Google Maps and Your Business: 5 Ways to Prevent It
“Those tiny yellow stars cause clicks to be gained or lost, social interactions to be won or lost, potential physical visits to be avoided, and ultimately, lost revenue.”
There is no substitute for learning by doing, and we do a LOT of doing. New best practices are created as a result of the tens of thousands of hours we spend assisting automotive clients (and other markets) to optimize their social media marketing and take charge of their online reputation. Our Seventh Annual Automotive Social Media and Online Trends Study, which was just released, compiles insights from more than 4,000 consumers and covers many of our lessons learned. The report has potential danger lurking in plain sight as well as promise.
On the plus side, we discovered that social networking is now more crucial than ever for potential auto purchasers and service clients. On the search front, customers occasionally solely conduct local Google searches and read corresponding evaluations and reviews. When conducting online research, customers say reviews are the most useful resource, and they trust these metrics.
None of this surprised us because of our line of work. But what made us pause were seemingly unimportant factors like:
Google Maps is used by 73% of car buyers and service clients.
Most survey participants use Google Maps. Google Maps is widely used in America, so what? The issue we found is that Google reviews have two sides: Given that Google Maps displays star ratings next to local business results, your low star rating might be a last-minute cautionary sign that reads, “Customer Beware.” even for potential customers who are en route to your company.
Are the Google Maps reviews turning off potential customers?
almost certainly if you have a subpar or nonexistent star rating. particularly if you are featured next to a company with positive reviews. Customers tell us that online star ratings and reviews are important, and data suggests that they act in that way. These tiny yellow stars lead to either gained or lost clicks, social interactions, potential physical visits, and ultimately, lost cash.
Focusing on the Rank Recipe of Google
The only way we can know Google’s algorithms is if we work there, and even then, probably not. Any source who claims to have inside information is probably selling quackery. However, we can narrow down the contributing factors by using real-world testing and Google’s published best practices.
In the beginning, Google returns three featured businesses (you definitely want to be one of them) and the option to view more place results when we perform a local search (for example, “car dealerships in Scottsdale, Arizona”). The top organic search results are displayed after the featured businesses. Star ratings used to display alongside organic listings, but now they only appear with map results, making these listings crucial.
What factors then affect local search rank? Geo-location most likely has a minimal impact, favoring nearby businesses. Businesses in the top 10 are more likely to appear in the Local Pack’s top three, suggesting that organic rank plays a significant role. Businesses may notice changes in their ranking along with the quantity and quality of their Google reviews (star ratings), which are taken into consideration. Businesses with reviews perform better than those without on average; but, this isn’t the whole picture. Businesses with positive ratings outperform those without.
A Path to Better Ratings and Reviews Using the Star Map
Look for Google reviews.
Only businesses with at least one review are displayed with star ratings on Google. Make it your goal to gather them. Remember: It often takes a week for new reviews to appear. but do not deceive. The algorithms used by Google are capable of spotting review patterns. Your account can be highlighted for manual review if your company typically only receives a few reviews per year but suddenly starts receiving dozens in a single day. That is definitely not what you want. Obtain reliable testimonials from reliable clients.
Provide a Direct Review Link for Clients
Customers may only post evaluations through Maps now, and they must sign into their Google account to do so. You must thus either provide them with instructions on how to post a review or a direct link to your Google Maps listing.
Local SEO is the Way to Go
Rely on strong local SEO because organic rank is so important for getting into the top three. Display top-notch, timely branded content. Look for reputable regional links and mentions. Collect links from a variety of sources and keep doing so throughout time. Also helpful are local social media shares.
Take a long view.
It becomes more difficult for an infrequent unfavorable review to affect your local Google Maps results in the more good ratings you have. On the other hand, companies with more reviews require even more favorable ratings to make a difference. Play the long game and actively manage your SEO, social media, and search engine ratings. If your internal competence in managing digital marketing at this level is inadequate, employ a consultant.
Users of Google Maps value it for more than just navigation, and you should too. Whether you own a retail store, a dentistry clinic, or a car dealership, this aspect of the digital world has an impact on your organization. Learn how to gather and maintain excellent reviews on Google and other important industry websites, and how to quickly reply to both favorable and negative comments. Keep up a positive online presence, make your website mobile-friendly, and consider your local audience. That is what it takes to establish and maintain a solid online presence and give users of Maps another compelling reason to visit you.
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