Google

What businesses should know about the new Google Maps

Many of your potential customers are probably using Google Maps to find you; are you actively making that process easier or harder?

The Google I/O 2013 keynote announced a new version of Google Maps and retail businesses better get ready for change - it's going social. Google Maps has over one billion monthly active users making it the most popular way to explore and get directions. Google+ is Google's social network and it's being integrated into all of Google's products including the new maps. Let's dig in and show how customers are going to find your business in this new version of maps.

Google map users will be shown a customized map that highlights places that are relevant to your search, places you have starred/visited, and reviews left by friends and others deemed as experts. The new Google Maps is taking advantage of your Google+ circles, customer reviews, and the business listing itself. Google displays your business in a nice card format which includes operating hours, ratings, reviews, photos, website, and a link to get directions. The map becomes more customized the more you and your friends use it and share their own experiences.

See it in action

For example, I'll begin searching my local area for restaurants using the new Google Maps.

The old Google Maps would have shown a list of businesses on the map sorted by the most relevant results. That list no longer gets automatically displayed and instead businesses bubble up to the top on the map as bigger icons. If there is enough room on the map your business name is also drawn.

Displayed directly below the search box allows you to select additional filters for "Top reviewers" and "Your circles." Let's check out the top reviewers. Notice the "Top reviewers" filter actually says "by experts" in the search bar so this filter is based on reviewers that Google deems as expert. I wouldn't expect a reviewer that only has a couple posts would be deemed an expert so this helps to avoid the fake reviews which many retailers use to game the system.

You can also search restaurants by your circles. This will allow you to see the restaurants that friends and family have reviewed (and anyone else you following on Google+)

My map was a little blank but I did see a few restaurants which I've never tried but that made me want to visit. If your friend likes it that probably means you will too. So what does this all mean for retailers?

Bottom line

Businesses should first review your Google Places for Business listings and make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. It's a free service that Google provides and it'll allow you to post useful information about your business including address, phone number, description, hours of operation, and even photos. Customer reviews will have a bigger impact on what businesses are seen on the new Google Maps. That means you should encourage loyal customers to rate and review your business from within Google Maps. I would also make sure you create a Google+ landing page for your business. And it wouldn't hurt to get your website updated so that it has links to not only your Facebook page but also Google+. This social network isn't going away and it's being integrated into all of Google's products and services, so you should actively participate.

To put it simply, many of your potential customers are probably using Google Maps to find you. You should spend the time to make sure your business listing is accurate and encourage loyal customers to post reviews. And if they don't want to, then maybe you can bribe them with a free coupon or beer.

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About

Todd Moore is an app developer, technology host, and published author. His most popular application, White Noise, has been downloaded by millions of sleep-deprived customers. Although his app has received critical acclaim in the press, the biggest co...

5 comments
nyexpat
nyexpat

when coming up in a search, those businesses who have an actual storefront (some I know do not, but that's another topic) always place first in searches with the added "sidebar" map. this, i think, is b.s. i'll give you an example of one that i searched for recently. when i searched for a particular vendor in Dallas, there were many with similar listings. the one at top had a location of Irving, which is NOT Dallas. i also know this biz and they do not do a ton of SEO in comparison to the others.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Part of our business is providing a customized Google API to clients for their customer service department to speed up service. We have used Google over Bing for countless reasons, accuracy and updates being the key factor. We spend many hours reworking Google Maps to display what our customers consider "relevant info" which never includes locations or restaurants, parks, places of interest and all the other useless crap Google plasters their maps with, now it's back to the drawing board or find a new solution.

Shams005
Shams005

Google places can tranform the Global Business totally in a positive sense. So if we can properly implement it, we will be able to trasform the Global Businees for the society. Think Technology !!!!! Think Social !!!!! I am suggesting this slogan as I am a big fan of Steve Jobs and as Steve Jobs is one of the Greatest Entreprenuer the World has ever seen. I believe, by doing this we can show some respect to him and what he has done for the World.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What is written in your Google Places for Business? Do you even know? Don't you think you should?

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