Pimp Your Icon: Google Maps Experiments With Sponsored Listings

Thu, Mar 25, 2010

Business Tactics

One rapidly evolving spectrum of search engine optimization is the emerging trend of offline businesses to claim their stake in the online market, a stake that grows more valuable as the internet grows from its infancy. One characteristic of this trend is the use of Google Maps, and like every other aspect of the internet marketing world, it is a platform that is rapidly changing.

Just recently, a Google Maps addition emerged on the Australian homefront as Google put a coming feature to the test. Known as Google Sponsored Map Icons, this is an interesting new way to let businesses pay for additional coverage for their business.

Currently, listings get a simple icon depending on the type of business, and then certain landmarks have special icons that you can click to access to photos or additional information. The purpose of the special landmark icons is easy navigating in the real world when using the map, whether on a laptop or cell-phone. It helps users to acclimate to the surrounding area.

But there was no icon available to make your website stand out more when looking at the map or give more information about your business, unless the viewer used your listing to get direct access to your web page. With the Google Sponsored Map Icons being implemented in The Land of Oz, this is now starting to change.

The icons are typically based on the company logos, though it is not quite clear yet what kind of guidelines are given for icon creation. This can serve two purposes. For one, you will see when you start to notice these, should they be successful in Australia (I think they will be), that they definitely stand out, giving instant visibility on the actual maps.

The second benefit is that it also gives your business the opportunity to get a little brand recognition to viewers immediately, and if that brand directly correlates with your storefront on the street, it makes it easier for people who find you via maps to find you in the real world.

More businesses are realizing just how valuable, if not imperative, it can be to have a map position now, and this is simply another way to stand apart from the crowd as having that position becomes the status quo rather than a savvy business move. How else with this trend evolve?

I envision the Google Maps platform to increase in creativity in the future, with increasingly more exotic and outrageous icons in order to generate attention. Of course, Google tends to put a cap on things before they get too out of control, but I think it is definitely bound to be yet another interesting SEO frontier, as well as another reflection of how much our world is changing.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.