December 21, 2014

Google Gadget Helps Customers Find You In Real Life

Everyone loves useful gadgets and Google has just come out with yet another one.

Meet the Google Maps driving directions gadget that makes it easy for customers to get directions to your brick and mortar store. Thanks to Google, the directionally-challenged folk out there (myself included), will no longer have to suffer through directions that are based on the location you’re coming from (ie, North, South, East and West). Businesses can now offer customers quick and easy step-by-step directions. Success!

The new Google directions gadget will allow business owners to pre-fill the direction “To” field with one or multiple addresses, while leaving open the “From” field so that customers can input their address or some other starting point.

From there, customers can print driving, walking or transit directions in just one click. Google will also provide suggestions for related addresses if users enter vague starting locations, as sometimes knowing where you live is difficult.

The widgets are great for users and add a nice bit of functionality to sites. However, they’re only good for showing users where you’re located. If you want Google to know, and to rank you accordingly, you’ll still need to tell the search engines where your brick and mortar store is located. And that means using the text on the page to convey it. You can’t leave it up to the gadget.

Matt McGee wrote a really important post commenting on the new Google gadget, noting that a detailed Directions/Find Us page remains one of the best local SEO tactics around. And he’s absolutely right. The search engines use things like your Directions page to look for indicators and local citations as to where your site is located. These are the same citations that are used to determine local ranking and local 10-pack placement. If you don’t tell Google where your brick and mortar store is located, which landmarks you’re around, what highways you’re near, you’re exact address, etc, you’re giving them nothing to use when they try to determine your proximity to a searcher. If they don’t know you’re location, they can’t rank you in local queries.

As a smart small business owner, you want to make sure you cover your bases.

  1. Grab the directions widget to make it easy for users to map out your location and find your brick and mortar location
  2. Create a detailed, keyword-rich Directions page to make it easy for search engines to map out your location and find your brick and mortar location.

You can’t choose just one.

More in: 7 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

7 Reactions

  1. This is a great tool, especially for those businesses that aren’t on the corner of a main intersection. But Lisa is totally right, you’ve got to help the engines out by putting directions and location-based info on your actual site.

  2. This is cool. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated trying to find correct directions. This seems like it makes it nice and easy, just the way I like it. :)

  3. Hi Lisa, this is good advice. I like having two options, one that makes it convenient for users and one that makes it convenient for search engines.

    — Anita

  4. Wow. Another cool tech tool from Google. Being found on SEs is SEO’s task, now being found in your locality is Googleplex’ task. Cool Lisa. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Just another way that Google will surpass its competitors. They seem to think of this stuff before others do.

  6. Great feature! I must admit that I am “directionally-challenged” too! ;) I must get a GPS compass in my next mobile phone. I have heard that iPhone 3GS has one…

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