Archive for the ‘Google Local Business Center’ Category

Marketing And Advertising One Plus Box Listings Pared From Google Local Search Results

November 19, 2009

Although I haven’t ever generated an online or offline transaction from my own firm’s Google Local Business Center listing, I have closely monitored my listing and its appearance or lack thereof in Google search results since business listings were first introduced.

Over time, the type of results have changed from lists of ten to as few as one result for specific business or category localized search queries.

I have also watched Google’s Local Business Center product evolve to its present version which includes rudimentary search traffic stats.

Because of the nature of my firm’s listing categories (advertising and marketing), generating a search referred transaction isn’t expected.

However, many small businesses have come to rely on the referrals Google local search listings provide.

Fortunately I haven’t relied on Google’s free local search referrals for generating new business; because if I had, my business would have since dried up with the recent changes impacting what appears to have only occurred in geo-modified advertising and marketing search results.

Prior to the recent paring of local advertising and marketing results, firms like mine could count on their local business listing being displayed for queries in their respective markets.

A generic web search query for marketing + city used to produce the following type of results.

Marketing

Marketing

A generic web search query for marketing consultant + city used to produce the following type of results.

Marketing Consultant

Marketing Consultant

In both instances and because of my firm’s listing presence, Google saw fit to publish my company’s details for these types of queries.

Once my Local Business Center listing even appeared inexplicably atop a Google Maps search for “marketing consultants”.

Google Maps Search Marketing Consultants

Google Maps Search Marketing Consultants

However, today the same search query for marketing + city produces the following results sans One Plus Box or any other type of previously seen types of multiple listing results.

Marketing Oklahoma City

Marketing Oklahoma City

The same holds true for a search for marketing consultant + city. No One Plus Box results or any type of multiple listing results.

Marketing Consultants Oklahoma City

Marketing Consultants Oklahoma City

Nor does my listing still appear atop a Google Maps search for marketing consultants. My listing shouldn’t have probably been there to begin with but its unclear to me as to why any of results that do appear for this particular search appear as they do.

Marketing Consultants Google Map Search

Marketing Consultants Google Map Search

Historically when these types of changes have appeared in search results, the new results types were evenly distributed across all business categories.

I am not so sure that is the case this time.

It looks like the advertising and marketing categories are the sole beneficiaries of these new types of category search results.

A quick search for other categories still produces any one of the previously identified One Plus Box results types.

A search for a local Doctor’s listing still produces his Google Local Business Center listing data.

Dr Local Web Search

Dr Local Web Search

A search for “Luxury Apartments Dallas” produces the recently discovered seven local results format.

Luxury Apartments Dallas

Luxury Apartments Dallas

However, a local search for my business name and city no longer produces a Google Local Business Center result like the the Doctor’s listing above.

Instead it produces a traditional search engine results page.

Google Web Search Advanced Marketing Consultants NIchols HIlls, OK

Google Web Search Advanced Marketing Consultants NIchols HIlls, OK

Although my local business center listings information still appears in a specific business name search in Google Maps, the One Box type result for my categories appears to be totally gone.

Google Maps Advanced Marketing Consultants Nichols HIlls, OK

Google Maps Advanced Marketing Consultants Nichols HIlls, OK

To confirm my experience isn’t unique, I ran several search queries in other markets for the same generic terms and produced the same type of results.

A search for “Advertising Agency New York” produces the same type of results as those identified above – no One Box or any type of multiple listings.

Advertising Agency New York Web Search

Advertising Agency New York Web Search

Yet a search for “marketing + city” produces a buggy list of non marketing related business listings ( (must be the data center).

Marketing New York

Marketing New York

I have seen these type of results before where similar nonsensical business listings appear in search categories unrelated to their primary business. Could these types of results been a catalyst for these recent category results changes?

However, a search for “marketing consultants new york city” produced the same type of search engine results pages mentioned initially.

