Getting More From Your Google Maps Profile

Mobile and desktop surfers alike are turning to Google Maps to find local and sometimes nearby businesses. Optimizing your web pages for local search has become an extremely important part of the local marketing mix.

Claiming and building strong profiles in the local search directories is another must for the new local search habits.

Today’s post and accompanying video explains a bit of tweak that I suggest can make your Google Maps profile even more local search term friendly.

As shown in the video above, once you claim your Google Maps Profile (Go to the Google Local Business Center) you have the freedom to do lots of customization, including customizing the very important “category” listings, which Google relies very heavily upon to determine when to show your profile. You must choose one category suggested by Google, but are free to add up to four more that can contain city names as part of the category. In my opinion, Las Vegas plumber is a much stronger local category than just plumber.

Watch this quick video and then go strengthen up your profile.

Update: Interesting discussion on this topic here – thanks to @niftymarketing for pointing me to it. Grey area for sure, test and decide.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • This is a good tip. I frequently find small businesses that seem to be struggling and I’ve started offering them tips on using social media to attract a wider audience. Admittedly, I’m doing it for selfish reasons, as I don’t want them to go out of business, but still :)

    It’s pretty amazing the level of influence that places like Yelp and Google Local can have on small businesses, depending on where you live. Many of the people I know here in SF won’t walk into a restaurant without checking it out on Yelp. With that kind of influence, entrepreneurs should be working hard to ensure they’re building a strong brand on those services.

  • As always, you provide information of great value. I always come away from here having learned something important.

    Dr. Marc Kossmann
    http://www.PersonalSuccessMarketing.com

  • GigAlert

    I was just telling someone today about this. I set up 2 map entries last year, one for a business I owned and one for a friend. We both moved from no rank to #2 & #3 in our categories. Be sure to put as much content as allowed by Google. This includes descriptive text, coupon text, picture(s), video(s) (from your YouTube channel), and more as we know Google likes content.

    Based on feedback we know we got clients off the map entries as our sites were not page 1 in organic search. It is amazing how few SMB have done this yet.

  • This is a good tip. I frequently find small businesses that seem to be struggling and I've started offering them tips on using social media to attract a wider audience. Admittedly, I'm doing it for selfish reasons, as I don't want them to go out of business, but still :)

    It's pretty amazing the level of influence that places like Yelp and Google Local can have on small businesses, depending on where you live. Many of the people I know here in SF won't walk into a restaurant without checking it out on Yelp. With that kind of influence, entrepreneurs should be working hard to ensure they're building a strong brand on those services.

  • As always, you provide information of great value. I always come away from here having learned something important.

    Dr. Marc Kossmann
    http://www.PersonalSuccessMarketing.com

  • melihoztalay

    Google has it’s own local business listings and allows consumers to post reviews. So does, Yahoo, Bing, City Search/Ask, Yellow Pages, Yellowbook, Local.com and the list goes on. Although, all of these local listing type websites will be seeking out the consumer to visit their website and post a review about a local or small business, I think the local and small business will become overwhelmed trying to monitor all of these websites.

    As you can imagine a solution already exists for the local and small business. At KillerStartUps a company was recently reviewed providing Local Business Listing Management servers for local and small businesses. You can read up on KillerStartUps perspective of this at:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Search/smartfindslocallisting-com-be-found-online

    Although, this will be a time consuming effort for the local and small business to manage their local business listing at multiple websites, this is the first time that the Internet is actually helping the local and small business. Hopefully, this business group can be early adopters for a change and embrace the technology so they can benefit sooner rather than later.

    Great discussion here. Thanks.

    • Potentially interesting, but very expensive for what this service really does

  • GigAlert

    I was just telling someone today about this. I set up 2 map entries last year, one for a business I owned and one for a friend. We both moved from no rank to #2 & #3 in our categories. Be sure to put as much content as allowed by Google. This includes descriptive text, coupon text, picture(s), video(s) (from your YouTube channel), and more as we know Google likes content.

    Based on feedback we know we got clients off the map entries as our sites were not page 1 in organic search. It is amazing how few SMB have done this yet.

  • melihoztalay

    Google has it's own local business listings and allows consumers to post reviews. So does, Yahoo, Bing, City Search/Ask, Yellow Pages, Yellowbook, Local.com and the list goes on. Although, all of these local listing type websites will be seeking out the consumer to visit their website and post a review about a local or small business, I think the local and small business will become overwhelmed trying to monitor all of these websites.

    As you can imagine a solution already exists for the local and small business. At KillerStartUps a company was recently reviewed providing Local Business Listing Management servers for local and small businesses. You can read up on KillerStartUps perspective of this at:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Search/smartfinds

    Although, this will be a time consuming effort for the local and small business to manage their local business listing at multiple websites, this is the first time that the Internet is actually helping the local and small business. Hopefully, this business group can be early adopters for a change and embrace the technology so they can benefit sooner rather than later.

    Great discussion here. Thanks.

  • John,

    I'm a fan of yours, but…

    You might be leading folks in the wrong direction with this one. It's a little touchy with how to handle “categories” in Google Maps.

    Have you read this post – (make sure you read the comment section that's where it gets really interesting)

    http://blumenthals.com/blog/2009/09/01/google-p

    It may not be a good idea to add local modifiers to your category tags in Google Maps. This could possibly lead to getting smack with a G-Map Filter which could cause your listing to lose rankings in the 7-Pack.

    Use at your own risk.

  • Thanks Matthew – please note that I have already pointed to this article you mentioned in my post – there is some debate over this issue and while I don’t suggest people cram and spam their listings – Google’s terms don’t specifically mention this practice – it’s not that high risk really

    • I second Matthew on this. Stuffing those fields can be seen as a little manipulative. I prefer to use as many default categories as possible (i.e. “dentist” “dentists” “dental office”) and then customize from there. Finding a way to get citations on web sites that are geotargeted to your location I think plays a much bigger role.

  • Thanks Matthew – please note that I have already pointed to this article you mentioned in my post – there is some debate over this issue and while I don't suggest people cram and spam their listings – Google's terms don't specifically mention this practice – it's not that high risk really

  • Potentially interesting, but very expensive for what this service really does

  • It would be good to point out that messing around with the
    core info in your account, business name, address, phone number…. CATEGORIES. Can put your listing into limbo for a few
    weeks. You can fall off maps until the next update.

  • It would be good to point out that messing around with the
    core info in your account, business name, address, phone number…. CATEGORIES. Can put your listing into limbo for a few
    weeks. You can fall off maps until the next update.

  • I should known you were already on it! I still think its a risky approach to achieving stronger rankings in the 7-Pack and would recommend getting more citations and reviews to boost your G-Maps rankings.

  • John, this is a good tip. Thanks.

  • John, this is a good tip. Thanks.

  • I second Matthew on this. Stuffing those fields can be seen as a little manipulative. I prefer to use as many default categories as possible (i.e. “dentist” “dentists” “dental office”) and then customize from there. Finding a way to get citations on web sites that are geotargeted to your location I think plays a much bigger role.

  • Mobile and desktop surfers alike are turning to Google Maps to find local and sometimes nearby businesses.