Google Maps is the most widely used web mapping app in the world. According to Google itself, there are more than a billion monthly active users of its Google Maps services, with local information provided for more than 80 million places and locations.
If you have a business and you’re not advertising on Google Maps, you could be missing out. More and more people use web mapping platforms to get about and find the businesses, goods and services they need. Listing your business is free and should be one of the first things you do, but Google Map ads can give you the edge over local competitors by displaying your business more prominently and flagging up key information.
Setting Up a Google Maps Listing
Before you can advertise on Google Maps, you will need to set up a listing for your business. Setting up a Google Maps listing is relatively straightforward. First, you will need a Google Business Profile, which is free and easy to do. Just go to google.com/business and log in with your Google account – or open one with any email address. Alternatively, you can ‘claim’ a business that you verifiably own that is already shown on Google Maps.
You can then add or change details including your business name and address, operating hours, whether you are a store or service provider, contact details and more. In general, the more detail you populate your listing with, the better – Google says that customers are twice as likely to interact with businesses that share more information. You can also add photos representing your business for a more eye-catching profile.
You will also need to verify your business address, which can be done via a postcode sent to the premises, by phone, text, video call or a few other methods. Your Google Business Profile will show up in Google searches, although you might need to use paid ads or search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to rank highly in the search results. This is another great way to reach more customers and we can also help to boost your SEO to make sure you appear near the top of the page when people search for relevant terms.
Optimising Your Google Maps Ads
Building a strong Google Business Profile is important but taking out ads in Google Maps can really help you to reach people in your area. You’ve probably seen these ads in action, even if you were not fully aware of it. Like Google search ads, which show up at the top of the page (tagged as ‘Sponsored’ and placed above the top organic search results), Google Map ads are designed to be prominent when people search for a specific thing.
If you search for a bike shop on Google Maps on a desktop, for example, all the relevant businesses that have a Google profile and a physical location given will show as pins on the map. Those with Google Maps ads will also be prominently displayed in a column on the left. Similarly, on mobile, the promoted businesses will show on both the map itself and at the forefront of a viewable list. Mobile is increasingly important in every type of digital marketing but particularly for Maps, which people often access while on the go on their smartphones and other mobile devices. According to Google, almost a third of mobile searches are location-related.
Google Maps optimisation makes sure that your business shows up for the most relevant searches and that it engages the right people. Choosing the right category for your business when setting up your profile is essential, as this helps ensure that your business does show up for the right searches. The same goes for keywords that you use within your profile and ad. You can also add photos, which might show your premises, logo, the goods you offer and other eye-catching images that represent your business.
You can choose to add a link to your website as well as directions to your physical premises. Adding extra information such as opening hours, status during bank holidays and details on your products and services.
Benefits of Advertising on Google Maps
Google has not released precise figures regarding how many people use its Google Maps platform but that billion-plus headline number suggests that a huge proportion of a developed country like the UK regularly does so. There are rivals like Apple Maps of course, but Google is still the market leader in web mapping, just as it is in search engines. Advertising on Google Maps has the potential to greatly increase the visibility of your business, especially on a local level. It can be more effective than banner or search ads at this local level as it is largely location-based.
You can engage with viewers and visitors, encouraging them to visit your website, ‘foot traffic’ to your physical premises or both. You can also easily target Google Maps ads for specific keywords, enabling you to better target your chosen demographic. Google Maps advertising is also generally a cost-effective digital marketing option. As with other pay-per-click models, you only pay when somebody actually clicks on your ad.
Finally, Google comes with great built-in analytics allowing you to monitor the success of your ads and change them accordingly.
Best Practices for Google Maps Advertising
There are a number of things you can do to make the most of your Google Maps business profile and ads. Make sure your Google Business Profile is well-designed with strong, relevant keywords and the most relevant category. Pictures can help draw and hold attention and they can help to list the services or show stock items and promotions. It is generally a good idea to respond to reviews on your profile, as consumers increasingly use these as a guide to the quality of a business.
Google Maps is a great resource for businesses looking to tap into the local market and advertising on Google Maps can really give you the edge over your competitors. To learn more about local SEO and how to advertise on Google Maps, call today on 0151 652 4777.
Posted on Friday, March 24th, 2023 in Digital Marketing.