Google tries to beat Yelp at its own game with improved Maps results

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
New and improved Google Maps search results give users more information about businesses that optimize their sites for the semantic web.

Semantic search is important to content marketing because of how varied user search technology is becoming. That’s why marketers have to start looking at overall traffic and engagement trends as indicators of SEO success, rather than number one search rankings. Google’s latest update to its popular Maps functionality, which includes more detailed descriptions and better suggestions for similar alternatives, was likely rolled out in order to compete with popular apps, such as Yelp.

Searchers who look for generic business categories or specific companies in Google Maps on mobile devices will now see much richer results. First and foremost are brief descriptions below company names on maps themselves. Instead of having to click on names for more detailed information, searchers are much more likely to find what they’re looking for quickly the moment they click “search.”

Google Maps: Now with interactive mobile resuts

That’s not all that’s going to be gracing smartphone and tablet screens. Searchers will also see a great deal more functionality and interactivity, such as the ability to make one-click reservations at restaurants via Gmail, as well as suggestions for similar nearby business. This is more evidence that businesses should be giving Google as much information as possible – including up-to-date addresses, photos and links to review sites.

It also demonstrates how seamlessly users are transitioning from predominantly desktop searching to typically mobile queries. As Brafton reported, at least 30 percent of all web traffic is a result of mobile devices – and that number is growing. Google is making it easier for companies to be found online no matter what devices searchers use.

When mobile devices only take customers so far

Another small step for Google on mobile, according to the Google Webmaster blog, is a feature that warns people if a site might be troublesome to view. For example, a site that uses an out-of-date version of Flash won’t be able to display properly on some smartphones.

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Google now gives these users the option learn how to solve the problem or proceed anyways. Not only does this improve UX for searchers – it helps brands audit their SEO and content marketing capabilities. Companies should be conducting site checks and test searches to see how their content appears in SERPs on desktop computers and mobile devices.

Web users are notoriously finicky, often abandoning websites that take longer than four seconds to load – and mobile searchers are even less patient. When brands can’t get their content in front of prospects, and competitors are clearly visible in Maps results and other SERPs, businesses with excellent blog copy or intriguing videos will fall by the wayside.

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