Convergence and the Maps Channel
It’s a common question – How can I get Google to acknowledge that my business services a wide area, particularly in the Maps channel? This is especially relevant for individuals whose business is service based – for example, plumbers, HVAC technicians, etc.
While it is an understandable question, I think this is a basic misreading of the purpose of the Maps channel and a misunderstanding of where it may be evolving in the near term.
The reality is that Google hasn’t perfected the Maps channel yet. The fact that is doesn’t make money on this channel makes it a lower priority in helping business owners understand how it works and how they can use it to their advantage. Another frustration in this channel is the fact that you can do everything right in completing your profile in Google and it can still pull incorrect data about your business from other sources. This is where the focus of a Maps initiative should lie – not so much in appearing, but rather in appearing right – when the focus is placed on data integrity, this channel becomes a lot less frustrating.
So where is this all going? With Google launching its own mobile hardware, the convergence of search, mobile devices and GPS functionality is likely to lead to even more hyper-localized search behavior where users search for businesses in their immediate physical proximity. In this context, appearing becomes much easier and the most important factor in a successful search experience becomes data integrity. Gaming the system is still possible, but there is nothing to be gained from having your prospect walk to a non-existent address.