Grow your business by making sure potential customers can find you with Google Maps and Local Guides – two great resources by Google.
Google My Business is the obvious pick to help grow your business when getting listed with Google but there are a variety of other lists that Google offers. You could pick one or try them all! Each one helps in improving your presence online and SEO. Especially with Google (obviously). Like AdWords and analytics it is about being able to be easily seen by customers who are looking for what you are offering.
The differences between these sites are not exactly clear. Google My Business? Local Guides? Maps? Google My Business is the newer one of the lot, encompassing functionality of Google Places/Maps/Local+ and more. There seems to be a bit of cross-over in the options and you certainly want to pick the right one to put energy into. This article will add some clarity to the murkiness and help you know which options will help your business grow best.
Google Maps Helps Grow Your Business
More likely than not your business already shows up on Google Maps. On the off chance you are not or that your info may not be verified, it is worth taking a peak right now. We’ll wait. Having your company’s info on Maps up to date and matching your website and other listings makes for a better search. Maps is very much about connecting searchers to the correct location, knowing what it looks like, a point of contact and how to get a potential customer through your door.
A common mistake that happens in maps for small businesses is that personal information may appear. This depends on the account, phone and address you use for your business. Also, if you see info that may seem wrong for a business that is not yours you can suggest an edit. Help the community out.
We found a great article describing how to enhance your listing a bit more on Google Maps.
How to add your business to Google Maps:
- Sign-in to Google Maps
- Find on map your business location
- Click Send Feedback
- Click Add a missing place
- Drag the marker then add up-to-date information
How to claim your business on Google Maps:
- Open Google Maps
- Search for your biz
- Are you the business owner?
- You will be lead to Google My Business to verify
Claim your business on Google Maps on mobile:
- Open Maps app
- Search for your biz
- Touch More Info on bottom left
- Touch Claim this Business
What About Google+ Local?
Here is one that has gone through a few iterations. There previously was Google+ Local, which was, well, a Google+ for local businesses. It had reviews, business details, maps, photos, info and app integration. But Google+ Local got the boot due to Google+ supposed to be for interest and communities rather than businesses. The differentiation wasn’t clear enough, so business wanted a better way to display as a business. Google+ users wanted businesses to be separate from their Google+ interest and social networks. Searchers also found most of the info they needed about a business from search results anyway. So if you hear whisperings of Google+ Local, don’t worry. It is now part of Google My Business.
Things are always changing. Part of being successful is being comfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen.
Google Local Guides Can Help Grow Your Business
One of the newest listings and directory systems that Google has rolled out is Local Guides. They took elements of both the Google+ Local platform and Google Maps, creating a social directory environment by and for its users. Google notifies and tracks user locations then encourages customers to leave a review, share a photo, or answer some questions on a location they are at or had visited during the day. IT is crowdsources contributions to fill in the blanks or enhance current information in Google’s directory.
By contributing one can become a Local Guide. Then the guide get perks and rewards for their efforts. Google has lightly incentivized, crowd sourced or made a game of providing information. Guides can even get Badges for certain levels of points. Local Guide points can result in free Google Play subscriptions, early access to Google products and features, hotel points, more storage points on Google Drive and even meet-ups with other Local Guides. Google’s Local Guides program has grown to more than 30 million members in the three years since its inception. This is about creating a community around the things we already do.
You can’t expect to just write and have new visitors come to you- that’s too passive
Encourage your customers to take part in the Local Guide program and leave reviews, answer questions and get involved. This is a relatively young resource so you’ve got an opportunity to lead locally and make sure Google has the best information about you (before your competitors catch up).
Use Google Listings To Grow Your Business
Obviously Google doesn’t quite get their platforms right the first time, but it’s great that they are striving to provide even ground for small businesses to promote themselves. We especially like that these tools enhance SEO and AdWords. Oh and these listings are free as well. Google My Business seems to have found good footing with an easy to digest platform, after having gone through Places and +Local. It is really about keeping balance between business and social while also getting them to interact. At least when it comes to AdWords and Analytics Teacup can help you find more customers to interact without having to navigate through some of the confusion of Google.