Using Google Maps to Market your Business

Local Search, Google Maps and Business

For marketers and businesses, Google Maps is an extension of SEO. For businesses whose customer base is primarily local, Google Maps may be a more important source of traffic than traditional organic SEO or pay per click marketing.
Lawyers, doctors, hotels and restaurants are all examples of businesses that need a presence on Google Maps to stay competitive.
E-commerce companies, wholesalers, and warehouses usually do not need Google Maps to stay competitive

local search results

local search results

Google Maps and Universal Search
Google maps is an aspect of what is called “universal search”. Google maps attempts to identify businesses close in location to the searcher. If I need a lawyer and search for “lawyer” or I want a pizza and I search for “pizza”, it is likely that a business down the street will be much more relevant than a lawyer in New York or Ukraine.
For certain searches, local results are better.

How does Google know I want a Local Business?
There seems to be at least two conditions that need to be satisfied for Google Maps to be triggered:
1) The search phrase must contain a city name: e.g, San Diego Lawyer, Surgeon in Minneapolis, etc.
2) The search is for a business-related item. You can’t just search for “San Diego X” or “X San Diego”. X has to match a database of words. Lawyer, surgeon, pizza, hotels are all business-related, so Google-Maps triggers if you enter one of these phrases. “San Diego Rattlesnake” does not trigger Google Maps.

What Does This Have to do With My Business?
Submitting your business to Google Maps can help you gain visibility when people perform these “local searches”.

If people see you on Google Maps, they could clickthrough to your website and end up as customers. This has to be the easiest search optimization technique to use to help market your business. Obviously, the “trick” is to do it right.

You only get seen if you are in positions A-J (the top 10).

The Problem
Google has not resigned to the fact that Google maps is the domain of marketers.
As such, they have enforced very strict rules against attempts to optimize Google Maps. More than any other area of search marketing, it is better for you to be conservative- no keyword stuffing.

Submit a map, or hire someone to submit a Google Map for you. If you still desire more visibility, and wish to be aggressive in your marketing, look into altering your SEO and PPC efforts.

Smart Move? Systemax Purchases for $14 Million

Big news in the internet retail world:  Systemax has purchased for $14 million.

Smart move?


Systemax also owns and It is currently number twenty one on the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Rankings are based on revenue generated from online channels in 2008.

Systemax competes with (#9) and BestBuy (#10).

In 2007 generated 1.4 billion dollars of revenue putting it at # 16 on the Internet Retailer 500 list. It had been reported that the online channel had been profitable at the time that Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in January.

If,,,, and NewEgg retained their 2007 marketshare (2007 was the last full year of data I have), Systemax would have a bigger percentage of market then both and BestBuy.

There have been fewer searches for “” in the three months since Circuit City filed for bankruptcy.

I anticipate that this will be a good purchase for Systemax that will quickly pay for itself. The domain name, the brand, and the incoming links all have significant value.

Systemax has not announced how they are going to incorporate into their business plans. At the time of publication the site is down.

Keep Riffraf Out! Add Negative Keywords & Change Settings

Since I only have a limited amount of money to spend on pay-per-click advertising, I want to make sure only potential customers see my ads. If I am paying money each time someone clicks on my ad, I want to keep the riffraff out!
But isn’t it best if more people are exposed to my ads?

No! We don’t want exposure in itself (since we are paying for this exposure); we want exposure to potential customers.
There are really two challenges here:
1) limiting the exposure of your ads so as to save money
2) Only showing your ads to potential customers.
While you may not have experience in the pay per click field with this strategy, you have experienced it in your everyday TV-viewing life.

Filtering by Language and Location
The first large filter in advertising is language. When I am watching TV, I never receive ads from pepsi in Farsi. It is in English. Or your Lingua-Franca. The second large filter is location. I don’t see commercials for British restaurants. Though they speak the same language as I do, the physical distance is too great for me to be considered a potential customer.
This level of filtering in advertising is as simple as it gets. The same rules that apply to TV advertising apply to ppc advertising.

In many cases, you can go right now to your campaigns and click the “off” button for non-English languages, and countries outside the U.S. (or wherever you live). Your conversion rates will improve instantly. Check your settings now.

Filtering by Using Negative Keywords in PPC
Have you ever been watching a football game and there is a commercial for tampons? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is pretty entertaining. This is an example of advertisers wasting money by targeting the wrong audience. This happens ALL THE TIME in ppc advertising.
One of the more difficult aspects of ppc advertising is deciding who I should block from seeing my ads.
I am currently running a campaign for a hotel in Minneapolis*. How would I describe it if I were to be honest with you: It is a small hotel, not luxurious or expensive, not what I would call a 5 star hotel or suite. It is not the type of hotel you would find valet parking or limos.
Notice that I listed several qualities that the hotel lacks. That is not because I am (necessarily) a negative person, it is because this is a tool I use in ppc.  I can now take that list of qualities that my product does not have and add them to the negative (also called excluded) keyword list.
-five star

Now if anyone does a search with any of those words, my ad automatically cannot appear. So if someone searches for “inexpensive Minneapolis hotel with limo” I don’t want to show my ad.
But I have so many of the desirable qualities this person is searching for. Maybe we should show them the ad just in case.

They will find an inexpensive hotel with limo services or they will perform a different search. Perhaps our ad will show up then. We do not want people clicking our ads for services we do not sell.

So, do your campaigns have negative keywords? Think of all the words that DON’T describe your product or business and write them down in a spreadsheet. Add them as negative words. Your conversion rates will improve, your quality scores will improve and you will be spending less.

*Details changed slightly