Transcript For Using Driving Directions To Improve SEO and Conversion Rates – 131;
Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am producer Caleb Baumgartner and in this episode Jesse, Bob and Sue discuss the value of creating driving directions through Google to embed into your website to improve your SEO. How does this service help your SEO and how can it help you with customer conversions? We answer these questions and more so stick around. Got a question for the team? Visit us at localseotactics.com/questions to let us know. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host Jesse Dolan here with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg.
Sue Ginsburg: Hi.
Jesse Dolan: Once again the trio is here to answer your SEO questions. Sue, where are you at? I kind of know from looking at it, we just talked about it. Where are you at? And what kind of question are we going to tackle today?
Sue Ginsburg: Today coming to you virtually from beautiful Cannon Falls, Minnesota, because what we’re going to discuss is something that the infamous Jesse Dolan mentioned a few weeks or months ago that we’ve had a lot of questions on and this is to honor your hometown, is that right Jesse? Or just your current town.
Jesse Dolan: Current town and Intrycks/Local SEO Tactics world headquarters officially. So.
Bob Brennan: That’s where we keep the corporate jet.
Jesse Dolan: Yes, right? It’s parked right next to the helicopter. You can see them both on Google Earth I’m sure. So.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s great. So the question today, since Jesse mentioned a few episodes ago that it’s good to get your customers to ask you for directions via Google Maps we’ve had a lot of questions about that. Thank you listeners for hearing what’s mentioned and engaging with us to ask about that, we like that. So today I thought we would talk a little bit more about that with Jesse and Bob asking, how do you get customers to do this? Why do you want customers to do this? How do customers actually do this? And the big one, why is this good for SEO? So quote for today, “If you don’t know where you’re going every road will get you nowhere,” that’s Henry Kissinger’s quote, and a few related ones. Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going how do you know when you’ll get there,” and Lewis Carroll in the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland had a version of this, “If you don’t know where you’re going every road will get you there.” So must be a common theme here because we got a lot of people putting up quotes on it.
Jesse Dolan: Right on.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: That’s a good one.
Sue Ginsburg: I’ll share a personal story that I can fully relate to this topic and I think many people will be able to too. Have you ever called somewhere you’re going, asked for directions and only had that person who answered say, not really sure, I’m new here, I don’t know this neighborhood, whatever, very frustrating. Or have you ever tried to get somewhere you thought you knew where you were going only to realize when you were close that you kind of remembered but that gas station on the corner is not there anymore and couldn’t find it, in most cases getting directions online is more reliable than that, we hope.
So I just came back from a sibling weekend at the Delaware shore and I drove there with my sister and brother-in-law from New Jersey. For the last part of the trip we took the ferry from Cape May to Lewes, Delaware, and we thought we knew the way to Cape May once we got off the exit to get to the ferry terminal and we weren’t finding it. Got a nice little tour of Lewes, Delaware, I mean, of Cape May, New Jersey by the terminal, time is getting short. So after driving around and looking for various signs which were not there my very smart sister said, “Why don’t we look on Google? Why don’t we get directions online?”
Jesse Dolan: Sue you’re an SEO, come on.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s right. I didn’t want to be a backseat driver because that’s where I was sitting, right? Which we did and a few minutes later we were there. So the point is, it’s okay to ask for directions online, in fact, it’s a good idea to ask for directions online and now even better we’ll learn a way for your leads and customers to do that, that will help your website and your business with SEO. So the intention for today’s discussion is to hear another way your customers can get directions online, a way that will help your business with SEO. As business owners all of our listeners have a lot of things to think about, this may not be at the top of your list and may not be your expertise. So while you’re busy being the leader of your company and moving it forward, let us be your SEO experts and Bob and Jesse I’ll toss it to you, let’s see what you can tell us about the benefits and the values for SEO purposes getting your customers to ask you for directions on not just Google but Google Maps.
Jesse Dolan: Bob, I’m going to share my screen here in a second and kind of show people just a few of the quick processes on how to be able to do this. But as Sue was talking maybe your mind was going there too, we’ve talked before, we’ve been business partners for decades now and before we really leveraged phones and driving directions on devices it was you would read to customers over the phone how do you get to my location, right? And we had scripts because, to Sue’s point, people would ask, how do I get to your location? Right? And we had to script that out because different people would answer the phone.
