When you search for something using Google you see “search results”, and often, right at the top, you see what SEO people call “The Map Pack”. Essentially a list of businesses with their address, phone numbers, star ratings, and some other stuff.
Getting this right can be pivotal for some clients, and completely unnecessary for others, knowing what to decide for your brand can take under a minute. Read the below, and find out what suits you.
Topic number SIX:
google Maps, & Local Search
If you take your phone and open Chrome, and type in something like “Coffee near me” or “Hotel in London” you are almost certainly going to see a list of results catered to what we call “Local Search”. See the two screengrabs I paste in lower down. These results are important because of where they appear (typically first, sometimes after ads, generally above all organic search results), and also because at times folks can see what they need, and then just go to that place – ie. the coffee shop 200m from them.
For some brands I have worked with – probably over 80% of past clients – I have taken the time to optimise their ‘Local Search’ results, and I do that by tackling the most vital Map Pack optimisations, and often leave it at that. There are some bonus things I go after – sneaky tricks, like driving directions almost no-one even thinks of – but it would need to be justified by the industry, and their clientele.
Two worked examples, exhibit A+B
The first image here is of a local search for a plumber, showing a map close to where I was searching (must have been in my old Woodstock office, this day). The top result you see (an ad) seems super unappealing to click on as it seems noisy, messy, and visually not that cool. But, it certainly will get a lot of traffic, while they have the budget to apepar first. Then, we get a map, which if you click, typically nagivates you away to a full-screen map full of results you can click on. In certain scenarios, it may even make you change apps (if you’re on a phone) and open Google Maps.
What we’re more interested in today is the rest, as I gauge that most folks click on one of the business names thereafter. Yes, you can sort by a Rating, or Hours, or other features, busy internet users are lazy, let’s be honest. My view – for almost every client – goes like this:
- Make sure you even feature by getting things set up correctly. I wrote about that in this feature.
- Have at least ten Google reviews.
- Work at trying to be in the top three results, with the most reviews, and see how you fare twice a year.
Other than that, there isn’t much to it, unless you get into niches, within Google Map Results. The Hotel or Accommodation industry is one of these, where the game levels up a tad, and it can get far harder to rank. Down the line I’ll develop some content solely on that niche, as I’ve had to spend a fair bit of time solving it for a tourism client here in Cape Town. However, Google has seen so much flux in the past 18 months that I am waiting for things to settle first.
The second image is interesting, as it’s different, but also branches out into a whole new sphere of “optimising a client for Google My Business”. This is called: ‘Google Travel‘, and within that you can do your DD (Due Diligence) to make sure your hotel is going to appear well here. I spent months helping a local client try and achieve this, and they consistently failed to apply the key things as they (I assume) saw them as trivial. Things like having a decent contact page with your exact address, updating that same address (and phone numbers, website url, etc) across the net by simply updating them on directories, and other places. It’s all so menial and boring, so why would it matter? Who knows, but it does.
Do what Google asks you to, and they reward you. Have the patience to see it play out and you might be surprised how much it can change your business through the many extra enquiries. Find it tiresome yourself? Then reach out for my help, or at very least, step by step guide on how to achieve success.
If you would like to see similar results and grow both your visitor numbers and conversions, then please do get in touch.