Google Maps has updated its mobile app for both the Android and iOS platforms. Though the first thing users will notice is likely to be the app's fresh new look — it incorporates material design, as Search Engine Journal notes — there are plenty of other new features under the hood, including a new live search results feature and instant one-touch reservations. Though these updates certainly make life more convenient for average users, local businesses can really benefit from these additions in some tangible ways.
Helping Users Find You With Up-to-Date Information
One of the best ways that the Google Maps app update helps to bring new customers to your business is discovery through simple browsing. Users looking at a planned route or trying to check out a local area will be able to browse local businesses and get instant information on any selected business with a single tap — no searching required! However, in order to get the most out of this feature, local businesses must ensure that their directory information is correct and easily available. Double-check that sites that list your business have your correct address, phone number and hours and a link to your official website. Also, ensure that your official website is updated with photos, business descriptions and social networking information.
Reviews and Your Business
No matter what business you're in, chances are good that someone out there has left a review at some point. From fine dining establishments to local comic book shops, users have come to rely on sites like Yelp and reviews on Facebook and Google + to learn more about businesses before they even leave home. As part of the recent update, users who select a business can see recent reviews from sites like TripAdvisor as well as those from social networks. Though it's impossible to make sure that all reviews are positive, encouraging faithful customers to review your business will ensure that those looking to find out more information about your business via Google Maps get an accurate picture of what your business is all about.
One-Touch Convenience for Restaurant Reservations
Restaurants in particular can benefit from the most recent update, as hungry app browsers can make dining reservations right from the app through a partnership with reservation service OpenTable. If your restaurant uses OpenTable, users will already be able to make reservations directly from Google Maps. If you aren't using the OpenTable reservation service, it may be worth considering. Being able to learn about a restaurant and then instantly make a reservation encourages impulse reservations and could lead to increased traffic from first-time customers.
Google Maps' new update brings a lot to the table for local businesses. Having one-touch access to information about local businesses is a great way for consumers to find new places to shop and dine. Local businesses can take advantage of this new feature by ensuring all their online directory information is correct and encouraging consumers to leave reviews so that others can find your business. Dining establishments can also see additional benefits from using the OpenTable reservation system, as the in-app one-touch reservation ability could be a game-changer.