Until recently, map apps could only really help users if they had an active Internet connection. Before the update to Google Maps in February of this year, Google Maps limited users’ offline capabilities to features like zooming and panning.
Now, as long as users have previously downloaded a map for a certain area, they can access a full array of features offline. Analysts expect the update to generate even more search traffic to Google Maps, making it more important than ever for HVAC companies to optimize their Maps’ presence.
What’s Different about the New Maps
The latest update to Maps will allow users to search for specific addresses, look up information about destinations (e.g., hours, customer ratings, and contact information), and receive turn-by-turn directions without an Internet connection. Once Maps’ users download a map of the area online, the app will go into offline mode whenever they go into an area without Internet service.
Google periodically updates its maps as well, so the maps provided in offline mode should still be current. As soon as users come back into a service area, Maps switches back into online mode.
Here are just some of the other new features that Google has rolled out recently:
- Driving Mode: This feature cross-references your search history and your current location to predict where you want to go. Android users got access to this feature in January, and it’s likely that Google still is testing it for iOS devices.
- Pit Stops: With this new feature for iOS (released at the end of February), you can search for locations of interest without having to exit navigation mode. Android users received this feature back in October.
- Popular Times: Rolled out in mid-December, this feature enables consumers to see when stores, restaurants, and other local businesses are at their peak operating hours.
What the Update Means for HVAC and Home Services Companies
Because users can now navigate to and search for businesses without a constant Internet connection, SEO experts expect the Google Maps’ update to generate considerably more search traffic to the app. The same is true for the other features — as Google introduces more and more functionality to its maps, it’s a sure bet that consumers will be turning to Google Maps more and more for a variety of traditional search needs.
As a result, for HVAC and home service companies, having an optimized Google My Business listing is critical. More and more, the information and impressions that users glean from their searches will come from the Maps app.
You’ll see that this update will drive more users to seek out your business through Maps. The LeadBuilderⓇ local search team can help you capitalize on this additional traffic by making sure your business is visible on Google Maps and available when customers search for you.
Krystina Lisi is s Local Search Strategist at Mediagistic. She’s an Internet enthusiast with a passion for Google Maps, YouTube, and Social Media. She also is an amateur photographer and Netflix binge-watcher who enjoys 90s sitcoms and sketch comedy. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @krystinalisi.