Yeah, this is the route, right? This is the road, you get on this highway, are you coming from the north of the south? Right? No back roads, depending on traffic, whatever, just clear and concise because it was tricky. And it’s one thing when people find you online but then if they can’t find you physically in-person, right? You have to convert that last step there so it’s a real thing. Now fast forward here in 2021, it’s a lot easier with Google, to Sue’s point, to find that ferry or to find that repair shop or whatever it is, the bakery, we want to use our resources online. So I’m going to share my screen quick here.
Bob Brennan: And it’s subjective, right? So different people are going to say, well, follow the blue bird and go past the gray tree and whatever so it needs to be definitive and that’s where this comes into play, so it’s pretty handy.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, you really can’t go wrong. Not that the navigation is perfect but it’s going to be way better than trying to communicate it as human beings here. So really it’s probably three main things you’re going to break down real quick, this is all pretty simple but three distinctly different reasons for doing it here. So first, we’re going to link to this in the show notes of the page, just like all episodes we have the transcript, we have the audio, we have the video and then we have any resources we mention, you can check it out on localseotactics.com. And you get a link to this, this is right from Google, this is how to share a map with driving directions or embedded map. So this is one tactic with SEO is to create a map with predefined driving directions and a basic kind of overview here is if let’s just say wherever you’re located in the center of the city to pick a point on the north, west, east, and south and create four different maps.
Here I’m using our Minnesota State Capitol and doing directions from the Xcel Energy Center which is where the soon to be world champion Minnesota Wild play all their home games, yes. So what you would do on this is, this doesn’t really help somebody out, if I’m looking to get to the Capitol but I’m not at the Xcel obviously this isn’t going to just drive me there, right? But what this does is if you create this map and embed it on your webpage you’re putting content on your page that’s showing Google people from these quadrants coming here, right? You’re kind of giving these inferences of here’s the products and service we have to offer, here’s the geographic area we’re looking to serve, and then people will come from north, south, east, west to kind of get here, right?
So for this you’re going to go into Google Maps, just pull up your location, I think everybody has kind of done this in one sense, but you add your destination, you add your departure, place where you’re leaving from, put it in here and you’re going to get something that looks familiar to us with these driving directions. Now up in this top left corner we see a little hamburger menu, whatever you want to call it, if you click on it and if we scroll down it says share or embed map, if we click embed map then it’s going to give us this iframe. You just copy this code right here, there’s even a button it says copy HTML, you would then just paste this into your website. If you’re using WordPress you just open up your page in WordPress edit it and paste this in, or have your web developer do it, whatever. So all you have to do is copy and paste this code into your site, put it in the right spot, right? So I’m not making this seem stupid simple but you don’t have to develop this map.
You don’t have to code this map however else, you just input your directions into the Google Maps, follow the process, again click this, click to embed map, copy the HTML, put it in, do it north, east, south, west, kind of whatever you want. I’m not saying this is the secret thing to catapult your website into the number one position but this is a tactic that’s used for SEO to help draw relevancy from other parts of the metro area to your business. Another thing you can do here is, also if you go to Google Maps and again, just pull up the Minnesota State Capitol here. Now, in this case we’re going to be embedding a map into your website again, just the same thing, it’s going to be an easy thing to copy and paste, but we’re not sharing predefined directions.
So in this case here, and I’ll show you a little bit what it looks like, you just go to Google Maps, you type in let’s say your business here, right? I’m using the Minnesota State Capitol for an example, pull up your business, there’ll be this button here that says share, you want to click on that, and same thing, you’re going to look for this where it says embedded map. We’re going to come back to this send a link here in a second for the third thing. But you just click here for embedded map, copy this HTML and embed this into your website. Now you don’t need to do north, east, south, west, if you’re going to do this there might be too many options for your web visitors and your prospects, but this one here is going to be better for allowing people to then get directions from wherever they’re at. If you can see on here it says directions, this graphic we see right here which is moveable on your website, this would be live, this would be what people see.
While on this one here just to kind of contrast these two options to be clear what I’m showing, this first map we’re embedding it’s got these predefined directions, right? You can’t select your location, while on this one you click this button for directions, it’s going to pop up on your screen or on your phone if you’re on mobile and you’re going to enter in your location, or usually it’s going to pick your location if your location services is on with your phone, and then you’re going to follow these directions to get to your said location, right? Now, there’s a big benefit here. So we’re going to go through three examples of sharing driving directions here, we’ve gone through two already, add onto that with all of these, there’s two overall things we’re looking to accomplish here for SEO. One of them is on page, by adding these embedded maps to your web pages you’re providing information about navigation directions, geo relevance for the city, things like that, you’re helping the actual webpage itself for content and for hopefully potential SEO ranking.
