Anybody who has used Google Maps lately may have noticed from a few to hundreds of red dots on the maps in addition to the usual place markers. If you want to get a first hand glimpse of this go to Google and click on the Maps tab. Once you are in Google Maps, search “locksmith NYC”. You will see the entire island of New York City buried in red dots. Each of these dots represents the location of a locksmith. There must be one on every corner and few in between.
The locksmith dots in New York City is an extreme example. However, you will be seeing these annoying little red circles showing up in almost all of your searches in Google maps. Some people are asking what do these red dots mean and what are their significance.
The red dots are a Google “improvement” to Google Maps. And the idea actually makes sense. Prior to the red dots Google only listed the top ten search results. If you were searching for a shoe repair in New York City, Google would return the top ten search results that Google determined to be the most relevant to your search phrase. Of the top ten search results the closest one might be a couple of miles away across town. So you go out and get in a cab and are whisked away to the shoe repair shop. However, what you may not have known was that there was a shoe repair a block and a half away in walking distance in the other direction.
So Google tried to remedy this by introducing the red dots to show other locations. The place markers are still there to show what Google believes to be the top ten listings most relevant to your search. But the red dots are also there to show other business that may be relevant to your search but just not relevant enough to be included in the top ten listings.
This is a real benefit to Google map users in many searches in which they just might want to find the closest shoe repair shop. However, business owners should look at this development a little more closely.
For some people these days Google Maps has replaced the Yellow pages. They do all of their comparative shopping online and Google is the search engine of choice. Potential customers are searching everything on Google. Millions of them. If they want to find a pet groomer there are going to go to Google web or maps and enter “pet groomer + their city”. In either search the top ten pet groomers will appear. The maps will display the red dots as well. The important point, dots or not, in most searches the potential customer is really only going to pay attention to the top ten search results. This is where a business should place in the search order if they want to take advantage of the Internet to grow their business and profits.
The good news is that just like websites, map listings can be optimized so that they appear in the top ten search results. Anybody can do it if they know how. Or they can hire a Map SEO which shouldn’t be confused with a web SEO.