The ultimate guide to Google Maps Advertising
With so many different and innovative approaches to digital marketing efforts, it can be difficult to cover all your bases, especially with a limited budget. One of the examples that often escapes marketers is the effectiveness of Google Maps marketing, and just how powerful it can be. Whether you are using the location extension on Google’s local search ads or boosting organic rankings of your business on Google Maps, both approaches have their benefits. In this article, we cover the appeal of using Google Maps as both an SEO and PPC marketing solution for your business and how best to do so. We will also analyze the benefits and metrics involved, all to help you prepare for optimizing your website for Google Maps advertising.
What is Google Maps Advertising?
- By simple definition, Google Maps marketing/advertising is a way to boost the online presence of your business with the use of Google Maps.
As a marketing tool, Google Maps can help your target audience discover your business more easily. Although popular among large businesses, Google maps advertising can also be very useful when focusing on local SEO efforts for businesses. If you want to establish a strong brand image and online authority, you need to use all the resources at your disposal. And with the use of Google Maps, you can move beyond simply boosting visibility and also position your business on organic search results as well as local search ads.
Google Maps SEO vs. Google Local Search Ads
Business owners want to find as many time-efficient and cost-effective ways to promote their business. And with the constant advancements in digital marketing technologies, this is very much possible. However, it is also a daunting task to choose the best channels for advertising your business, especially when you have a limited budget. Will you be opting for paid advertising or SEO? Will you hire a professional agency or in-house specialists? Are you more interested in organic leads or paid clicks? These are just a few questions that business owners ask when planning their approach to promote their business on Google Maps. And this brings us to the two Google Maps advertising directions that you can follow:
- Rank your business organically through Google Maps SEO. Using Google My Business (GMB) to create a listing for your business and then optimize your website for ranking in the top three local search queries on Google search results.
- Invest in Google’s local search ads and location extensions. Based on Google’s CPC (Cost Per Click) model, this is your typical bidding war based on the location and niche of your company.
What makes Google Maps SEO so important?
Google Maps advertising extends to three general ways in which people come to discover local businesses:
- Engaging and quality content. This extends to web page content, blog articles, social media posts, email marketing campaigns, etc.
- Google search results and Google Maps, combined with user reviews and ratings on platforms such as Yelp, BBB, TripAdvisor, etc.
- Paid Ads. Through the use of location extensions and bidding for local keywords, which can be effective when done right.
When you opt for chasing after the top 3 results on Google Maps, you gain three essential benefits:
- Boosting brand awareness. Top Google Maps rankings link directly to Google My Business Listings (GMB), giving customers basic details about your business (photos, working hours, address, products, etc.)
- A growing number of leads. Users can use the “Call” button to directly contact your business, without even having to visit your website.
- More on-site customers. Users can get directions directly from the search results on Google Maps, making it simpler for them to find your company.
What are the three main ranking factors for Google Maps organic ranking?
Optimization for Google Maps advertising requires experience and knowledge. SEO agencies possess the experience necessary to prepare for boosting rankings. According to Google support guidelines, there are three fundamental metrics that can influence local rankings on Google Maps:
The overall relevance of your website in answering the queries of your target audience makes all the difference. The relevance of your website is determined based on the information on your GMB listing. Consider the keywords you use in the business title, the description of your business, the verification of the listing, reviews, etc.
Distance plays a crucial role in the organic rankings for your Google Maps advertising efforts. For example, if you are looking for a realtor and there are two or more of them, the one closest to your IP address will be higher ranked on your search results. Although this is not something you can influence, it is essential to provide precise information about your business location.
Prominence determines how well a business matches with Google’s algorithm. This is why realtors with more experience and standing are better ranked on Google Maps than those that are fairly new to the game. There are several metrics that can influence the prominence of a business:
- Content related to your business
- Backlinks linking back to your website (since your website URL is included in your Google My Business listing)
- Online mentions of your business’s NAP (Name, Address, Information).
- Positive testimonials on Google Maps and other review sites
- Social media mentions and engagements
Start by claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing
In the past, we covered the topic of how Google My Business (GMB) helps local businesses build their brand awareness. And this first step also applies here. Hence, you need to start by making sure that your company has a GMB listing account for your business. Older businesses can claim existing GMB listings, so you need to start by making sure whether or not you have it. There is also a chance for other businesses to claim your business listings. However, this is something that you can solve by requesting Google to return ownership to you.
Website optimization for Google Maps
Once you resolve the matter of GMB listings, the next logical step is to optimize your business website for Google Maps. There are two ways in which you can tackle this task – on-page and off-page. Consider the following steps:
1. On-page SEO
GMB listings require your website content to match its standards. There are two important ways to ensure the on-page optimization process:
- An internal linking strategy. Including links to your GMB listing in the content you create on your website.
