Google Maps Goes Indoors – Will This Impact Local SEO?

Google has announced that they have begun mapping indoor spaces, namely places like airports and malls. Starting this past Tuesday (November 29th) indoor mapping is available in the palm of your hands, helping you, as Google says, “determine where you are, what floor you’re on, and where to go indoors.”

Check out their promotional video:

To make this happen, Google has partnered with some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the United States and Japan. You can see the full list of partners on their help center. At present, it includes nearly 20 airports, as well as several Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Home Depots and Ikeas around the USA. Shopping malls that are currently participating include the Mall of America in Minnesota, Vallco Shopping mall in Cupertino, CA and Eagle Rock Plaza in Los Angeles, CA.

Google is also encouraging people to upload floor plans of their buildings and locations, and that raises the question:

Will businesses that participate in the indoor mapping project get a foot up in search engine optimization (SEO), especially when it come to business listings in Google Places?

Ranking well for local queries is essential for local businesses to gain an advantage over competitors. As more and more people are turning to the web to shop locally, and using mobile devices to do so, it seems inevitable that inclusion in the indoor mapping project would contribute to an advantageous placement during local searches.

After all, it strengthens the accuracy of information about a particular business (and it’s exact location) and Google has always said that the most important thing for them is providing relevant and accurate data. That is, in theory, what the tweaking of their algorithms has always sought to do…to create the most relevant search matches.

So, while it is cool that you can find your way around an airport without having to find a directory, as a marketer and business consultant, I plan to advise clients located in malls or airports, or who have multiple floors in large buildings, to participate as soon as possible. It just might be the extra thing that puts you a notch above your competitors. And for companies, organizations or universities with sprawling campuses, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get involved…the advantages of participating are practically innumerable!

There’s still plenty of time though. It’s still the early stages. Indoor mapping is an exclusive service for Android operating systems.

But it’s only a matter of time before iPhone users will have access too.

And we all know…this is going to be big!

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