Woman pushing the Google Maps app on her car's Apple CarPlay dashboard.Although this news was hinted at during Google I/O 2018, the official announcement came out at the recent CES 2019 show in Las Vegas: Google Assistant is now available in the Google Maps app for both iOS and Android. This means that it’s available on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and also other new car accessories that were introduced at the show.

Added Functionality For Google Maps Users

With the Google Assistant being embedded in Google Maps, users can start navigation with the familiar “OK Google”. They can play music, share estimated arrival time with contacts, search for a place to stop for a snack along the way and respond to texts without getting kicked out of the Google Maps app. There’s also an easy shortcut command: “Hey Google, take me home”, which will immediately launch Google Maps.

Implications For Search

As voice search continues to grow, it’s important to consider what implications this has for brands and local businesses.

Consider some queries that the Google Assistant might field from a Google Maps user:

  • “OK Google, find a gas station.”
  • “OK Google, where is an Italian restaurant?”
  • “OK Google, find an auto mechanic near me.”

It has been our experience that the Google Assistant reads from the local search pack, so the key to getting your business selected by the Google Assistant is to secure a #1, #2 or #3 local pin map listing for a particular search term.

Not surprisingly, the most important local ranking factor is proximity or distance from the searcher. This isn’t something you can directly control, but what you can do is ensure that your NAP (name-address-phone) information is complete and accurate across the web (i.e. large directory sites, small industry and local directory sites, social media platforms, directory aggregators).

Additional ranking factors are relevance and prominence, more recently referred to as EAT (expertise, authority and trust).

Whatever the name, the goal is the same – ensure your on-page content is descriptive and well-optimized for your service, secure positive customer reviews (trust) and seek out opportunities to grow your company’s image.

Writing informative guest articles for a local site, answering questions in relevant online forums and posting recordings of presentations made to local organizations are all examples of strategies that can (over time) increase expertise. Authority is partially derived from the age of your website, but is also influenced by other factors such as the quality of the websites you post to and reviews you receive. Both authority and trust will increase with positive, quality press. So look for opportunities to get others to start talking about your business.

Have questions about how to improve your local search visibility? Call 443.475.0787 or contact us today!