Google Maps Listings

Why do you need a Google Maps listing?

google-placesThe other day I needed to contact a local Computer repair shop that I had visited last week about repairing my laptop, but I couldn’t find the card he gave me with their phone number, so I started looking for them on Google – as I always do. I didn’t even think to look for it in any other way, because well, why would I? Google is much quicker and I can actually read the font on my monitor, unlike the tiny fonts in the phone book  – I’m from the baby-boomer era and well, I need reading glasses for most things these days.

I actually do own a Yellow pages, but it’s propping up monitor (good use for it) and I didn’t want to drag it out from there – and to be quite honest, I didn’t even think of doing that.

What a journey it was. I searched for it for ages, typing in every term I could think of related to “Computer Repair business Richmond NSW”. I live in a semi-rural area and it’s a 20min drive to town so it was worth persevering. So after 15mins I had a brain wave (sometimes that happens) and decided to go to Google “street view” to see if I could see the name of the business and try Googling that. I was in luck! The phone number was printed on the window so I zoomed in and got the number.

You wouldn’t think it would be that hard would you? I mean don’t all businesses have some sort of “online presence”? I guess I must live in a bubble because clearly they don’t! And you know what? Not many people would go to the lengths I did to find a business, they would just go to the first one that popped up in Google, I usually do too, but sometimes I’m like a dog with a bone – I don’t give up very easily.

So after finally finding the phone number, I called them and the owner answered the phone so I told him about my difficulties finding him on Google and he said “well that’s because they want me to pay and I’m not going to do that”. I was gob-smacked! Lost for words (and that doesn’t happen very often). So I asked him the question about my laptop and promptly hung up.

Now there are a few things going on here for this guy;

  • Firstly he doesn’t know that a Google Places listing is FREE – yep, zero, zip, nothing. Now I understand that lots of business owners don’t know that, but I would expect a geek that owns a computer repair business to know this.
  • It begs the question – What else is he behind in? What else doesn’t he know that he should know?
  • Secondly, What’s wrong with paying to get customers? Did he really think that all he had to do was pay  some rent in the main street and instantly customers would come flocking in? If you put an ad in the local paper, isn’t that paying to get customers? An ad in the Yellow pages, isn’t that paying to get customers? BUT refer back to my first point – Google Places listings are FREE.
  • If you really don’t know how to do anything online, you might want to pay someone (like us) to do it for you, but if you are a bit tech-savvy you should be able to do it yourself. Of course there are lots of little hints and tips that a professional could help you with, but the listing is FREE.

So what’s so great about a Google Places listing? Here’s a screenshot of a search I did for “Plumber Parramatta” The listings with A, B, C etc on the right, are Google maps/places listings.

Google Maps Listings

These businesses are all on the FIRST PAGE of Google with their Places listing – these listings have a website linked to their listing, but it’s not necessary, if they didn’t have a website they would just have their Google Maps listing. The searcher doesn’t care if they have a website or not – they just want a Plumber!

So how does it work? Several things are at play when you type something into the Google search box;

  • Google knows where your computer is (perhaps not exactly but they have an approximate location). Now don’t start with the whole “Big Brother” thing – it’s just the way it is now.
  • When you type a suburb at the end of your query, Google will “serve up” the local businesses in that suburb (as in the above search), if you just type in “Plumber” you will get a more broad result – in this case we got Plumbers in Sydney (below). Most people who use Google for finding local businesses know this and will usually put the suburb on the end.

Plumbing Parramata

So, how many people use Google search to find local businesses? Last month (Oct 12) there was approximately 400 people searching for “Plumber Parramatta” – now think about it – someone going to Google and typing this in is most probably looking for a plumber NOW.

That’s the big difference between putting Google and ANY other medium. Let me explain, you would usually only search Google for a plumber (or any local business) when you actually need them, like in my computer repair shop example above.
So in our Plumber example, that’s 4,800 potential new customers each year searching for a Plumber in Parramatta – not bad at all.

I wonder how many new customers you are missing out on each year?