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Google map optimisation

Tapping the local search market

Traditionally people referred to the yellow pages when seeking information on local businesses and their services. Google offers all this and more on its local listing and maps service. This is yet another example of Google launching a service that increases its marketing reach even further by offering users a ‘friendly convenience of local business content.

Googles local search results for “mudgee accommodation”

For example if you are looking for Chinese restaurant in downtown Sydney, you just have to type Chinese restaurant and its approximate location / address and immediately you get a list of restaurants along with a map of that area. This will give you many options to choose from and its map facility will help you calculate the precise distance of the chosen restaurant and estimate your journey time to the restaurant of your choice, plus driving directions.

For web users, finding local conveniences is becoming simpler than ever (keyword search is far easier than leafing through reams of yellow page advertisements), its absolutely free and for businesses a whole new way to reach online users who are located close to your business.

Early signs indicate that operators from the travel and retail industry sectors are enjoying the most benefits from advertising their businesses on Google Local listings and Google Maps.

Targeting your local market online

To make the most of Google’s universal search functionality businesses should leverage its local listing facility on Google maps. In fact if your PPC advertisement has localised content e.g. emergency locksmith services in Camberwell Victoria, your PPC advertisements and Google Map Optimisation could also get displayed on the local search pages of Google Maps. The main highlights of this great new service are:

A) Ensure that your business is listed correctly by registering it with Google’s Local Business Centre. Post registration, Google sends you an activation code by snail mail or SMS to confirm your physical address. Simply respond to this communication with your unique code for your listing to be accepted in about 3-4 weeks time. If you want to update any business information of yours, you simply log in and update your business information at your convenience.

B) We recommend that you also create a local AdWords advertisingb campaign targeted specifically to a specified local area. This will enable your PPC ad to appear when people from the targeted geographic area are using Google thanks to its ‘geo-targeting’ facility.  Its important to highlight that targeting local search users is different to creating a local business advertisement on Google Maps, see more information below.

C) Google Maps also offers an enhanced version of AdWords called Local Business Ad. This displays content in two parts- a highlighted listing in search result columns and a map marker that expands to show your additional business details when the web-user clicks on the ad title/ map marker. This allows your advertisement to attract viewer attention from both the left column (the search results) of Google Maps, and on the map itself.

D) In future Google is planning to provide a ‘click-to-call advertising service’ with their mapping facility, however, click to call has been unsuccessful so far in the Australian market..

Conclusion

Google’s local search /maps is becoming increasingly popular and also rapidly becoming a social media application. The more the reviews / feedback your users provide, better is your listing ranking.

roi.com.au are SEO and local listing optimisation experts and we can help you implement effective local advertising content and strategies for gaining positive reviews on local search for higher organic search results. For example you could offer your customers incentives like free offers and discount coupons for gaining customer feedback from your customers.

Google Maps and local search is becoming increasingly popular with the users and it’s a great opportunity to help your customers and prospects find you more often with tempting offers that are cost effective to display.  Local advertising in Google currently represents green fields for businesses wanting to gain an edge over their competitors in 2008.