Archive for Google – Page 2

Google Local Business Center How-to Webinar or You’re Never Done Learning

I’m in the middle of Google’s Local Business Center How-to webinar and I wasn’t actually expecting to learn anything. I’m in the LBC many times throughout the day working on my customer’s listing. I thought that I had a complete understanding of all the tools and tricks that you can use in it, but I learned something new today.

In the “Additional Details” section, website addresses that you enter in are live on the listing. The specific examples that they used were a link to a pdf menu and a link to a restaurant’s “Reservations” page. While going back through some of my customer’s listings, I noticed that I had done it by accident in one of my customer’s listings, linking back to her old (not done by me!) website and domain name.
It’s a cool trick with a lot of functionality. Now I have to go back and implement it for dozens of customers!

New Addition to Google Docs Suite – Google Drawings

I logged into Google Docs today, as I do everyday, and a little pop-up came up notifying me that a new type of document was now available: Google Drawings.

I’ve been playing around with it a bit today, as time allows, and, for me, the most useful application would be as a replacement for Visio. It comes with all the objects and many of the options that I used to get from Visio when I worked in it, albeit this was more than 5 years ago. I’m not up on the latest incarnations of Visio at all.
Another feature is that, like in all Google Docs, you can work on a drawing in real time with another user. I can see how this would be very useful for trying to develop a flow sheet with some of my overseas vendors.
Yet another cool toy from the folks at Google, and one I’ve been needing.

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.

Google’s Answer to Twitter Released Today

I opened up my Gmail account this afternoon after lunch and was surprised to be offered something called “Google Buzz.” I launched it and the first thought that popped in my head was: “Google is going after Twitter.”

It looks superficially like Twitter and it’s fully integrated into my Gmail account. When I opened it I was already being followed by 4 people, I was given a list of 29 people to follow, and I had the option of connecting it to my blogs, my Picasa account and my Twitter account. It also already had 2 postings on there from my last 2 blog entries.
The postings have options on them to Comment, Like, or Email them to other people.
It has the option to post pictures, videos and links and does not have the 140 character limit that Twitter gives you. The online “buzz” is that this is Google’s attempt at a Twitter killer. Only time will tell.

Post To Your Place Page – New on Google Place Pages

I was working on one of my customer’s place pages, as I do on a daily basis, when I came across a new tool in the top right-hand corner. The option to place a message on my customer’s place page that expires in 30 days.

I called the customer for a quick blurb to try out the new tool and here’s how it looks.

A great tool that my customers have been asking for. Try it out today.

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.

I’m Thankful for Google Chrome

I downloaded Google’s browser, Chrome, when it came out and over time it’s become my browser of choice. I just found an online comic book by Scott McCloud that Google published explaining pretty much everything about Chrome that I love. Take a look and try Chrome out. It’s great.

Google Changes Their Business Listing Quality Guidelines

Google made a change last week to their Business Listing Quality Guidelines. The big issue was that Google was requiring people to list their full legal business name as the company name, but they quickly reversed direction on that decision. Many companies don’t actually do business under their legal name (I don’t!) and requiring it on a Google listing may have been a step too far.

Another big change is that PO Boxes no longer count as physical addresses. I can see this really affecting how mobile businesses do their listings, especially in the lawn maintenance, locksmith, plumber, electrician, and repair industries. I have a few customers that I’ll need to fix this for. There has to be an elegant way to address this issue for those kinds of customers. I guess we’ll have to wait for Google to come up with it.
As always, pay attention to what Google wants and you’ll get good results in your Local Search efforts.

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.