Google Local Finder VS Google Maps

Back in the day, when we wanted to find a local business, we would pick up a copy of a telephone directory such as the Yellow Pages. 

Now that the world has moved online, so too has the way we search for local services. Namely, we all head straight to Google to find what we’re looking for in seconds, through voice search or by typing a couple of words.

Therefore, to capture as much search engine traffic as possible, key information about your business needs to not only be on your website but also on Google itself. 

That’s because Google has several types of engaging features that can display local businesses, including Google Local Finder and Google Maps. 

Here’s an overview of the differences between Google Local Finder and Google Maps. Plus how either can help your business connect with your target customers online. 

Google Local Finder

Google Local Finder displays information about businesses within a concentrated geographic area, making it easy to find nearby service providers. 

To display Google Local Finder results, users simply have to type in a service and a location. 

For instance, when you type ‘Digital marketing agency Birmingham’ into Google, three local results instantly appear. The eagle-eyed among you will notice ourselves, Distribute Digital in second place! 

Unlike standard plain text results, Google Local Finder generates what’s known as rich results to answer all of the questions that a customer may have about your business. 

This typically includes: 

  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Business opening hours
  • Business directions
  • Website link
  • Map view
  • Customer reviews

Cleverly, this information is instantly displayed within the result itself, meaning users don’t have to start a new Google search to find additional information. 

As Google has selected its top three results based on the quality and relevancy of the business information, getting listed on Google Local Finder is considered prestigious. Overall, this can mean that Google Local Finder results appear more trustworthy than standard SERP results. 

Google Maps

By its very nature, Google Maps is also based on geography. Originally, Google Maps was intended to be a mapping tool that allowed users to find conveniences such as service stations or hotels during a journey. 

While Google Maps can also be used to find local services in the area without being part of a journey, the results displayed are broader rather than being hyper-focused on a small area, as is the case with Google Local Finder. 

Google Maps displays a list of results on a sidebar for desktop users. This means that if users search for ‘Digital marketing agency Birmingham’ through Google Maps, Distribute Digital also appears below the sponsored results as one of the top organic results. 

However, unlike with Google Local Finder, users can keep scrolling through the sidebar to see additional results on Google Maps. This can mean that the results listed aren’t always as relevant in terms of their location or service offering.

Users can also easily scroll in or out to see even more businesses appear on the map, including those in other towns and cities. As we’ve just touched upon, this can also include sponsored results. 

Google Maps also has some major differences in functionality. That’s because Google Maps exists as its own smartphone app. On desktop, users are also required to click ‘Maps’ to access a map result instead of a traditional search result. 

How To Rank In Google Maps?

To get your business appearing on Google Maps, you need to fill out your Google Business Profile including providing all requested details, while ensuring the profile remains regularly updated. 

Other tips to get listed include collecting customer reviews and adding good quality images to your profile, including optimising these images for search. In essence, going that extra mile to show your business is genuine, and that you are looking to provide a relevant and helpful result for search traffic. 

Summary: What’s The Difference Between Google Local Finder And Google Maps?

What we’ve established is that both Google Local Finder and Google Maps use your geographic location as part of the results that are displayed when someone searches for related services in your area. 

However, the key differences between Google Local Finder and Google Maps can best be summarised in terms of how concentrated the geographic area is, the perceived trustworthiness of the results and the overall functionality. 

Specifically, Google Local Finder only displays 3 local businesses on the search engine result page. Each result provides additional information to encourage one-click calls or website visits. It is difficult to rank on Google Local Finder since there are only 3 places available. 

On the other hand, Google Maps is broader in terms of geography and service relevancy. While Google Maps can still generate leads for your business, the results are less personalised to your local area and can include broadly related services or sponsored content rather than precise results. 

Need Help Getting Your Business On Google Maps Or Local Finder?

Explaining the differences between Google Local Finder and Google Maps definitely shows how not all search engine visibility is created equal. 

That said, something that applies regardless is the need for search engine visibility in itself. Google is designed to offer quick and helpful results, making it essential that your business appears as a top result for related searches. 

Ensure your business doesn’t get lost among the competition with award-winning SEO services from Distribute Digital

Get in touch with our SEO experts today for help with any aspect of SEO, including getting found by customers near you through local SEO. 

Keisha - SEO Account Manager

Keisha is a driven SEO Account Manager with a person-centred approach and a degree in Business Psychology from the University of Worcester. Keisha has extensive client service experience and excellent organisational skills.

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