yelp (35%).
The survey also found that the majority of people (81%) use their smartphones for “near me” searches—no surprise there.
What’s interesting, however, is that people aren’t searching on their phones when they’re “on the go!” Most local searches are happening while people are at home (59%). Among those who performed local searches at home, 54% said they would go to the business either right away or on the same day, and 46% said they would visit the business within the next few days.
What’s the big deal?
Online research still results in offline purchases—it’s just difficult to track. (Google’s latest patent aims to track AND increase offline purchases. Check it out if you’re ready to get a little creeped out.)
The best way to secure your spot in Google’s Map Pack is a threefold approach.
- Claim your Google My Business listings and ensure the data (name, address, phone number, hours, latitude and longitude, etc.) are accurate. This isn’t a “one and done” thing. You will need to manually triage and correct listing information on an ongoing basis.
- Create local content pages for every business location and geographic area your company serves.
- Link your local content to your Google My Business listings.
This last step is especially important. It closes the loop for Google and shows the search engine exactly who you are, where you do business, and what you sell/do.
You can also further optimize your Google Maps listing by adding images, getting reviews, and optimizing your business description.
Reach out to GPO for help improving your presence in Google Maps or closing the loop on your local search presence. The Titan of Terror isn’t going anywhere. 😉
*The survey included a little over 1,000 responses from U.S. adults; 53% female; 47% under the age of 45.