At this point, we've all heard about the importance of SEO. Those in the know have even heard about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO techniques that will boost not only your ability to be found by search engines, but how high in the list you are ranked. However, if you've got a great website, smart SEO and still aren't seeing that influx of new tech-savvy customers, I'm here to tell you what you've been missing! Ask yourself: How do you find the nearest auto shop for your next oil change? The maps program on your smartphone, of course. The same goes for seeking everything from ice cream parlors to hardware stores to daycares. Maps allow you to compare the distance, route, and star-ratings of each venue whether you're already out driving or sitting at home carefully choosing your route, and any business that isn't listed simply can't be considered.
Mysterious Disappearing Businesses
Have you ever noticed how many businesses aren't listed on Google or Apple Maps? Sure, there are little icons and listings everywhere but when you're actually driving around, all over you notice little stores (and even big ones) that are completely unregistered by your maps app. What did these businesses do wrong? Have they angered some nebulous search engine powers and been banished from results? The truth is that you can have a busy website, good Yelp reviews, show up on normal searches and STILL not be listed on the map for having skipped a single vital step: registering with Google and Apple Maps.
Trains, Boom Towns, and Map Routes
Back in the old days, just before trains, there were little towns within carting distance of each other all over the country. When the railways went in, some of these towns were made stops, and some of them weren't. Those on the route experienced economic booms brought by the trains while their neighbors withered away. The highway system did the same thing, highlighted by the classic thriller Psycho, in which the Bates Motel is mostly empty because the highways skipped their town. Maps apps are the new rail and highways. Routes that are not recommended and businesses that are not included will be skipped over and wither because to the modern smartphone equipped customer they simply don't exist.
Registering with Google Maps
Google Maps is the most popular navigation program available, and outstripped competitors like MapQuest and Garmins years ago. Start by creating a Google business account if you don't already have one. To make sure your business is registered and verified for the hundreds of thousands of daily Google users, the get started by logging into Google Maps and find your location. If one of your loyal customers hasn't added you yet, click 'Send Feedback' in the bottom right corner and then 'Add a missing place'. Place the marker, submit, then select the newly created (or preexisting) entry box and click 'Are you the business owner?' Now head over to Google My Business to finish claiming and verifying your business.
Registering with Apple Maps
In the mobile industry, there are Apple users and everyone else, and the loyal iOS users primarily navigate with the incredibly reliable and power-efficient Apple Maps program. In order for this large portion of the population to acknowledge the existence of your business, your first step is to join us. With your Apple ID, log into mapsconnect.apple.com and you'll find yourself in the 'Add a New Business' page. Confirm that you own the business or have been authorized to represent it, then all that's left is to fill out your information, add your website and contact info and submit!
With these steps fulfilled, you have successfully added your business to the top two map and navigation programs in the mobile world. Congratulations! You now exist to hundreds of thousands of app users across the globe. From locals to tourists and everyone in between, new customers will be able to find and route to your business with only a few taps on their device. Interested in more awesome marketing advice? Contact me today!