Straight From The Pros

How Google Maps Explore Feature Can Benefit Your Business

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Digital Marketing, Local SEO

Google Maps is the world leader for online maps, being used by millions of individuals on a daily basis to help them get where they need and desire to go. In the past year, Google has really put a high emphasis on new end-user engagement features within the maps platform. These new features continue to strengthen the platform’s end-user engagement that helps businesses attract new customers and increase their brand awareness. 

Explore Nearby Carousel

Google map’s “Explore Nearby” section enables users to find things from several categories that include restaurants, coffee shops, bars, events, hotels, parks and gas stations in your area. The Explore Nearby section drills down even further into a photo link carousel that includes:

  • dog-friendly restaurants
  • cocktail bars
  • outdoor drinking
  • outdoor dining
  • historic places
  • history museums
  • botanical gardens
  • amusement centers


The carousel (the line of horizontal scrolling images and text) is constantly changing with different categories generating on a daily basis. Google Maps explore algorithm will cater categories to your specific area. Google maps explore algorithm even compiles lists of places trending weekly in your area, upcoming events, best places for selfies, must-see attractions and where to eat and drink this week. These are all amazing opportunities clients can utilize to bring in more business. 

Where to Eat & Drink This Week Section

The where to eat and drink this week section shows the top 3 restaurant options and includes a see more button that includes an additional 16 more restaurants.  The 19 restaurants are actually compiled together by Google lists called The Foodie list. Below the list it says  “where food lovers are eating right now, based on visits and the latest ratings.” The top 3 restaurants all have at least a 4.7 aggregate and high-quality images.  The rest of the restaurants have a minimum review aggregate score of 4.2, high-quality images of their dishes, interior, exterior and menus. Review volume is not necessarily important. It does not appear that you need to be a restaurant or bar that’s been in business for a long time to be on this list because we found a business that has only been open for 4 months.

Lists made by Google

Google’s lists in the Explore section of Google Maps includes three categories city guides, food & drink and things to do. End-users have the options to follow the entire list, share City guide lists are created by Google local guides, which anyone can be as long as you actively review and engage with businesses and places on Google maps. This adds another authority to searches as they can see what actual people recommend instead of relying on Google’s algorithm. The food & drink list is very robust in terms of categories with 14. Restaurants get on the lists because they are the highest-rated and best places in the area. One of the 14 sections this week is veteran-led restaurants “In honor of National Veterans Small Business Week, we’re highlighting these standout restaurants & cafés all owned by veterans. #GrowWithGoogle #NVSBW.” All of the veteran-owned restaurants have at least a 4.0 aggregate score and high-quality images of their food.

The things to do section works identical to the food & drink section as far as Google picking the highest rated places in the area. All of the listings have an aggregate 4.2 score and high-quality images. From my research, Google does not have a designated amount of businesses in each list, as all the lists are from 5 to 20 locations.  

Events Section 

When hovering over the events section, it shows three events one happening today, one tomorrow, and one on Friday. By clicking the see more events button there is a discover more events carousel that is broken down into several categories. The categories include concerts, festivals, shows, nightlife, food & drink, comedy, arts, music, and dance. From my research, Google is gathering events from the business’s websites and none of the businesses are posting about those upcoming events.  

Businesses can really benefit from being included in Google’s maps Explore interface. When looking into the businesses that are included in Google’s best-of lists there are few noticeable similarities. Businesses with an aggregate score of 4.2, and have high-quality images and has future events listing on their site have the ability to end up of the weekly-generated best-of lists and upcoming events.  

V Digital Services is one of the few agencies that has a dedicated local SEO team who are all very passionate about utilizing their several years of collective experience to take businesses local listings to the next level in terms of views and engagement. For top of the line service and customer-centric philosophy, V Digital Services is the agency for all of your local needs!