Tuesday, June 8, 2010
"Google's Local Business Center: A Major Update & A New Name -'Places'"
By Merle http://MerlesWorld.com
If you have a brick and mortar store, and rely on walk-in
traffic for your survival, you may be wondering
what the Internet can do for your business. Believe
it or not, a lot - and you don't even need a website.
In the "old days", the bulk of businesses relied on
the Yellow Pages to get the phone ringing. The majority
of marketing dollars were spent getting listed in this
ten pound paperweight. With the popularity of the Net,
less people let "their fingers do the walking" when they
need something, and more are letting their mouse do
Online search has gone mainstream when it comes to
searching for local businesses. Google states that
73% of searches are done for local content. Another
study by BIA/Kelsey and Constat report that 97% of
consumers use online resources when doing research
for products/services in their local area. See
Google has always understood the power of local search,
and years ago launched its Local Business Center where
any business can get a listing for free. Recently,
they've done a major overhaul and have re-launched with a
new name of "Google Places", showcasing a host of new features.
http://google.com/places . The name change was done
to tie in with Google's Place Pages which were launched
over a year ago and include over 50 million places
If you want customers to be able to find you, and haven't
listed your offline store here yet, you need to get with
the program. You are missing out on the opportunity to
reach millions of Google users, including Google Map users,
Google's 800 Voice Directory Search and even Google Earth.
And all of this exposure won't cost you a dime. It's totally
Now that I have your attention, let's go over the steps
for inclusion. As with all things Google, you'll need
to sign into Google Places with your Google Account.
Up to 100 single locations can be added but, if
you have more than ten to list you'll need to use
their "Bulk Upload Tool".
There is a verification process that must be done
to prove you're the owner of the business being listed.
The choice is yours, it's by phone or mail. Once
this is done, your listing goes live.
Now in case you're thinking all that's included in
a listing is an address and phone number, hold onto
your hat. Here are some of the listing options.
1) Show the geographic area you service.
2) Photos- Upload your own, up to ten images per
listing, in JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP. A professional
photo shoot can also be requested for your business.
3) Place Page Posts- You can post real time updates
here, up to 160 characters, announcing special sales,
events, and new products. One post appears at a time.
4) Custom QR Codes: For use with smart phones to
take users to your mobile website.
5) Advertise: They do have a "Tags Program" in
select cities for $25.00 a month where your business
will be highlighted on Google.com and Google Maps.
6) List your operating hours. Biz description
and even reviews.
7) Post Videos: Up to five videos can be posted,
but you'll need to publish them to YouTube first,
then include the url's on your Place Page.
8) Payment Types Taken
9) Coupons: Create online coupons to give people
incentive to visit your site. There's a separate
"coupon tab" that appears on your listing page.
10) Privacy: If you work from home and have no
storefront you can choose to make your address
private in your listing.
At this point you should be realizing how important
being listed in Google Places is to your business.
If you'd like to see what your listing looks like
to a searcher, log into Google Places and click on
"see your listing on Google Maps".
Now remember ,search results are based on relevance
and "geographic distance", so you can't buy your
way to the top of the list as with pay-per-click
advertising. As previously mentioned, the "tags
program", if available in your area, can be utilized
for having your business how up highlighted for
$25.00 a month.
If you're interested in paying for your links to show
up on the Google Maps search results page, if related
to the search terms and location searched, that can
be done using Google's Adwords program with what's
called "Local Targeted Ads". http://google.com/adwords
By the way, Google also includes a "Reporting Dashboard"
that will tell you how people find you, and what keywords
they used to search. It's powerful stuff that can also
be used in your local search engine optimization work.
Do yourself a favour - if you're not listed with "Google
Places", do it today. It's targeted, free traffic. Now
where else can you say that when it comes to marketing
on the Internet. People are looking for your business
online and with Google Places you can make it easier
for them to find you. Website or not - it simply doesn't
matter - but getting people in the door does, and Google is
there to help.
"Blah...Blah...Blog..Rantings by Merle"- The Blog that's
loaded with online marketing techniques and strategies
that will help you increase your website traffic and make
more money online. Tips and tricks for online entrepreneurs,
and marketers to grow your net biz. Visit today-
Follow me http://Twitter.com/msmerle
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