The other benefit we’re getting by doing this is off page, it’s more of signals we’re sending to Google. And the big thing we’re doing here is if we can have our clients and our prospects use Google Maps, right? Instead of, I have an iPhone, I’m an iPhone user, that has Apple Maps embedded, right? By default, if I’m using navigation I’m using Apple Maps. Well, if we’re providing our prospects and our clients with the Google Maps driving directions as the thing to navigate, now Google is aware that there’s a person traveling from point A to your business, your location, that’s a signal that people are visiting, people are patronizing you, right? They’re literally traveling and Google can see where they’re coming from and they’re getting to your business. If you just kind of extrapolate that out over the course of the days, weeks, months, Google will start to see, wow, they pull people from 30 miles away, from 20 miles away.
This is a way to show Google that people are actually engaging with your business, real-world signals, and hopefully increase your proximity even too, right? This will benefit your website ranking and your GMB ranking if this happens, if you’re lucky enough to have it happen and actually go as we’re talking about enough people using it. So those are the two benefits on-page and off-page, the off page is just the fact that people are using Google for the driving directions. Now the third way of leveraging all this is back to this send the link here if I click on this on the screen if you were to copy and paste this. Bob something we’ve started doing, I talked at the front side of this about, we used to have scripts for people to tell you how to get to the various locations for service and for product purchases, now we send out texts, right? We have some systems built into place when somebody calls in, we’ll send a text with all the information they need and also a link for directions.
This is the kind of thing you’re going to want to include in that text or if you’re emailing a client how to get to where I’m at, email them that link which I just closed, an accident here for everybody, email them this link and hopefully this will cause them to use Google navigation instead of Apple built in. I should say most Android devices, unless somebody kind of overwritten it, by default you’re going to use Google driving directions. So when I’m kind of saying this to leverage it we’re probably talking mainly to iPhone users, right? At that point, which is a huge segment of the market, I don’t say that in any kind of minimalizing kind of way. But sharing the driving directions with this Google link is going to cause again people to use Google navigation to get to your business and give Google those real world signals that people are engaging with you and in a roundabout indirect way that’s going to give you some SEO juice that you’re going to like.
Bob Brennan: Jesse, is that how Google on certain parts I think of the GMB it’ll say, these are their busiest hours? So Google is taking those data of you getting there and they’re compiling it and saying, okay, this store its busiest hours are from here to here, they’re making the assumption that once people have reached that destination that they’re locked in and walking through your door so therefore they’ll display your busiest hours, they assume that data is relevant there.
Jesse Dolan: Not just that, I would say it’s one of the things, right? Anything Google can track it’s going to be a part of that, right? Exactly. The Dr. evil pinky there just for anybody listening not watching.
Bob Brennan: We can’t quote the Bible but we got, Ricky Bobby, Austin Powers, the classics.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. It’s pretty much the trifecta right there, you got your Bible and your movie references. But basically, on your GMB you can click to call, right? So Google can record the phone, not record the phone calls in a literal sense but log the phone calls, I should say, same thing with driving directions. They had a deal, I’m trying to remember the name of it now, but you could put a little thing in your store and when people walked in it would kind of ping Google that somebody walked in, right? I forget the name of the device.
However they can measure interaction in these real world signals, yeah, it’s going to make a difference on the busy hours and those kinds of stats and all are very important. Again, we talk all the time about, man, if you don’t have a GMB use one, Google gives it to you for free, the more information you can feed into Google the more they’re going to know about you so on and so forth. Same thing here, driving directions is a great way to not only make it easier for clients, right Bob? From a conversion standpoint and cause less confusion, but you’re going to get the SEO benefits out of it too.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And people have been telling me where to go all my life.
Jesse Dolan: That’s a whole different conversation.
Bob Brennan: Particularly my wife. So I’m an expert in this area so you really don’t want your people tied up giving directions, that’s the other piece is labor getting tied up. You won’t think it’s a big deal but five minutes at a time six times an hour or whatever the deal is, the next thing you know all they’re doing is giving directions. And again, it’s subjective and if it isn’t heard right and they don’t tell it right, now you have a frustrated customer who’s lost, they still may do business with you but they walk in the door frustrated and on and on it goes. So try not to tie up your team this way either, I mean, send it out. And I don’t know, you could probably email Jesse on some of the software that’s out there that allows your people from a computer that are taking the call to shoot a text with directions or whatever the case is.
