Just recently one of our clients asked our opinion on a cold call she received with an offer to optimize her Google Maps account for big money. What the business said they would provide was intriguing to me so we agreed that my client would be my “guinea pig”. What I found out is highly interesting and makes me concerned about anyone spending money on Google Maps optimization at this time.
This is what we did to match the same protocol the Google Maps optimization business said they would provide.
- I set up a domain name on GoDaddy that was keyword dense and used a term that the client did not place on Google Maps for already. I then pointed the domain to the client’s website and masked the domain so that it appeared that the website had the new domain name.
- I set up a GMmail account and tied it to a new Google Maps account. The business was adamant that a GMail account had to be set up as in their words “Google gave preferential treatment to Google Maps accounts that had a GMail email address”. *I just have to say at this point, that this is bunk. I believe that the business wanted the GMail account so that all interaction with Google Maps would be under their control. I have never seen a situation where Google has preferred an account with a GMail email address over a non GMail address.
- I set up a new Google Maps account targeted to highlight the service that the client was not showing for already on Google Maps.
- I then did a phone PIN verification with the client to complete the Google Maps set up.
Now it is important to know that this client had excellent Google Maps placement on all terms and locations except for this one term we used. What happened next may warn you to stay away from businesses that are selling Google Maps Optimization.
In about two weeks or maybe even less the new Google Maps account was showing, but what was concerning was that it had taken over the old account. Now, all Google Maps entries were showing our “bogus” URL! In other words the new account superseded all the placement from the old account. That was particularly concerning to me as the URL did not match the URL on the “real” website.
I took immediate action to correct the problem, but what this shows is that if you already have a Google Maps account and you pay an optimization firm to work over your account, you are not adding to what you have, you are replacing what you have. If the tactic has been to create a “bogus” masked domain that is keyword dense then suddenly your website information does not match your domain and the reader cannot bookmark any of your inside pages.
You do not need optimization to place on Google Maps! In fact paying an optimization firm that is going to perform the functions I have detailed may work to hurt you more than help you by diluting your URL , brand, and confusing the customer with two domain names.
I recommend for Google Maps, setting up an account using your legitimate business domain, email, and location. But I do recommend a monthly review of content, update of coupons, addition of new images and in general a “laying on of the hands” on all content there. By keeping your information fresh you can place well on Google Maps.
For businesses that currently do not place well on Google Maps I recommend updating your content and then setting a schedule to update and freshen content weekly to see if you can get improvement this way.
For businesses that are already on Google Maps and place well, don’t mess with anything except to keep your account fresh. To try to optimize an account to boost placement even further using the optimization techniques that I have tried may actually work to harm your account.