Google Local Maps Is Changing
We might get hit by it today or it may not happen any time soon – but many indicators are pointing towards Google looking to monetize its services such as with My Business and Maps. Maybe they won’t do it or only some of it will be used for ad space. One thing is for certain though, many of us are players in Google’s board game and they set the rules.
Lets take a look at the Google Maps search view looking for lunch if you can call pizza lunch ☺️.
The map is showing x2 paid adverts at the top then x3 organic free to list results. We are anticipating a future where Google local becomes a pay to play only arena causing small business to effective pay Google money to get listed.
When and if this does ever happen how long would it be before your business is removed from the local maps and how long could you survive without having pay Google advertising fees? that’s the question.
We don’t believe in having a single source of traffic or income so we want to help you see how you can diversify your visibility online. Should the pay to play rule be enforced at least you have other avenues of lead generation supporting your business.
Bing Places for Business
People who are managing an online business shouldn’t shy away from trying out other platforms that can help them achieve their goals. In fact, having a presence on reliable platforms is one way to do that.
Bing is a search engine except that Microsoft owns it. It’s not as popular in comparison to Google but there are millions of people who prefer it as an alternative. And a lot of them perform business searches with it. One of the things that make Bing great is its ease of use while also being free of charge. In case Google pulls the plug on their free-to-use scheme, Bing makes for a great alternative.
Another thing about Bing is that it tries its best to stay abreast of the latest trends in the market; with constant updates and having more than 600 engineers at work. Optimisation of your local listings is possible with Bing Places for Business with its easy to use mobile search capabilities. Businesses who leverage Bing listings also are basically doubling their effectiveness in being ranked higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
With Bing Places for Business, this tool can let you upload many listings at the same time. There are also other features you can use to manage the reputation of your online business. After you’ve set up your Bing Places account, you can immediately get started and quickly establish your authority there.
For digital marketers, an agency dashboard can be found in Bing allowing you to manage several Places for Business listings in a central location. This will help make your local search campaigns easier to monitor and handle.
Easy Benefits with Bing Places
Setting up Bing Places is very easy and you only have to do it once. After you’re done, it will do the rest of the work on your behalf. It will take you approximately 30 minutes or even less to create and verify your business. Updates on your listing can then be made at any time.
After listing your business, Bing Places will help you be more visible to people who use Bing as their search engine. There are millions of people on Bing so that means you’ll most likely get good results here. Aside from that, being owned by Microsoft has its own perks. This includes being featured on Bing Maps, for instance, when people go looking for businesses with the same products or services like yours.
There are already many benefits in setting up Bing Places and then moving on. If you’re looking to delve deeper however, you can access the back-end information of Bing Places to learn more how your listing is performing.
Yelp for Business
Yelp is something we’ve all heard of at some point. There are those who believe it’s simply useful for giving us reviews of trending restaurants or for actually using it as a platform to find businesses to spend your money with. Depending on how customers rate businesses on a five-star range, it’s possible to make decisions here to show if an establishment is all hype and no service or the 5 star winner. There are even images of the locations, rooms, food, menus and more here.
Little known Feature: Years ago Yelp invested in augmented reality technology when it was just budding and inserted it into the platform its only available within the Yelp mobile app and its called the Monocle .
Yet that’s not the only good thing Yelp can do. Past these, an entire array of business tools is available to help drive customers to your company. You see, Yelp functions just like an account in social media where business owners can post photos, engage with people and even purchase targeted ads for additional traffic.
There are free options available such as allowing you to “claim” a business while there are paid subscriptions available that lets you provide quality videos and advertisements. If you’re looking to give your business a boost as an alternative to Google’s services, Yelp makes for a great choice.
Reasons Why Yelp Can Help Business Owners
With more than 80 million unique visitors on a monthly basis, Yelp is slowly becoming a popular destination for people and business owners alike. Here are some of the main reasons why you should check it out.
- You Get to Engage at the Right Time
That time when a person is interested in a business on Yelp is a critical stage when they’d be more open to making a purchase. When they see your page set up on the platform with some positive reviews, you can basically double your chances of influencing them to try your business. Once people are at the point of reading Yelp reviews, they are often close to being a customer and perhaps just a couple more positive comments may be enough to close the deal.
People don’t only use Yelp as a way to know what establishments are nearby. They also check it out to help in making purchasing decisions. Many Yelp users buy something after viewing a listing and may even leave a positive review afterwards if their experience was good.
- Quickly Respond to Customers
If you get any complaints or negativity on Yelp, you can easily use the platform to address the issue before it gets worse. This can be done either in public or via private messaging. This opportunity can be quite handy especially in letting your customers know just how invested you are in their satisfaction. By showing them your care and empathy, people who’ve had a bad experience can still be turned around because of this action.
At the same time, you can also choose to respond to those who’ve left positive remarks on your Yelp page to let them know that they are appreciated. When you thank people for their positivity, you encourage more ideal reviews and engagement from them moving forward.
- Gain Authority
When marketing online, Yelp can prove to be a useful tool in helping gain better rankings and visibility on the Internet. This is because the platform is considered as an authority website for search engine optimisation (SEO) in that it can improve traffic leading to your website. As you claim a listing on Yelp, you can add a link that directs to your domain which then translates to boosted rankings in Google.
Facebook Pages for Business
Lastly, Facebook is also another alternative that can be used if Google My Business isn’t an ideal option. It is essentially a place where you can easily promote your business. Once you have a page set up here, you can start posting consistent updates, interact with your followers and share content relevant to them.
The area in which Facebook can really outshine its competitors is in its paid advertising scheme done through a Business Manager account. What makes it great is that setting it up is actually free and quite user-friendly. With hits feature, it’s possible for a single person to manage several campaigns, create and develop ads, keep track of performance and much more.
The ads that are posted on the newsfeed of Facebook can further be linked to Instagram, other apps and even on third-party audience networks. Such capacity allows users to expand their engagement in several ways.
Quick Benefits of Facebook for Businesses
There are numerous potential benefits a business can get when delving on Facebook. Although some of them can have similar results as that of a website, a few are unique to Facebook only.
Compared to other channels, performing marketing activities on Facebook can be done at a relatively low cost. That is why there are many small to medium businesses with a limited budget who are using it today. Bigger companies can also benefit from trying out the more affordable marketing concepts and themes here before they commit to much larger campaigns.
Publicise Your Business
A Facebook page basically makes your brand public to everyone who can browse it. You can choose to list your business name, contact details, address and a description of the products and services you offer. This makes it easy for prospects to see what your brand is all about before they engage with it.
Provide Customer Support
Facebook is a great place for customers to ask after-sales questions about a product or service which businesses can answer right away. This can be far more efficient compared to hiring staff just to answer calls and respond to frequently asked questions.
And there you have it, some of the best alternatives you can have in case Google My Business decides to go the pay-to-play route. Of course, we can’t really say for certain that the search engine giant will end up that way but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The great thing about following the advice in this article is that you’ve started preparing yourself in case this doomsday scenario happens in the near future.
If it sounds a bit doom and gloom it is the biggest tech giant on the planet and we don’t really know what the end goal is for Google, if you want to work with an agency that understands where Google is heading you can contact our Local Search specialists to keep watch over your local marketing campaigns.