Good news for all local businesses and online map users: Google announced recently that they are changing the interface of Google Maps. The brand new look comes with many improvements that integrates local seo, social media and search in one rich mapping platform. The change aims to make Maps more personalized and intuitive for users.
Custom Interactive Mapping Experience
Clicking on an area in the map brings up different business selections within the vicinity, complete with the roads and landmarks you need to get there. The establishments featured when you click on an area changes as you interact more with Maps. They become more tailored to your needs as you submit more reviews, mark different establishments as your favorites, and share different business listings with your friends. Start by marking your Home and Work locations to get maps that show relevant businesses that matter most to your search.
Improved Local Search with Google+
Google Maps integrates Google+ much more now, which means you should update your Google+ business page with correct information. Make sure the following is present and accurate:
- Business address and contact information
- Business hours
- Photos – albums, display image, and cover photos
- User reviews of your business
With G+ integration, you can also view your circles’ reviews and recommendations directly on the Maps interface. Through these reviews and your saved personal preferences, Google Maps can recommend similar establishments you might enjoy, making your search process easier and smarter.
The new Google Maps also features its own rating system. Users can rate businesses separately from 1-5 stars. Zagat’s 30-point ratings will remain available in Google Maps and throughout the Google system.
Integrated Search Results
Finding local establishments is also easier with the new Google Maps’ integrated search results feature. When you search for a place, the results appear directly on the map with an info card bearing business details, brief description, categories, and customer reviews. This makes it easier for users to decide where to go.
Google Maps has also changed the way they display advertisements. They used different colored pins previously to distinguish ads from free listings. In the new interface, all listings use the same color, but the paid ads can be distinguished by the snippets of the ad appearing directly on the map with the business name.
Richer Images, Better Exploration
In addition to improved search features, Google Maps also features rich images of different locations. The new interface gathers these images in one carousel. Users can view these rich images or choose the 3D earth view, which lets users experience Google Earth on their Maps interface. Google has also improved its directions and created smart tours from collated user-uploaded information.
What this major change means for marketers is that you need to make sure your information is updated, and that your Google+ profile is well-optimized for this integrated Maps interface. It also means you need to be more vigilant with encouraging and collecting reviews from satisfied customers.
The new Google Maps is currently available on invite-only basis, but it will be open to the public very soon. We will be glad to help you prepare for this new Maps interface. Contact your account manager today to find out how, or SIGN UP FOR FREE to get started. Keep checking back for more updates!