Getting More From Your Google Maps Profile

Mobile and desktop surfers alike are turning to Google Maps to find local and sometimes nearby businesses. Optimizing your web pages for local search has become an extremely important part of the local marketing mix.

Claiming and building strong profiles in the local search directories is another must for the new local search habits.

Today’s post and accompanying video explains a bit of tweak that I suggest can make your Google Maps profile even more local search term friendly.

As shown in the video above, once you claim your Google Maps Profile (Go to the Google Local Business Center) you have the freedom to do lots of customization, including customizing the very important “category” listings, which Google relies very heavily upon to determine when to show your profile. You must choose one category suggested by Google, but are free to add up to four more that can contain city names as part of the category. In my opinion, Las Vegas plumber is a much stronger local category than just plumber.

Watch this quick video and then go strengthen up your profile.

Update: Interesting discussion on this topic here – thanks to @niftymarketing for pointing me to it. Grey area for sure, test and decide.

CES Coverage and a Few Finds

As many of you may have noted by some posts here and on Twitter I attended the recent CES show in Las Vegas as a participant in the AMEX OPENForum booth. I gave presentations on social media and was joined by Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Adam Ostrow , Barb Dybwad and Ben Parr of Mashable and Tony Hsieh of Zappos.

I thoroughly enjoy working in a live environment with small business owners and loved getting a chance to work with and hear what this great group of speakers had to say. For those who could not attend the event, the presentations were recorded and will be available at OPENForum’s CES page.

I walked the floor a bit, although it’s total sensory overload, and wanted to share two of my favorite finds.

Bing Application overlays on Bing Maps.

Melissa Powell, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft explains Bing Map Apps

You have to download Silverlight, Microsoft’s Video tool, but it makes for a much richer experience than other mapping tools. Here’s the link to the Bing Maps beta.

I also found a nice option for recording live interviews on the iPhone from Blue Microphones. The iPhone built in mic works pretty well up close but the Mikey has settings that make it much more sensitive when conducting an interview in the field. I use a Blue Snowball USB mic to do my podcasts and really love their design.

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