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More Local Marketing Tools from Google

The Google Local Business Center is a must visit for business in general, but certainly for businesses attempting to attract customer in their local community. As you may know, Google allows you to add your business to a directory and then enhance your profile with all kinds of information about your business, products, and services. This is a free listing and every small business should take advantage of it.

Google shows these listings when someone make what is obviously a geographic based search such as – Toledo plumber. The results show in what is called the Google 10 box above other listings. When someone clicks on one of these results they are taken to the profile through Google Maps.

Recently Google has added and integrated a couple of useful tools.

1) Now your Local Business Center account shows you analytics. You can see how many people are clicking on your profile, what search terms got them there and, for folks looking to find your business locally, where they came from based on their requests for driving directions. This is some pretty cool data, particularly for retail locations. It could help inform where you might spend some direct mail focus, for instance, and how you might optimize some of your web pages.

2) AdWords now allows you to connect your Google Local Profile to your AdWords account and, by doing so, you can ask Google to show your address, based on the location of the ad visitor, when someone views your ad. Google has dubbed this add-on Local Extensions. Once extensions are set up, Google will dynamically match your business locations to a user’s location or search terms and show the address with your text ads.

This could be useful for a business with multiple locations. Now, instead of having to set up multiple local ads you simply assign extensions to all your ads and Google will show the address of the best location based on where the user is located. Here’s the help page for more info on setting up.

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Getting Listed in Google Maps Even More Important

If your customers and prospects are locally based the importance of concentrating on local optimization of your web site and local directory listings gets more important with each passing day.

Google quietly upped the local search game by inserting the Google Maps local 10 (listing of 10 local businesses) into search results for local products and services regardless of whether the searcher used a geographic term in the search. It used to be that if you wanted to get local results for a good tailor in Kansas City, you typed in “Kansas City tailor.” Now, by detecting the location of your IP address Google will add the local result to the search results for the much more generic phrase “tailor.”

local search

Notice the search in the image above was for the word tailor, but returned listings for Kansas City tailor.

My feeling is that this makes it more important than ever that your local business is showing up in those Google Maps results. (For now the search terms returning these kinds of results are primarily limited to B2C plays like tailor, taco, or electrician )

So, I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – get to work on getting listed and getting in the top 10 on Google Maps.

1) Make sure you’ve claimed your listing – Google Local Business Center
2) Enhance your Google profile by adding lots of descriptions, images and videos
3) Optimize your web site for local search with local terms, links, mentions, suburb names, and your business address and phone on every page
4) Get links back to your site with local phrases in the anchor text – ie:”Best Kansas City Tailor”
5) Get reviews on your Google Maps profile – anyone can add a review directly into your profile and Google appears to give profiles with reviews higher weight – be proactive on this one.

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