google-maps

 

Whether you’re running a small business or a nonprofit organization, location plays a primary role. Even though these days, a lot of people are shifting towards the more virtual world nothing can replace the level of trust a physical location can provide.

 

When we want to look into a company or a business, the first thing we do is Google it. There are several ways you can make your business discoverable online, but one easy and effective way is joining Google My Business.

 

Through Google My Business you can make sure you can be found on Google Maps and Google Earth. 

 

This is one of the first steps in becoming discoverable online.

 

If you haven’t already, you can get started with Google Maps with the following steps:

 

Step 1: Make a Google My Business account and disclose your business address.

Step 2: Specify the business or services you offer.

Step 3: Get your business location verified by Google.

Step 4: Specify all the relevant secondary business categories.

Step 5: Add an introduction and images. 

Step 6: Include social media channels and any other relevant links.   

 

The Value Provided by Google Earth and Google Maps


The value provided by Google location services like Google Earth and Google Maps tends to be the gift that keeps on giving. First and foremost, it helps people find you. But also, it leads people to your website, builds credibility, and can help you enhance your brand image across multiple platforms.

 

These features are not limited to just businesses, it can also help bring awareness to community locations, nonprofit organizations, and even events.

 

How Can Nonprofit Businesses Use Google Earth and Maps in Their Favour?

 

If you’re a nonprofit business, something interesting you should look into is how to use Google for Nonprofits. Google has several unique services nonprofit organizations can take advantage of.

 

The best part about all of this is that it’s free! You can also get additional free credits from Google if you register for a Google Non-Profit Business Account. 

 

With regards to this type of account, to reap the advanced benefits of Google Maps there are eligibility criteria that you need to pass.

 

However, once you get this, you and your organization supporters can use advanced features which you would normally have to pay for. This works by Google providing you free credits that you can use as your business deems fit.

 

Here are Some of the Benefits Google Earth and Google Maps Can Offer:


1. Become Discoverable

 

Even though this is pretty much a self-explainer, there are so many ways where you can make your business discoverable. One of the biggest benefits of Google Maps will lead to a lot more foot traffic or prospects.

 

However, having your location online can help customers tag your business in social media posts. Customers can even help set meetings through platforms like Facebook, or through the Google Events Calendar.

 

Google Maps along with the use of geotagging and the Google My Business Platform, helps bring awareness to your business. With the help of geotagging, marketers can use location-based SEO and SEM strategies to rank locally. 

 

Now people in close vicinity or those who are interested can find your business a lot quicker and easier. 

 

2. Customized Maps

 

Customized Maps is yet another lesser-known service offered by Google Earth.

With Customized Maps, you can walk people through your brand story. You can present your motivations, business locations, and general day-to-day business – which is a great way to promote yourself to people. 

 

These people can be potential business partners, clients, and even future employees.   

 

In the case of nonprofits, you can show donors the factors and areas in which your work is effective through a presentation.

 

You can even touch on the various reasons your business does what it does, with the use of images and insightful text. The images and text are accompanied by map locations, or even 3D views of the location – to help paint a clearer picture.

 

 If you want to look more into it, Google does a great job of explaining this in-depth.

3. Virtual Tours

 

When making pitches to clients, or closing deals, from the client’s standpoint, they must know who they’re in business with. When dealing with clients overseas or also while in a tough spot due to a global pandemic, virtual tours can come through.

 

It would be a smart move to indulge your prospects with an immersive virtual tour experience. With Google Maps, you can create virtual tours that can highlight the different parts of your business. You can also give them a look-in in the day-to-day activities.

 

With little spending, you can utilize high-definition 360° images to give them a unique experience from anywhere in the world

 

4. Building Credibility Through Reviews

 

This is possibly the most underrated provision provided by Google Maps and the most overlooked one from a digital marketing standpoint. However, there is undeniable value in reviews on Google Maps.

 

Search Engine Ranking is something that’s at the center of any digital marketing campaign. When dealing with businesses, taking advantage of local SEO techniques is key.

However, when dealing with conversion, what it comes down to is customer experience.

 

An infographic conducted recently by Invesp concluded that 90% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing. It also mentioned that 72% said that good online reviews made them trust a business more.

 

Allowing for customers to rate your business, leave reviews and also add pictures on Google Maps is an aspect that often goes overlooked.

 

Another element worth mentioning is tagging the business’s location on social media. This is a good form of word-of-mouth marketing and is also really good for local SEO.

 

Generally, people love to know what is trending. Positive reviews on social media that geotag your business location is a great way to keep getting new customers.

