Google Maps has helped millions of users find destinations since its launch in 2005. Today, there are more than one billion monthly active users of its different services. Ground Truth, launched in 2008, is one of the service's most visible projects. It aims to "create an accurate map for our ever-changing world," covering 40 countries to date.
This software can also help in local search engine optimization. You'll find more success telling crowds where to go today on the internet, not with a signboard on a sidewalk. Using Google Maps in marketing your business makes sense. For instance, almost 70 percent of smartphone users favor this navigation service. It also has data on over 80 million places, so Google Maps is perfect for location-based marketing. Here are new features to note when making a content strategy.
1. Incorporate Data From Crowdedness Updates
A persistent concern among consumers today is safety while shopping or dining. COVID continues to be a threat to everyone, and Google Maps is helping reduce those concerns. With the COVID-19 layer, people can get timely data about the virus on their devices. Each area in Maps shows a seven-day average and all-time detected case information. Aside from this, it also differentiates among areas' case density.
The latest COVID layer update shows more information. It has links to local resources, including guidelines, testing sites, and restrictions. This helps people who are planning to visit friends and family during the holidays.
Businesses can also use the new COVID layer to inform their messaging for the next few weeks. Monitoring your area's case density can help you respond to your customers' needs. You can also use the data you get to produce social media materials to guide people while they shop or dine.
Google Maps is also providing live crowdedness information on iOS and Android. You can see how busy a train, subway line, or bus is through the map. Google collects data from real-time feedback sent by Google Maps users. Like the COVID layer, marketers can use trends from this feature in the content strategy.
2. Register on Google My Business For Live Order Updates
Maps has also considered people staying at home or driving through instead of dining out. In the U.S., Canada, and several other countries, people can track the status of their order in Google Maps. If you book straight from the app, you can see live updates on when you can expect your delivery to arrive. Wait times, options for re-ordering, and data on delivery fees are also available in-app.
Local businesses registered with Google My Business benefit the most from this feature. People interested in their business need not leave Google apps to learn what they need to know. With it, owners can identify what to improve in their reputation or customer service. This is valuable for increasing your Google ranking.
3. Enhance Your Google Street View With Community Contributions
Today, it is easy to collect Street View images for Google Maps. It now has a connected photos tool, which allows users to submit images they took as they moved down a path. Anyone can upload connected Street View photos, which helps capture areas not yet on Maps. What's more, users don't need 360-degree cameras; they can use smartphones to take photos. Contributed photos show up as dots on Google Street View. These appear near or beside the solid blue line, which indicates areas where the Street View Car passed.
Business owners can use community contribution to upload photos of their store. They can take people on a virtual tour of their premises through this navigation method. They can also recreate Street View in their social pages. For example, they can ask patrons to send their favorite images of the store under a hashtag.
4. Use The Community Feed On Google Maps
Google Maps' community feed currently has more than 20 million contributions and counting. On the feed, there are recommendations, updates, reviews, photos, Q&A's, and more. Many people rely on the feed for accurate, helpful information on local establishments. As such, Google has made it easier to find updates through the Explore tab. Through here, you can see reviews, photos, and posts on local stores.
Google Maps relies on trusted local sources, merchants themselves, and articles or features. People can also follow individual users, who can upload reviews on Google Maps. As the app expands its features, it is set to become a hub for local foodies who want to find new go-to's.
People can follow restaurants on Maps and get updates from them in the Feed. You can get everything from recommendations for shops to reviews on dishes on this feed. It is not limited to nearby locations, either. You can pan and zoom to check out contributions worldwide. Community feeds like these are useful for people who want to customize the updates they get.
For example, suppose you're interested in Italian food. Google Maps will note that and send recommendations of this type of establishment. This way, customers can connect better with local businesses. If you are a local business owner, you can connect better with your customers through Google Maps.
The feed is also great for limited updates, like announcements on seasonal offerings. If you have a holiday menu item or a promo for the end of the year, you can share it through here. Your community feed presence should complement your local search engine optimization efforts.
5. Incorporate Google Maps with A GMB Profile
Local businesses can link their GMB profile with Maps. Doing this allows them to share with others updates on offerings and operations. If they have updates on takeout and delivery options, they can inform people through here. They can also share online services, safety precautions, and other similar news.
Google is really encouraging people to merge their GMB profile with Maps. In Maps, there is an option for verified businesses to message customers. If you turn on messaging from your GMB profile, you can reply to customers through the Updates tab. The company says it will roll out a feature that lets businesses see and reply to messages on Google Search.
Customers will also have more ways of reaching you if you merge your GMB Profile with Maps. Aside from on your business profile, they can speak with you through posts and updates.
Local businesses have a lot to gain from being on Google Maps and having a GMB profile. Aside from providing safety information, Maps is also becoming a hub for businesses. Incorporate information from Maps in your marketing strategy. When you do, you'll find more ways of connecting with the people you serve.
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