Marketing Consultants New York City

Marketing Consultants New York City

Are these new search engine results pages for advertising and marketing related category + location specific search results by design and the new norm or are these new results the by-product of a bug?

If these results are indeed the new norm for the advertising and marketing industries, agencies and marketers alike may need to get acquainted with Google’s advertising product – Google Adwords – if they want their businesses to have a higher level of visibility in both Google search engine results pages and Google Maps.

Google Adwords Service Icons

November 12, 2009

Google Adwords has added service icons for use with Google Adwords connected to Local Business Center accounts.

Local Business Center Ads

Local Business Center Ads

Seventeen service icons are available for use including a “No category specified” icon.

The following sixteen business categories have service icons available for use with Google Adwords campaigns combined with Google Local Business center listings:

Movies, film, video
Bar, pub, liquor
Accommodations
Restaurant, dining
Café, coffee shop
Flowers, garden
Car dealer, rental, service
Grocery, department store
Shopping, boutique
Homewares, home repair, real estate
Phones, service providers
Bank, finance, currency exchange
Bank, finance, currency exchange (UK)
Hardware, repair
Hairdresser, barber, tailor
Bank, finance, currency exchange (Eur)

Are Google’s reasons for choosing these particular local categories governed by the same reasons they make most if not all of their other business decisions – data?

Google Adwords Icons

Google Adwords Icons

If so, then marketers this list of sixteen business types and their icons are the most searched for competitive local search marketing categories in Google at this particular time.

Google Service Icons

Google Service Icons

If these types of service listings  are indeed the most searched local cateogies, what can we expect to see next from Google?

Google Local Business Center Survey

November 4, 2009

Google is surveying its Local Business Center audience for feedback to help improve its local business listings product.

Today while logging into my Google Local Business Center account, I noticed this message:

“Tell us what you think! Take our 5 minute survey and help improve Local Business Center.”

I took Google up on their offer and quickly completed the following four page survey.

Google Local Business Center Feedback I

Google Local Business Center Feedback I

The first page of the Google Local Business Center survey asks –

1. Overall, how satisfied are you with Google Local Business Center?

2. How likely is it that you would recommend Google Local Business Center to a friend or colleague?

The survey then asks users to indicate their satisfaction with Google Local Business Center in the following dimensions: Ease of Use, Visual Appeal, Technical Reliability, Features and Capabilities, Trustworthiness, Privacy and Security and the Listing verification process.

Next, Local Business Center users are asked “Which aspects of your Google Local Business Center listing are most important to you” followed by a drop down answer box for answering the question –  “when did you first visit the Local Business Center?”

Which of the following answers are most important to you as a business listing manager?

People finding directions to my business
People clicking through to my website
People writing ratings & reviews
People contacting (calling or emailing) my business
People viewing the details of my listing (hours, pictures, descriptions, ratings & reviews)
Getting analytics & reporting on how my listing is performing

Google Local Business Center Feedback Satisfaction II

Google Local Business Center Feedback Satisfaction II

The second page of the survey asks the following four multiple choice questions pertaining to listing management:

When did you first use Google Local Business Center?
How did you verify your business listing in Google Local Business Center?
How long has it been since you last visited Google Local Business Center?
Which best describes your role or roles regarding the business or businesses you have listed on Google Local Business Center?

Google Local Business Center Feedback Process III

Google Local Business Center Feedback Process III

The third page asks the following three questions:

Which best describes the business(es) you are listing on Google Local Business Center?

What is the preferred way for your customers to contact the business you own or manage?
(If you have an appointment-based business, how do you prefer customers reach you to schedule an appointment?)

What are other ways you promote the business you own or manage (online & offline)?

While the forth and final question on the third page of the survey asks users to indicate which of the following ten (mostly Google) products they use:

Google AdWords
Google Analytics
Google AdSense
Google Coupons inside Local Business Listing
Google Checkout
Search engine optimization service (a company that improves your website ranking on search engines like Google.com)
Google webmaster tools
Yahoo! Local listing
MS Live search maps
Other online advertising (Yahoo Ads, Microsoft adCenter, etc.)

