Why Local Businesses Should Pay Extra Attention to Google Maps

Want to score more web traffic and in-person visits? Better start promoting your business on Maps.

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By Andrew Medal

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It appears mobile and local are still the most talked about subjects in the multicolored Googleplex campuses across the world. These topics were the most talked about during this year's Google Performance Summit.

Citation builder companies remain hugely valuable as they provide the necessary listing juice to establish the validity of a company, including name, address and phone number, to some verified directories. Citations are still a local company's best friend, and a seemingly forgotten asset. Citations are the missing key to land your local business on the coveted "Google Maps 3-pack."

Check out these ridiculously insightful mobile stats released by Google.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve Your Chances for Featured Snippets

Dictated by this data, people's online and offline lives have become synonymous, and a large part of mobile searches happen when someone is searching for something in real time ("now") and location specific ("here"). Google recognizes this trend and has released its next generation of local search ads. Below are the three most prominent changes from my research:

1. New local search ads

New local search ads across Google.com and Google Maps make it easier for business owners to highlight their store locations and offices with branded pins.

Why Google Maps? Google Maps is used almost as much as Google search now, thanks to mobile and location based searches. Google claims Maps has more than a billion users, with another couple of billion location-based searches.

2. Responsive display ads

In the next few months, you'll be able to send Google a URL, image and metadata, and Google will create responsive display ads on behalf of you and your company. Pretty cool. Currently, you have to create ads for different formats, which can be very time-consuming. To support local businesses and compliment the trending data, Google is going to handle responsive display ad creation for you.

Related: 7 Ways to Make Search Results For Your Brand Name Exactly How You Want Them

3. Changes to device bidding

Currently, device bidding is an inefficient process. A bidder does not have the ability to set tablet bids, as they're grouped together with desktop, and mobile is simply a multiplier of the base bid. This is all about to change. With these new changes, a bidder will be able to set individual bids for desktop, tablet and mobile. This gives the bidder much more flexibility and creates a more mobile-centric environment for the evolving search landscape.

What does all of this mean for local business owners?

The key takeaways for local businesses and business owners are:

  1. Mobile-centric is necessary. Ensure your site is mobile responsive.
  2. Google Maps is more important than ever, and Google is providing more resources for your disposal. Take advantage of all that Google is offering, and latch onto the mobile/local trends.
  3. Google must remain an integral part of your digital strategy. Whether it's pay-per click, local SEO, citation building for Google Maps or any combination thereof, Google remains vital.

Related: 4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

Even though its corporate motto "Don't Be Evil" dictates otherwise, Google continues to position itself as a necessary evil for all local companies, mobile searches and local listings.

Andrew Medal

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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