 

However, one should keep in mind that they should go out of their way to provide their clients with positive experiences. 

 

As reviews can be just as harmful, businesses should keep in mind customer satisfaction and delivery of quality services.

 

5. Accessibility to Multiple Platforms

 

With Google Maps, people interested in your business can find it easily. But more importantly, they can lead to the different platforms on which your business markets itself.

 

With Google My Business, your clients can access contact information such as your telephone number, email address, and website. This helps with local SEO based on the nature of the service you offer. 

 

They also can help people engage with people on several other platforms that can be accessed all at one point.

 

These days, most business details can be found when looking for the business on Google Maps. The predominant reason that people like Google mapping services so much is because it provides a legitimate and trustworthy access point.

 

It can be accessed on different types of devices and overall has a user-friendly interface.

 

Conclusion


From everything we’ve just covered, the benefits that Google Maps and Earth offer clients are quite clear. The only thing people need to keep in mind is how to utilize it to best suit their needs and functions.

 

Regardless of whether your business provides food, products, or services, there is an undeniable need to acknowledge the impact location plays. 

 

Whether it’s leading to potential prospects, potential employees, or even just awareness, map location and accessibility play a vital role.

 

In the case of Google for Nonprofits, there are several ways in which you can offer your potential donors enticing, location-centered content.

 

But your general takeaway from this article should be to take advantage of numerous opportunities these location services provide. Google Maps and Google Earth can provide your business with several perks if you know where to look.

 

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization is an exciting new subcategory of website development and marketing.  All of the major search engines, Google included, now place a lot of emphasis on local content, so you can draw more visitors by creating landing pages targeting specific cities and neighborhoods.

However, if you’re thinking about a local keyword campaign, you need to take a logical approach to avoid pouring money into a massive base of useless content.  Some of the most common mistakes that website owners and SEO managers make when organizing local SEO campaigns include:

1. Over thinking Keyword Concentrations.

To attract the attention of the big search engines, you’re probably setting up landing pages that focus on local keywords.  For example, if you sell tires near St. Louis, you might combine some product-specific keywords with different neighborhoods and towns around the city.  Your local SEO keyphrases might include “Goodyear Tires Maplewood” or “Firestone tires Fairview Heights.”  You get the idea.

Ideally, your content will have a 1-3 percent keyword density for each of these terms.  However, you shouldn’t be counting keyword repetitions.  Doing so may cause your page to read like obvious SEO content, which will scare away customers and prevent Google and other search engines from assigning your landing pages a high ranking.

Instead, start with a few keywords in mind and write naturally.  You’ll get much more reliable results, especially in the long-term–remember, Google algorithms will change.  If you’ve got great content, algorithm updates are a good thing, but if you’re targeting a certain keyword concentration, you’ll inevitably see your ranking drop over time.

2. Putting Local-Specific Terms Where They Don’t Belong.

Speaking of algorithm updates, we know that Google’s Venice and Panda updates emphasize quality locale-specific information.  The search engine can now tell the difference between well-written content designed specifically for a certain city and purposeful SEO content with local information jammed into place unnaturally.

Your landing pages should include some information about local areas.  They shouldn’t have paragraphs that resemble Wikipedia entries for your target town.

In our previous example, a sentence that reads, “Our tires will keep you safe while you roll across the Poplar Street Bridge” might connect with the target readers and get them to take action.  You won’t get the same effect from an obvious SEO sentence that reads something like, “St. Louis has a metropolitan population of over 1.3 million.  Buy our tires.”

If you’re putting local-specific phrases into your content, make sure that they make sense.

3. Not Monitoring Statistics.

Never assume that web users always use the same keyphrases when trying to find a specific product or service.  You might need to target different keywords for St. Louis than you’d need to target for Atlanta, so watch your statistics and make sure that you’re developing appropriate campaigns for each city on your list.

Remember to look at clickthroughs for your PPC ads and check your website statistics to see how long your users are spending on each landing page.  Relevancy is important, and well-designed local SEO campaigns require constant quality checks.  Watch statistics, choose your keywords logically and create high-quality content for the best results.

About the Author

Written by George Thompson – an online marketer who recommends Interactive Limited for SEO needs.

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Google Places Listing

For any local business which has a physical address a Google local listing page is simply is a must. Google local listings have become a staple in the local SEO industry but the reality is that they are much more than just that. A Google business listing gives your audience the ability to find your local business, see your business information and also give you some sort of credibility that you are a real business where you can just walk in. Now, over the years these local listings have been abused quite a bit leave Google scratching their heads and going back to the drawing board so to speak on how to fix things. Google really hates a poor user experience.

