Google Map Maker and Google My Business both offer important tools for small businesses and are very important for local SEO purposes. Although both are Google products, their rules are not the same. Many are unaware of the differences between the two and how they affect their business’ SEO. Let’s take a look at a few examples that can really alter the user-experience of both products.
If Your Business Moves
Businesses that move can update their information on both platforms, but which is best? In this case, companies should update their information with Google My Business. The difference is that when you update with GMB it allows a business to keep its reviews, posts, followers, and ranking power. With Google Map Maker, the listing must be marked as closed and will not disappear. Often times the older listing has more data supporting it and will actually outrank the new listing, with the older listing displaying a big red “permanently closed” label. This can be catastrophic for businesses as customers search in Map Maker and see the closed status of the older listing that appears higher in search rankings.
Businesses without storefronts can create listings in GMB and hide their address in order to be listed on the map. On the other hand, businesses without storefronts are not allowed and un-verified service area businesses are deleted on Map Maker. These types of businesses should always use GMB to add their listings.
Both GMB and Map Maker guidelines agree on this rule, yet two different outcomes come as a result of reporting duplicate listings. In GMB, a report of a duplicate listing sends a message to the GMB team and they will merge the two entries, redirecting the old URL to the new listing. In contrast, Map Maker asks you to delete any duplicate listings. The latter completely removes the older listing, not allowing for any hidden data that occurs in GMB duplicate listings. For this reason Map Maker is the better platform to delete duplicate listings.
While rebrands aren’t mentioned in GMB guidelines, they do appear in a few of the GMB help pages, in which they instruct the business to update the information on the listing. Map Maker gives two options based on how alike the two names of the businesses are and emphasizes that guidelines are different for businesses claimed by GMB. The better place to update depends on the business. If a business wants customers to see that it is still the same but changed its name, then it should follow GMB guidelines. If a business doesn’t want to be affiliated with the old business name, then the GMB page listing should be deleted and the business marked closed on Map Maker, a new page being created on Map Maker thereafter.
Solo practitioners have very specific rules to follow in Google My Business, while Google Map Maker’s guidelines for professionals doesn’t give any specifics. GMB states that a practitioner that’s part of a larger business needs to create a separate page with the brand’s name and practitioner’s name separated by a colon (Geico Insurance: Patty Smith). Meanwhile, Map Maker guidelines make it seem okay for both Geico and Patty Smith to have a listing. It’s always better to have fewer listings for a better ranking, so in these cases solo practitioners should use GMB and have just one listing with the aforementioned title format.
So there you have it. Depending on what type of business you have, both Google My business and Google Map Maker have their advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you identify the needs of your specific business to determine which platform is best for your business listing, ensuring better local SEO success in the long run.
Data courtesy Joy Hawkins/searchengineland.com