Last month, Google announced a set of new features in the Google Maps platform to help businesses manage their local search presence. Whether you’re new to the platform or managing multiple business sites, these enhancements will help you get the most out of the system faster.
You can find the official announcement on this Google Cloud blog post or read on for a summary of the five new features and how they will improve your local search marketing strategy.
1) Quick and easy appointment booking using Reserve with Google embeds
The main feature for businesses that already have local visibility is Reserve with Google. This feature allows users to book a variety of appointments (such as restaurant tables, hairdresser appointments, or classes) with just a few clicks in Google Search, Maps, and the Assistant app.
Vertical jump on how to get the most out of Google Maps/Henry Perks app updates via Unsplash
You can encourage bookings by embedding the option in your card listings so users see a Book an Appointment button.
This feature allows users to book an appointment with your business directly from the Maps experience without even needing to visit your website to fill out a form or call you directly. Google also says the reservation option can provide businesses with “more insight into potential in-store traffic and a better understanding of the services requested.”
2) Quickly deploy and update your store locator with Locator Plus
Locator Plus helps businesses with multiple business locations easily present all of their information to users so they can choose the location closest or best suited to their needs, such as one that has on-site parking.
This is especially useful for national businesses and businesses with multiple locations in a region, city, or local area. Now, Google is making it easier for these businesses to deploy and update store locators and embed them on their websites or other properties.
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“Starting today, we’re expanding the ways for you to quickly update and deploy your store locator. In the Locator Plus solution, you can capture the location of each store you want to show users, all on a single map. »
Google offers the example of the imaginary Val de l’Altostrat with 11 stores in the greater New York area. Now Val can easily import her business information from her business profile into Locator Plus and embed the locator on her website using Google Cloud.
3) Keep your business locations automatically updated
As Google increases the number of tools available to businesses promoting their business locations, the data burden on these businesses increases. For example, it’s great that you can easily embed a store locator on your website, but it introduces another place where your data needs to be constantly updated to match information from your Google Business Profile, your site web and other properties.
To help resolve this issue, Google has implemented an auto-update feature that syncs your Google Business Profile data with the information displayed in your store locator. This means that any changes you make to your business profile are automatically reflected in the store locator on your website, meaning you only have to make those changes once.
4) Measure performance with the new store locator analytics dashboard
To help you measure the impact of your store locator and quantify the value it adds to your business, Google has also introduced a new analytics dashboard for the tool. Using the dashboard, you can measure performance week by week, including number of views, number of interactions with Search and Place Details, and overall engagement rate.
The dashboard uses anonymized data to provide valuable insight into how your implementation compares to other companies using the same tools.
5) Tailor-made recommendations
If you’re new to Google Maps Platform, you’ll now discover an onboarding process that will guide you through implementation and provide relevant recommendations based on the industry you’re in.
“If you are new to Google Maps Platform, you will now see guided steps, depending on your industry, from initial setup to implementation. For example, if you identify your industry as retail, you will receive get-started examples and relevant documents to get you up and running right away. These recommendations will give you a boost in exploring the best products or solutions based on your industry.”
So you might see something like this when you first register:
For example, if you select “Retail and eCommerce” as your industry during account setup, you may receive getting started recommendations for setting up the store locator discussed in this article, as well as other tips, such as how to speed up the checkout process.
Recommendations will help you get the most out of the Google Maps platform and get started faster, which is increasingly important as Google introduces more features for new users.
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Marie Turner, SEO specialist at Vertical Leap.