Archive for Google Maps

Google’s New User Interface – Maps, Places, & Home Page

Working in Google yesterday, I noticed that their interface had changed.  A quick search online brought me to Google’s official announcement that they’re “refocusing” the map.  I like the new, refined look with a lot more whitespace and the functionality.  The most noticeable change for me is that my name, and various Google products, are in a new black bar.  For those with Google+ beta accounts, their Google+ account information is highlighted.  Mike Blumenthal believes that the new look is there to get users ready for the rollout of Google +.

Here are some screenshots that I took to show how the new interface looks when I’m logged in:

Google Home Page

The new user interface when logged into Google's home page.

Google Maps Page

Google's New Interface - Maps Page

Google Places Page

Google's New Interface - Places Page

I just applied for my own Google+ beta account and I’m eager to try out Google’s next attempt at incorporating social media into it’s products.


Hallelujah and Praise the Lord: Service Areas and Location Settings in Google Place Pages

I logged into one of my customer’s Google Local Business Centers today and had a pleasant surprise. As you can see on the image, Google has finally addressed the problem of businesses that service customers outside of their immediate area. Until now, my customers with lawn services, out-call massage, and plumbing businesses had major issues coming up on the map outside of their immediate metropolitan areas.

Today they enabled the “Service Areas and Location Settings” area in the Local Business Center. Businesses have the option of choosing whether their customers come to their business location or if they serve customers at their address. They have the option of showing their address or not and they can choose which area they service. The service area can be chosen as a radius from their address, or they can put in geo-modifiers such as zip code, city name, or even county name. I used both methods for several of my customers, choosing a radius or choosing counties or cities as appropriate.
It’s too soon to determine how this new option will affect rankings or if hiding your address has a positive or negative affect on listings. This literally changes how I advise my customers in their local search efforts. I’ll let you know my results as time goes on.

KML and Geo Sitemap Tool

I just came across a blog post on a tool to create KML files and geo sitemaps. For the uninitiated (which included myself up until 45 minutes ago) a KML file is what Google Earth, Google Maps, and a variety of other mapping programs use to store map information.

The idea is to use this tool to create files that you put on your website to get yourself on the map easier. Yet another trick of the trade to add to my toolbox.

Google Maps and free business local listings

The bottom line? Google is mapping the planet one place at a time and providing it for us in Place Pages. The information gathered in different ways, is enhanced, in typical Google fashion, by users around the globe making it more human, more useful. Can SMBs benefit? A Google SVP recently spoke about Maps and noted: “Everything is finally in place to enable small businesses to connect with customers online”.

These technologies and the competitive implications of Google’s moves to map everything including local businesses means that if you are not using the internet to YOUR business’ full advantage today, you are simply missing out.

FREE ADVICE if you haven’t claimed your Google local business listing already: watch this two minute video brought to you by Google to learn how. IT IS FREE!

Today in the US alone, there are almost 1billion searches with local intent from consumers which are ready to buy a product or service. Searches are getting longer, more granular. Down to the city or zip code, niche service, brand, model, or whatever your company sells.

Furthermore, geospatial information is the building block for the whole next generation of user experience from smart phones to virtual reality. More reason to do something now if you want to take advantage of emerging opportunities. It is not when you are going to do something for your business to BE FOUND…it is a matter of when.

We believe your business is #1 and is 100% effective in getting it there. Visit our FAQs tab and I will show you how to get your local listing to the #1 spot. Our pricing (see Packages tab) is yet another reason why your business local listing can’t wait.

Call me for a free consultation about how to make your business local listing #1…especially when a user queries for that specific brand you carry or any product or service you offer.

Increase visibility. Increase sales.

Get your SMB on the map today!

Michael Alfonso
Business Local Listings – South Florida


Google’s Lucky 7-Pack

Going through local searches late last week, I noticed that the Google Map looked a little different. As I looked closer, I noticed that the map only had 7 spots on it as opposed to the usual 10.
However, my cousin was getting married on Friday, and, what with matrimonial festivities and all, I wasn’t able to investigate it closer until Sunday and today.
What I’ve discovered is this. Yes, it appears that Google is moving to a smaller 7-pack map. The speculation is that they’re doing this to make room for Local Listings Ads, a new type of advertising that Google recently rolled out in beta testing in California. Basically the ad allows businesses to buy a spot on the map and mark it with a blue marker!
I actually like the new look of the map. It’s more compact and easier to read, we’ll see how it integrates with Local Listings Ads once they make them available worldwide.

Official Google Blog: Place Pages for Google Maps: There are places we remember!

Official Google Blog: Place Pages for Google Maps: There are places we remember!

New Google Map / Local Listing Design

I’m in Google Maps every day as a part of my job promoting the hell out of Local Search and I came across an interesting change in Google Maps. When you click on “more info” from Google Maps, but not yet from the Google 10-pack, you get a different, more expanded version of the Local Listing. That’s a screenshot of my own listing there on the right.

Highlights include:

  • Visible Business categories
  • Distance to the nearest major intersection
  • Nearby bus stops! (They obviously don’t know Tampa! Who uses the bus?)
  • Full business description and a sample review
  • Google Map of the location and a picture of the business from the street
  • Expanded versions of tabs that you used to have to expand in the old style of listing including Details, Photos & Videos, Reviews, Web Pages, and User Content

I really like the new layout, let’s see if they roll it out to all the local listings, or if it stays strictly on Google Maps.

Update: So I just found an article, and posted a link, identifying these as Google Place Pages. The official blog states that one exists for every spot on the map!