Here we are coasting along peacefully in the digital marketing world. We have a set of tactics that work for ourselves and for our clients. We come along nicely and then the Google storms begin to hit, tossing and turning our serene navigation; making havoc and turning everything upside down.

But dum de dum dum…we’ve gotten a bit smarter too. Now we’ve got someone on the continual lookout, waiting for those Google changes to take place… and today we want to mention a change that could rock the boat for a lot of businesses out there.

It looks like that cool little secret…the one that let so many customers actually find a local business is changing. Yes, I’m talking about Google Maps. Today, more than 1,115,421 sites and apps use Google Maps to help improve their visibility to customers. Currently, sites are capped at 25,000 map views per day; a fact that doesn’t affect too many of us, just a few thousand sites.

What Happens if You Hit the Cap?

Well, you’ll have pay google for map use. Currently, there are only a few thousand sites that need pay for the Google Map service…but that may soon change, and we all may be paying for first page listings too soon.

Are outreach services good for Google Maps?

Getting listed on google maps is relatively much easier now but if you’re looking for citations and appearing on top of your competitors, it’s essential to engage in some kind of optimization campaign. Of course, you can’t bombard your listing with citations but you can use them in a smart way. So that’s one thing you should consider when it comes to Google listings.

That Doesn’t Affect Me Right?

Well, at one point you might have thought this wouldn’t affect your small business…but alas, Google is in constant change, and now YOU, the small guy may be affected.

A new Google program threatens to completely wipe out the opportunity for businesses to appear organically through Google maps on the search engines. Google seems bent on replacing the free maps listing with paid listings now. Up until now it has only affected businesses such as plumbers and locksmiths and only in certain regions…but it’s a change that seems to be quickly expanding to take on many different locations.

In these testing locations, the traditional free maps listing has been replaced with new approved ad listings, which means no more free listings for local businesses. This means local businesses will have no advantages over the national chain websites that tend to naturally list better ona Google first page…unless that is, they pay Google.

Are There Benefits?

Yes, there are some benefits to consumers as Google now has a program of background checks, mystery shopping and license checks. This is set to ensure that users of the new paid listings are protected.

Will It Work?

Apparently, Google is also wondering whether this new system will work. It will be interesting to see if this new program is accepted by small businesses.

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