- Embedded Google Maps on your website. Having a Google Map on your homepage or inner pages can direct users directly to the listings and reviews.
2. Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO efforts revert to gaining value from routing traffic from other websites to your GMB business listing. There are two important ways to ensure the off-page optimization process:
- A backlink strategy. Including links to your GMB listing in the content you create on other websites.
- Embedded Google Maps on other websites. Having a Google Map on authority sites with your business blogs can direct users directly to the listings and reviews.
What are Google’s local search ads?
- Local search ads are Google’s way to enable businesses to stand out on local results with the use of location extensions in their Google Ads.
That way, when someone does a ‘near me’ search for a particular type of business, the paid ads will include Google Maps advertising with a location, phone number, working hours, reviews, etc. Whether or not the local search ad will show depends on your:
- Business location
- Quality and quantity of reviews
- Responsiveness to customer inquiries
- Business hours
Unlike other digital marketing strategies on Google, local search ads are directly tied to your weekly budget and the amount of resource you want to invest in them.
What are location extensions?
Location extensions are add-ons for your Google Ads campaigns – ones that can showcase your address, location on Google Maps, or distance to your business. These extensions are useful for two reasons:
- They are good visual clickbait, as users can be more attracted to your business if they see an actual location or how nearby your location is to them. They can then tap the extension to get more information about your business and trigger a call directly from the ad.
- You get more real estate for your ad, as the extension takes up space. This makes it harder for people to ignore the ad and scroll past it.
*For instructions on how to set up location extensions in your Google Ads account, go to “Use location extensions”. You can remove location extensions at any time. To learn how to do it, simply go to”Remove location extensions”.
7 advantages of Google local search ads
With local search ads, your company gains several benefits, including these seven:
#1: Receive more calls from potential customers
Google Maps advertising is a great visual call to action for online users. Thanks to the use of GMB listings, location extensions, and the call extension on Google Ads, your phone number can be directly linked to your local search ad. With this feature, you give customers the option to reach out directly to your business and inquire about your products/services.
#2: Build more trust with consumers
With so many fake/fraudulent companies today, it can be daunting to avoid getting scammed when searching for a product or service. And consumers are less trustful as a result of this. However, local search ads can help legitimate businesses establish trust with potential customers from the very start. By seeing your actual location and reviews, people will be more willing to reach out to your business.
#3: Generate more store traffic
Popular online studies show that 75% of people who search for something nearby to their location end up visiting the store or establishment within a day. These are some great statistics for business owners and marketers to see, but how can they take advantage of this kind of local traffic? Local Search Ads on Google Maps may be the answer, both for websites that are otherwise struggling to gain visibility through Google Maps advertising strategies. This also applies to all those businesses that are doing well but want even more exposure.
Google Ads location targeting is simply a great visual way to gain more exposure through PPC advertising. And this can ultimately lead to more on-site visits and in-store purchases.
#4: Provide consumers with more information
Your everyday local search ads include the basic information that leads customers to contact you directly or visit your website. However, sometimes users need more information about your business or the products/services you offer. With location extensions, they can gain instant access to photos, read reviews, explore your blog, and more.
#5: Get ahead of voice search
The rise of voice-assisted technology has been very prominent over recent years. Many households own at least one voice-enabled device, such as Google Home or Google Assist. That’s why more than 20 percent of searches are voice searches. Since Google search ads display at the top of search results, the first thing a voice-assisted device will give you is a local result for your query. So, by investing in local search ads, you can be the first business mentioned when a user searches for your services.
#6: Showcase positive reviews and ratings
When trying to earn the trust of new consumers, it can be a bit challenging. Thanks to local search ads, you can showcase your ratings. These ratings increase brand trust and allow users to read through past reviews to understand what it’s like to work with your business.
That can have an immense impact on your bottom line, as 80 percent of consumers say that online reviews have changed their mind about a purchase. Your ratings can encourage locals to visit your restaurant, call your team for service, or take another action that supports your business.
#7: Get your ads on the Google Maps app
As the number of mobile device users continues to grow, so does the need for responsive design and marketing. And as more people rely on Google Maps for getting instant information while in transit, the potential of having local search ads makes all the more sense. When you have your paid ads popping up on the Google Maps app, you are able to tap into an entire pool of potential customers that rely on the information they get off mobile phones while driving or traveling.
Google Maps marketing has the potential to help your business expand its reach
According to Google, nearly one-third of all searches are related to location, and these location-related searches have been growing 50% faster than mobile searches overall in the past year. In other words, it is more common for people to include geography as part of their search query than to search for terms without a city or place.
Start planning your Google Maps advertising strategy with the assistance of Digital Dot. Our team has the knowledge and resources to provide you with a tailored plan of action, whether you are aiming for organic rankings on Google Maps or paid advertising on Google Maps. Contact our team today to consult further on the aspect of placing your brand on Google Maps search results.