As we reach the last quarter of 2017 — more than 10 years after the introduction of Google Maps — the need for businesses to effectively manage their listings online is, for most marketers, a no-brainer. Listing management — ensuring core location information, such as business name, address, phone number and website, are easily and accurately found on search engines and directories (including but not limited to the mighty Google) — is foundational to digital marketing.
Since everyone’s doing it, does this mean there’s nothing left to learn? Not so fast. Much like any other aspect of digital marketing, technology (and our ability to work with it and adapt to it) guarantees a constantly shifting landscape. Here’s a little more about where we’ve been — and our top three insights on where we’re going next.
1. Less can be more
In years past, it was vitally important for businesses to engage with the data aggregators to ensure listing accuracy across a broad set of online directories. In today’s landscape, I would argue that some businesses no longer need to be focused on working with those providers and should instead determine the directories that make the most sense for their own particular business, putting the focus of their efforts there.
2. Google is getting bigger and smarter (and so can you!)
As Google continues to get smarter and display location data more accurately (even without brand intervention), the LPM game gets more and more sophisticated. The great news for brands is that their analytics and reporting tools are also getting smarter. Leverage these free tools within the local maps channel in order to justify (or adjust!) your brand’s marketing positioning — and inform budgets.
3. AI is getting real
Products and applications such as voice search, artificial intelligence and connected products like Amazon Alexa, Nest and others will bring additional areas and opportunities to get your business location information out there to consumers wherever they are. Ensure your brand is on top of supplying what’s needed for optimization in these exciting new channels.
The foundations of LPM are nothing new — if the people are going to come, they need to know where you are. But technology and tools are giving prospective customers far more flexibility in terms of how and where they search for you. By staying on top of LPM and emerging technologies in the space, you can make sure you stand out from the crowd — and achieve measurable business results.