Just last month Google launched a new version of the Google Maps app for both Android and iOS, and as of this week they just announced that even more new features that will be added to the app. With so much focus put on mobile lately, it’s important that companies are not falling behind. New features announced from Google almost always mean a modified strategy for small businesses, and mobile is no exception (definitely no exception). According to the Google announcement, over one billion people use Google Maps services every month.

Business owners need to make sure they are up to date on the latest practices and then make sure that their business website is in line with these new features. What are users seeing differently than before, and how can a business website adapt and optimize in response?

How the New Google Maps App Works

As discussed above, the last two months have brought many changes to the Google Maps App. The first changes focused on user experience whereas the second set of changes focused more on businesses and how to help businesses earn visibility. Below explains some of the new features that were released:

Changes from July:

  • No need to type. Now all you need to do is tap the search box to see many different places to eat and shop in your area. Of course this tap feature doesn’t know what type of business you’re searching for, but it pulls up the most popular.
  • Traffic conditions. The current way traffic conditions work is still in tact, but now you can tap the accident you see on your map to learn details about the incident. Was it just a small bump in the road, or a huge accident?
  • Tablet design. All of the features of the newly improved app are not easier seen on tablets, both iPads and Android.
  • Offers. You can discover offers from restaurants and other companies right on the map.

Changes from August:  

  • No more check-ins. Starting on August 9, there are no more check-ins. However, you will be able to see check-ins and get involved with location sharing on Google+ for Android (and soon iOS).
  • “Get Location Details.” At the bottom of the page, relevant ads now show up on a Google Maps search on the app. You can tap or swipe the ad to get more information.
  • Save business information. If you click on one of the ads described above, you can save their business information, share with a friend, or start navigation to that business.

Top Reasons a Business Can Benefit from the New Google Maps App

The changes made in August affect businesses greatly for a few different reasons:

First, it allows ads to pop up right as someone is searching for a business. You’re getting your ad placed in front of users right as they are ready to make a decision, which isn’t something you can guarantee when you’re working with desktop ads.

Second, users are able to find something they weren’t searching for initially. Now that ads pop up at the bottom of the screen and suggestions when you tap the search bar, your business has a real fighting chance at getting noticed if your listing is optimized and popular.

Third, you can stay connected to users easier (and vice versa). Every listing now includes a “save” button so mobile users can save businesses they might find interesting for a later date. In the end, these updates really are for businesses as much as they are for users.