Jesse Dolan: That’s a great point Bob. Everybody listening, we do have some stuff we put together if you have people that come to you, we don’t have any fancy product name or even kind of product for this, but basically send a text message to them after you’re done with the call, you can give them the information, maybe you give them a quote, some kind of information, maybe a coupon, whatever it is, you can send them a text with that, with your phone number, business hours, link for driving directions, kind of all that stuff.
Basically a way to reside on their phone and their device and not just in their mind post-call. And we’re saying text because of course you could email all this but, I think I read something just the other night, average business worker gets a hundred and some emails per day, right? You aren’t getting a 100 texts. So being on a text makes you more accessible for us, it’s in your pocket, but then so much less clutter, right? You’re just not dealing with all the other emails. So yeah, if anybody is interested in exploring some of that, it’s kind of a custom development for us, but if you’re fielding a lot of phone calls and dealing with a lot of in-person transactions it’s super helpful, right? Super helpful. So.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Sue Ginsburg: I want to give props to you two in that business even getting this set up, I’m thinking, if I called to ask a question and I hung up and I was sent directions and whatever else, that has never happened to me, I’d be impressed with that business and to Bob’s point, if I was calling around a few different ones, well, yeah, that’s going to be the one that stands out in my mind.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. Which is another benefit of it, you’re absolutely right Sue.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And you have that opportunity to coupon the person. So if you’re in a highly competitive service and you know they’re going to call their people you got one shot to win their business and if that’s residing on the palm of their hand and all prices are pretty close but you give a free donut when you come in, well, I’m going to go get the free donut along with whatever if I’ve never used you before. And so I think it’s a great way to not have your people tied up there’s just so many upsides of it.
Sue Ginsburg: Or even just to say, ask for Bob when you come in or tell us you called and use this text, you’re engaging with them and it’s very user-friendly, customer friendly, and I think it’s great from that standpoint, plus all the other reasons, really good.
Bob Brennan: I don’t know, man, I don’t know how many times, Sue, people have come into our store with a broken phone and it’s got our driving directions and the texts we send them.
Sue Ginsburg: Unbelievable. I mean, do you know any other businesses who do this?
Bob Brennan: No, but if I was a restaurant owner, I’d just listened to the calls. I mean, if you record your calls and you’re a restaurant owner you’d hear what people are asking again and again and again and again and again, I got to believe, where are you located? What are your directions? Are you busy? Dah, dah, dah. And it’s about good communication, it’s like, the older I get the more doctor appointments I go to and I’m always going to text them a day before, you know what I mean? It’s just good communication back and forth.
And I think there’s a myriad of businesses that could do that maybe on the backside as well in terms of, here’s a quick survey or here’s a coupon the next time you come in or something. You’ve got that information as long as you use it judiciously and you’re not overwhelming them with messages, for sure on that front side, directions, making sure they’re not frustrated. They’re already frustrated that they need your service to begin with, if you talk them down a bit and get them in the door relaxed ready to work with you or whatever the case is, any business that involves that scenario I think would benefit.
Jesse Dolan: All right. Sue, do you want to lead us to the wrap up?
Sue Ginsburg: If you remember one thing and one thing only, remember that having your leads and customers get directions through Google Maps can help you on page and off page and can help your SEO which can help you get found by more people searching for your services, which will help you get more business online and that’s what every business wants. So again, quote of the day appropriate for this one, “If you don’t know where you’re going every road will get you nowhere,” or “If you don’t know where you’re going how do you know when you get there,” or “If you don’t know where you’re going every road will get you there.”
Jesse Dolan: Figure out where you’re going, use driving directions, right? That’s the lesson. Thanks for facilitating and setting up the question Sue, thanks for the awesome backdrop of the world headquarters town there. If you’re out there listening, if you’ve got a question you want us to answer go to localseotactics.com, scroll down to the bottom, click the link to submit a question. Sue is going to grab that, we’re going to talk about it on the show, answer your question for you and everybody else who’s probably thinking the same thing. And if you want to call in for that question we’re going to send you off a free t-shirt and play the audio on the show as well. Thanks for your input and insight Bob as well, I think this is a great topic for everybody and we’ll probably have some follow ups down the road to expand on it even further, it’s a pretty good trick. So all right everybody, thanks for checking us out and we’ll catch you on the next episode. Okay.