For businesses without a storefront, local search can get tricky.
Google wants to avoid businesses appearing in local search results if that business does not have a physical location in the city searched. They address this in the Google Places Quality Guidelines, where they disallow PO boxes and fake addresses.
The only known exception to this guideline is a business with general service areas. In this instance, businesses are to create a listing under one physical location. They are then allowed to designate those service areas. However, listing the designated service areas may not be effective in those areas with heavy competition.
In order to begin ranking in local search, we recommend the following tips and tricks.
I don’t want to be really stereotypical and say that as a women I am HORRIBLE with directions. I do have the gift that if I have been somewhere once I can typically get back there no problem. But the first visit can take me a bit. So as a girl please don’t tell me to go north on 150 cause I will look at you like you spoke Chinese. You can say go right or left bythe Panera Bread and I guarantee I will know what you mean.
In the course of my work for Turn the Page I am driving all over the Kansas City area and I don’t have to ask for directions usually. WHY, you ask? Well Google Places of course. If you have a smart phone and google the business you are going to hopefully you can find them on Google Places click directions and a map will POP up and lead you directly there. None of this go North on 435 business. A little arrow will lead you on your way like Dora the Explorer. But if you haven’t claimed your Google places account you are missing a great service for your customers. As well as a great marketing tool. Not only can you give directions, you can put pictures and videos, you can share your website, and inform customers what your business is about. People can view all this information either straight from their phones or computers. If you aren’t using Google Places you need to be cause I can guarantee that your competitor is, they may have seen that no one has claimed yours either and made it their own, so I would take a look. Plus if you want me to come see you I will need to know how to get there, without any of this GO NORTH business.
Google keeps making things easier and easier, take the new feature in Google Places. At first you could upload pictures but sometimes when you are establishing your places page you aren’t on the computer where your pictures are stored on, so at than you have to go back at a later time to insert pictures. We all know how we are when we say we are going to do something later, it rarely happens. So now Google has made it easier you can actually copy photo URL’s from your website and paste them into Google Places. Below are the steps on how to do this in case it sounds confusing.
First you will go down to the photo section of Google Places
2nd step go to your website and find the picture you want right click and select Properties
3rd Step Copy the URL
4th go back to Google Places and paste the URL into the spot and hit Add Photo and DONE! That easy!!!
So know more excuses!! If you aren’t on Google Places you need to be, if you need help please Contact us at https://www.turnthepage-onlinemarketing.com/
Does Google know that we are not living in the Wild Wild West? I understand they want the “user” who is searching online to have the freedom of the range. But are they really benefiting searchers by penalizing business owners? Google Places has grown in importance as a component of local search. Some local businesses primary marketing resource is their Google Places listing (whether they know it or not). Unfortunately in the interests of “keeping it fair” Google does not provide feedback to owners of business listings if there is a problem. The notifications are pretty well non-existent when there is an issue with your Google Places account.
There is no email notification to advise the account holder that anything has happened or an “I have suspended your Google Place” postcard, because you’re not following the guidelines of the “Google Wild Wild West.” I have occasionally run into this issue with some of my clients Google Places Accounts and it is really mind boggling to me. Google will arbitrarily suspend or reject a business listing because it does not meet the quality guidelines. I understand the reasoning, abuse leads to bad information for searchers. I just feel it could be handled better for the genuine business owner. It is sometimes difficult for me to figure out the problem because most of the time the guidelines are vague and this is my passion! So how does a business owner with a business to run and find the time to fully investigate the nuances of Googles policy. I know – it’s free. So what do you expect? Consider though; if Google was not getting the feedback from owners about their listing would Google provide such quality information. It is defensible that we are all working to help Google when we “verify” our business listing.
Most of the time, you can review your places account and not fully understand that you are violating any of Google’s guidelines. All that is left is making an educated guess with small changes in areas and hope for the best! We are living in Google’s own Wild Wild West and trying to survive! Of course, the thing about the Wild Wild West is there was a great opportunity if you got it right. Maybe that is Google’s goal after all!
If you haven’t heard, we’ve recently said goodbye to Google Places and hello to Google Plus Local.
At Turn the Page, we’ve anticipated this merge for months assuming that Google+ would become more relevant for local search. The time has come and we are busy making the most of these changes for our clients.
Local Search- Now More Social
Google’s goal of creating a single web experience for users has taken its next step. Google has now integrated Google Plus Local into its networking site to allow users to share information about local shops and restaurants.
With social networking being a huge part of our lives and our businesses, people look to online resources when making a decision. We often seek the opinions of our friends and family as well as the reviews of others before making a purchase. The new “Local” tab on a Google+ page allows users to search for local restaurants, hotels and more with a full integration of reviews, ratings, and comments.
Converting Your Listing
In order for your business to take advantage of Google+ Local, it will need a verified G+ page. A Google places listing will not merge without it. If your business has this in place, the conversion should have been painless.
So is this beneficial? We think so. A consumer now has several ways to find you- Google Search, Google Maps, Google+ Search or in Mobile Apps- and now will have a very consistent experience.
Users then receive a much more engaging experience with reviews and several sources of information. Not only is it more visually interesting than Places was, but it is inviting to social interactions as well.
For a user, by choosing the Local tab, they are given a few options. They can simply browse the home page content for local businesses or they can conduct a search similar to a Google.com search. Two search boxes are visible allowing a category search as well as a location. Of course, Google knows your location, but in case you wanted to conduct a not so local search.
Zagat > Yelp ?
Integrated into this new local tab is Google’s Zagat which includes reviews, rating and comments from friends. Rather than a business being rated on a 1-5 star scale, Zagat allows users to fill out a more comprehensive review.
This helps to separate components such as food, service and atmosphere instead of being forced to factor them all into one. Zagat’s more complex scoring system prevents scores from converging and allows for a much more accurate review.
Changes to Mobile
Android devices have already seen these changes in Google Maps for Mobile. Still pending is app updates to iOS. However, Apple users may never see this based on predictions of its own Maps replacing Google Maps for the iPhone this summer.
Overall, these changes in Google+ Local and the integration of Zagat reviews provide a more useful local search experience for consumers. We are also excited about the large degree of social and recommended content that Google+ Local and Zagat have to offer.
For more information about getting your business active on Google+ Local, contact Turn the Page Online Marketing.
Google finally admitted that the Google Places “Tags” program was not a viable marketing solution. It will cease on April 29th (New signups have been stopped) 2011; after being introduced in 2010. Tags was a $25/month yellow highlight which could be attached to a business Places listing. It will be replaced by other product offerings for local business by Google. A couple of options are:
The Google Places boost ad is currently available to all businesses that have verified their Business Places listing. It is a simplified form of paid search operating in the local search environment dominated by Google Places. It very simple to get started and is managed automatically. Prices vary based on business type and you can select a monthly budget which suits you. You pay only when you get a click on your ad and you can monitor your results through the Google Places Dashboard. The pin for your listing is turned blue (as opposed to red) and your listing position is promoted in the rankings for selected search results.
Local Product Availability on Google Places
Google continues to develop Places as a tool for local shoppers. Their goal is to make it easier for a purchaser to find what they are looking for in an area close by from a reputable location. Local business owners can now provide product information via Google Places you can feature up to five popular products along with the price and local store availability. This allows the shopper to get a feel for the store and its prices before visiting.
Google Places for Local Business
The departure of “Tags” is not a negative for Places and local business owners can rely on Google continuing to improve this solution. It is a wonderful marketing tool for local business as witnessed by it’s use by Walmart and the like for its stores. If you are a business owner and haven’t claimed your listing you are losing business.