Archive for local listings

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 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


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!

Local Search Seminar – 7/9/09

I’m doing a seminar on Local Search at the Bayanihan Arts Center located at 14301 Nine Eagles Dr, Tampa, FL 33626 from 2 PM to 4 PM. The price is $25 before the event and $30 at the door.

I’ll be going over:

  1. What is Local Search?
  2. How to Use Keywords
  3. Google and the Local Business Center
  4. Yahoo! Local
  5. Bing (Formerly MSN Live)
  6. Local Listing Directories and Industry Specific Directories
  7. Building Citations

Join us to learn more about local search and how it affects you.

Bing, Bang, Boom

Microsoft launched their new search engine Bing last week. My first impression? It’s visually stunning and looks to give Google some real competition.

I’m doing some research into it, focusing of course on how it’s going to play in the local search industry. My focus has mainly been Google and Yahoo, but it looks like I’m going to have to pay attention to Bing as well!

I’ll have a more detailed report for you once I’ve done some more research.

Check Your Local Search Rating

So I spent an exciting Saturday night researching new methods for optimizing local search and found a site that gives you a local search ranking! Very exciting stuff for someone who makes his living in local search. has a simple interface that allows you to enter in your business name and your zip code.

So I plugged in my own information “Business Local Listings” and my zip code “33606” and I got the following:

So I only have a 45% ranking because, although I’ve done my Google listing, I haven’t yet sat down to do my Yahoo, MSN Live, or Best of the Web listings. It’ll come as no surprise to a lot of business owners that I neglect my own company to take care of my customers.
You can even drill down further to see exactly what you need to do to increase your ranking, from adding photos to getting citations on other websites to getting reviews. All things that, coincidentally, I can help you with. Surprisingly, there’s no mention of video, and I can’t stress the importance of video enough.
So how do you rank? If you’re not happy, I can help you out with it!

Sometimes It’s Faster Than Others

It’s not an easy thing to explain what I do in 1 minute. I started going to networking events a few months ago and at these meetings, we all give a 1 minute commercial on what we do. It’s hard to stand out among all the website builders, pay per click guys, and search engine optimizers. The best way to show people what I do is to actually sit down with them and show them.

I met a guy at these meetings, Ronnie, who was a perfect candidate for an experiment. He’s a sales guy for a local sports station and has also just started his own poop scooping and dog running business, Big Blue’s Poop Scooping Services. I sat down with him on Tuesday to show him exactly what I do. I basically gave him a free hour and a half seminar on Google Local Listings and the Google map. We analyzed his keywords, we incorporated them into his description, chose categories, filled in his business info, and added in additional details. We verified it with Google over the phone and parted ways.

After that, I honestly forgot about it in the haze of getting my own business running. Follow up on emails? Check. Send out appointments? Check. Go over tomorrow’s itinerary? Check. Phone calls? Check. Sleep? Not enough!

So I got up the next day and ran my rounds of appointments and meetings and emails and phone calls. I ended up at the Westshore FNI and we’re in the “Attitude of Gratitude” portion of the meeting when Ronnie thanks me for sitting down with him then announces, I’m #2 for “Pooper Scooper Tampa FL” and I’m the only one showing up for “Poop Scooping Tampa FL“. I’m shocked. I usually ask my clients to give me 6-8 weeks for results. I’ve never had results like that in 24 hours, and I’d never guarantee it, but it does show the power of correctly filling out your Google Listing. Sometimes, it is faster than others!

Welcome To The Internet Adventure

Welcome to my Internet Adventure. It’s been an exciting few months for me, full of twists and turns and ups and downs. I have re-invented myself as an internet marketing entrepreneur and I feel like I’ve found what I’m supposed to do. In the process, I’ve had to re-visit skills and experiences that I’ve built over my lifetime. I feel like I’m in a unique position where I’ve had an opportunity put in front of me that was tailor-made… for me! But that’s an entire blog post in and of itself.

My company, Business Local Listings, has had great success, starting in the Tampa Bay market, in placing our customers on the map, the Google Map. I’ve learned quite a bit about the changing faces of the internet in general and Google in particular. Through research and hard work and some old-fashioned trial and error, we’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t to get a company on the local map.

It’s been an adventure. Come share it with me.