Google has made Google Maps more personal and social.
In a recently published blog post, Google announced that users can save locations to personalized lists and share those lists with others through social networks, email, and messaging apps. For example, someone planning a trip to the SxSW festival in Austin might want to create an “Austin Night Life” and “Austin BBQ Joints” list and store Google Maps destinations ahead of their visit for easy access when exploring the city during the event. The lists could be stored offline if needed and shared with other friends attending SxSW to do some planning together.
Our take: this development underscores why it’s so important for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations to manage their location data and content effectively. Businesses that maintain accurate location data and compelling content will enjoy a multiplier effect when someone shares the business’s information with other users through social and messaging apps. But businesses that do a poor job managing their online identity will pay for their lack of attention many times over.
- Make sure you claim and optimize your Google listing via Google My Business.
- Ensure your location data is correct.
- Include quality photos that encourage people to visit your location. (Per Google, “Businesses with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their websites.”)
It’s also interesting to speculate what this development means to the future of Google Maps. I would not be surprised if Google eventually incorporates into its ranking algorithms information about businesses stored in personal lists as well as titles of personal lists, thus putting more power into the hands of users. It’s also not unreasonable for Google to use personal lists to suggest things to do and places to go, akin to a vacation suggestion via algorithm. Or, Google could repurpose list data for its Google destinations product. After all, we know two things with certainty about Google:
- Google wants to create an end-to-end experience that keeps users on Google.
- User data is king. Google is always looking for ways to put user data to work. And personal lists are a treasure trove of user preferences based on data.
Whatever happens down the road, brands can prepare themselves by getting the basics of local data and content management right. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.