Let’s Create a Google Maps Marketing Strategy That Dominates Local Results
The time has come for you to begin your Google Maps marketing. With over a billion active users looking for addresses or directions on their devices, Google Maps is one of the most successful Google products. Now is the time to focus on your local marketing so your facility isn’t sitting by idly as your competitors fill their beds.
Today we will look at how you can take advantage of this new era of local search and how you can take your communities marketing to the next level.
What is Google Maps?
Before diving in, let’s first review the basics of Google Maps. This is a way for prospects to view your community online. It offers the following:
- Satellite imagery
- Street maps
- Panoramic views of the streets
- Real-time traffic conditions
- Directions to your office via car, walking, bicycle or public transportation
Google Maps is also a way for people to gain further information about your facility. The physical location of your building can also be edited and updated whenever changes might occur to maintain up-to-date accurate information.
There is also a “Local Pack” section that appears in Google results when a user introduces a local query, such as “senior living near me” or “Senior care in Chicago.” If a local query is used, Google will use your device location to find places nearby. This will include your facility if it is close to the user’s device. The local pack will appear right after the traditional paid for ads, but will come before the organic results. This is particularly important because it is a great shortcut to get your facility to appear at the top of the search results.
And lastly, it is important to note that Google My Business is a free platform created by Google that allows businesses to manage their physical locations. As the owner of your facility, you can claim your location, edit the details and upload any images that will appear in Google Maps, Google+ or in Google Search Results.
What is Google Maps Marketing?
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s look at defining Google Maps Marketing. It is defined as a combination of all the tools and resources available for a company to optimize their presence in Google Maps. This isn’t just a way to appear as high as possible in the Maps results. Instead, it is the opportunity to provide the best experience for prospects and to improve their engagement with your community.
Having a local SEO and Google Map Marketing Strategy is key to improving visits to your website, but also for lead generation, number of phone calls and visits to your physical location. There are seven key factors to consider for your Google Maps Marketing Strategy, which we will now explore.
Proximity is one of the most important elements when it comes to appearing in Google Maps. If your facility isn’t close to Chicago, don’t expect to appear in any search for “best senior care in Chicago” or “senior living in Chicago.” While it might seem obvious, some facilities want to appear in results for areas where they are not located. You might try to add in landing pages to target those areas, but it won’t work because Google Maps is looking for exact locations. While this process might impact organic results, most people are searching for locations nearby. As mentioned in a 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, the proximity of address to the point of search is the top ranking factor.
Google My Business
Being close to the point of search is the top ranking factor, but Google will also consider your profile. Fill out your Google My Business profile to provide Google with the information it needs to display the correct data in your listing. If your phone number or address is wrong, then you could be losing valuable leads for potential patients. Google continues to make advances in how it collects business information, but claiming, verifying and updating your listing is always a good idea—it should be one of the main elements in your strategy.
Citations and Links
Consistency of citations and the quality of inbound links is also important. Links are a common player in SEO because high quality links that point to your website will help to improve your chances of appearing higher in Google Maps. But when it comes to citations, mentioning your name, address and phone in different websites will give Google even more information about your actual location. In return, this will strengthen the possibilities to appear for the right queries.
If you want to appear higher in the Google Maps results, you need to consider the number and ratings of your reviews, especially Google reviews. It’s that simple. The more reviews and the higher your rating, the better your results will be. Previously you needed five reviews to have a star rating appear next to your name in Google Maps, but now all it takes is one review. What are you waiting for? Get out there and get those reviews!
On Page Optimization
Your website is also another key element that should never be overlooked if you want your local strategy to succeed. First, make sure your website has all of the necessary elements, such as:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Opening hours
Including a map that features your site location using an embedded Google Map with a marker on your address is also important. You should also include a step-by-step guide on how to get to your facility using different mediums such as walking, driving or public transportation.
Google Maps Images
Google My Business also allows you to add images to your listing that will appear in Google Maps and Google+. Upload images that show the interior and exterior of your facility, your staff or care team, the community atmosphere and even identity images such as your logo. One thing to consider is that Google will use images taken from Google Street View to show the exterior of your facility instead of the images you have uploaded.
Ads on Google Maps
If you are using Google AdWords to manage PPC ads, you can also promote your community in Google Maps. These ads will appear before the rest of the organic listings on the left side of the screen and will look different from the rest of the listings because they appear with a purple pin instead of a normal red one. The Ad label appearing next to the rating will also use the same purple color. The use of Ads in Google Maps can help to differentiate your facility from your competitors.
Now you should have working knowledge of what you need to do to create a Google Maps Marketing Strategy. To recap, this is what you will need to do:
- Claim your business listing with Google My Business
- Update your facility information
- Encourage residents and their families to leave reviews of your community
- Build links and citations to enhance SEO
- Optimize your own website with your localized information
- Upload high quality images to Google My Business
- Consider Ads on Google Maps
Remember, always be proactive and keep an eye on your Google My Business Insights. In doing so, you can identify any gaps in your strategy and improve your listings.
If this is all still a little bit confusing and you need extra help, do not hesitate to contact us. Working with a qualified company can make all the difference and we’re here to help.