Google is getting pretty good at identifying the black hat gaming strategies some idiots are attempting out there. There is a right way to optimize your Google local business listing and a wrong way. Google has even put out a local places optimization best practice guide for those of you still trying to cram a bunch of keywords where your company name should be. Google places SEO can be very powerful when done correctly and with taste.

Here are some tips directly from the Google guide we should all be using when filling out our Google local listing page.

(This is directly from Google)

  • “Do not include marketing taglines in your business name.
  • Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name field, unless they are part of your business name.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business in the business name field.”
Make sense doesn’t it? Keep it clean and keep it right. Don’t worry about trying to manipulate your way to the top. Fill out the business listing with 100% accuracy and taste. Don’t succumb into spammy SEO techniques because Google can take the page away from you just as quickly as they gave it to you.
  • “Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.”
This was a big problem in the past. Businesses would attempt to set up local listings all over the U.S when all they had was one location. Not cool, don’t spam it or you will break it.
  • “Do not include information in address lines that does not pertain your business’s physical location (e.g. URLs, keywords).”
Keyword stuffing is extremely frowned upon. It looks horrible and it does nothing to improve the user experience quality that Google is so keen on. Plus it generates a poor image on the brand you are trying to build.
  • “Use a local phone number instead of a call center number whenever possible.”
The search engines have a unique set of search signals they use to pick up company elements. A local phone number will tie you into that specific geographical location that much more.
  • “Categories should say what your business is (e.g. Hospital), not on what it does (e.g.Vaccinations) or things it sells (e.g. Sony products or printer paper). This information can be added in your description or as custom attributes.”
This is important because you want your business to be categorized properly otherwise it will not appear in search results properly.

Hair Salon Marketing

 

Hair salon web marketing can be a very tricky thing these days simply because of the sheer volume of competition around every city corner. With that said that does not mean that you should sit still and roll over because it seems like it will be a lot of work to break through the online competition. The reality is local salon web marketing is a must for all salons and the truth is that not all of them are doing it well or how they should. Local search engine marketing is not what it once was years ago. These days things have changed quite a bit especially since the mobile smart phone boom occurred not that long ago.

Here are some beauty salon marketing ideas that could potentially help you market your salon:

 

Think about your brand first


 

It is not just about having a small website or a 10 year old logo it is about building a brand around your beauty salon that will help you generate instant recognition. It is all about synergy and it starts with the website. People are not picking up the phone book any longer they are now firing up Google and conducting searches and chances are the website will be the first thing they see. Does the brand of the site carry into your physical store? Has your website been updated to at least keep up with the times? do you maintain a weekly blog? All these questions are important when building the brand of your hair salon.

 

Local SEO is simply a must


 

It should not even be a question whether you need local SEO to strengthen your salon online marketing efforts. Don’t worry if you are in a congested area online just get your website optimized for your important local keyword so it can gain some traction and start moving around. You have to realize that this is just the starting point. Compare it to a person getting their hair done and this step is a lot like the shampoo process. It sets the stage for what is going to happen once they step into the chair. A good quality shampoo process will leave the client happy for the next step and your local salon SEO will prepare you for all future steps as well.

 

 

Your social media should be fierce


 

Social media is probably one of the most important driving forces for your salon web marketing. Writing blog posts, shooting YouTube videos, tweeting with your audience and updating your Facebook fan page might sound like a ridiculous amount of work but it can be done very reasonably. Social media is your friend and it should be at the top of your list when trying to come up with ideas to drum up new business and new feet walking through those salon doors. Chances are your customers now are just waiting for you to become active in the social space if you haven’t already.

Ideas of things to announce using social media:

  • New products
  • Awards won
  • Special events
  • New employee profiles
  • Sales & discounts

Think geo targeting for local foot traffic


 

Geo marketing has been a very important marketing effort ever since sites like Foursquare made their way into the picture.

If you haven’t heard of Foursquare watch this short video:

 

 

Visit Foursquare and learn the possibilities of how local check-ins can help you build more foot traffic walking into your beauty salon. With so many people using Android phone and iPhones it is important to take marketing action against people on the go.

 

Group buying is all the rage


 

Group buying sites like Groupon and Living Social have turned hair salons and spas into instant successes over night. I have personally seen and heard success stories relating to Groupon where local business went up over 500% from just one group buying promotion. 500%!!

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