Google Maps has revolutionised the way we find information online. Just a few years ago, internet users were entirely dependent on the text listings that search engines like Google produced for any search. It was up to the user to scroll through these listings to find the most appropriate information, or at least what appeared to be the most relevant. Google Maps has changed this process. Now you can find a business or service provider on a map of your surrounding region.
Google Maps Gets The Preference
There is no doubt that every business desires to be the first listing on Google for related search queries. Type in ‘dermatologist’ in the search box and whoever has the first position gets the cream of the search engine traffic. However, this has been displaced by ads and Google Maps. This means that your website can beat any organically listed website, even the website at number one, by using Google’s ads or maps options.
While Google ads can cost a pretty penny through its competitive Adwords platform, a listing on Google Maps is free for businesses. Free does not necessarily mean that you have exclusivity. All businesses get a fair chance to share in Google Map listings if certain criteria are met. The next time somebody searches for your business name, industry and/or location, Google may show your listing on a relevant map.
For example, searching for “dermatologist in Sandton” on Google will throw out a map of Sandton and surrounding regions with all dermatologists marked by the famous red pin. Of course, this does not usually happen automatically. If your do not have a medical website with your exact physical location listed or if you do not have a Google Plus business page, then you are unlikely to show up on a relevant Google Map.
Process for Getting Marked on Google Maps
There is a chance that Google’s bot will eventually crawl some online phone directory or find your practice website and list you on the Google Map of your area. However, this is not guaranteed without a website. A sure way to get listed on Google Maps is to have a Google Plus page. Google Plus was Google’s attempt at getting into the social media boom but failed dismally. Nevertheless, it still exists and can be very useful.
Any person can get a Google Plus profile along with all the other free goodies, like Gmail and Google Drive. Businesses can get a Google Plus page. Once a business page is set up, Google will then send a postcard with a pin code to the business address listed on the page. This is their way of verifying that the business really does exist at the address stipulated on the Google Plus page.
Once this post card is received (approximately 3 weeks from the time Google dispatches it), the code has to be entered on the Google Plus business page. Then it is just a matter of days (sometimes hours) before a red marker pin with your practice details will appear on a related Google Map. Any business with a website tends to get more frequent placements on Google Maps along with an additional listing on the right side of Google’s search results.
Now you no longer have to worry about expensive SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques or ads to get to the top of Google’s listings. Your practice details, including your consulting hours, can appear at the top of Google’s search results without having to fork out a cent. A medical practice website helps, as do social media profiles. But to some extent Google Maps levels out the playing field for all local businesses, whether big or small.