Google Local Business Survey IV

Google Local Business Survey IV

The final page of Google’s Local Business survey incorporates the users answers from the previous pages and then asks for further clarification while also asking the Local Business Center user to provide additional comments about the LBC product if they choose to do so.

Please describe any problems or difficulties you have experienced with Google Local Business center today. (optional)

What if anything do you find frustrating or unappealing about Google Local Business Center?(optional)

What do you like best about Google Local Business Center? (optional)

Local Business Center Survey V

Local Business Center Survey V

Uncharacteristically, the final page of the survey asked whether or not I would be willing to be contacted again with more research questions about the Google Local Business Center.

Google Local Business Center Survey VI

Google Local Business Center Survey VI

I checked affirmative and then provided my email address.

It will be interesting to see what – if anything – transpires from the data Google gathers from their Local Business Center Audience survey.

If you haven’t received a survey in your LBC, feel free to answer any of the above questions in the comments section of this post.

Google Local Business Center Testing Local Listing Ads

October 6, 2009

Greg Sterling reports on his blog and at Search Engine Land about Google’s announcing their new local advertising product called Local Listing Ads.

Google Local Listing Ads

Google Local Listing Ads

More about the features of Local Listings ads from Google’s Local Business Center:

Drive more sales
Over 80% of people look to Google for local information. Make sure your listing stands out.

See – and hear – the results
You’ll hear “this call brought to you by Google” with every call from your ad.

Free for 30 days
Try it out, risk free. You can cancel anytime.

Local targeting
We’ll make sure your ad only shows to people near your business, with no work for you.

Local Listing Ads are currently available only in San Francisco and San Diego, CA.

From a Google and Small Business Marketer’s perspective, I have to wonder what kind of resources – both human and financial – Google is putting into this new program to make it a success?

Who is running the Local Listings program within Google – a Google Maps or Google Adwords team, the “Local Business Center” team, a new team or a not yet formed team?

I think Google’s answer to this question lies the fate of the Google Local Listings advertising program.

Google Maps Search Results

August 14, 2009

I have noticed in my Google Local Business Center stats, my primary marketing site MarketngPrinciples.com receives a lot of generic search queries from across the US each month.

After seeing some of the keyword phrases my site is placing for in Google Maps, I decided to to try and replicate the same search results from different parts of the US while on a summer road trip.

I cleared my cookies and ran the searches from a classic Google home page without logging into my Google account.

To verify the authenticity of the Google Maps search results my Local Business Center stats showed my site recieving, I also ran the same keyword search queries from my son’s laptop.

Somewhat surprisingly, my business “Advanced Marketing Consultants” places first for more than a handful of what would otherwise be considered valuable search queries.

Results like the number one result out of 287,034 for “marketing consultants” below also explain why my Google Local Business Center analytics report at least once a month fielding driving direction searches from locations as far away as one hundred miles from my office location.

Google Maps Search

Google Maps Search

Google Maps Search Results and Local Business Center Analytics

July 25, 2009

Drilling deeper into my Google Local Business Center account analytics has produced some unexpected findings.

Long before there was a Google Local Business Center, I became convinced of the importance of having my website appear consistently atop Google search results for heavily searched keywords.

So much so that I spent several years running my first major website: MarketingPrinciples.com as a test site for what worked and what didn’t within Google.

After testing confirmed a particular strategy or tactic, I would then apply it within the site or a client’s site.

Although MarketingPrinciples.com isn’t the traffic generation machine it once was  – with over 500,000 visitors annually – it still generates some interesting results from my original programming.

Most notably – MarketingPrinciples – according to my Google Local Business Center analytics appears first for “google search” in Google Maps queries  – above Google’s office locations.

Google Maps Google Search

Google Maps Google Search

Granted, the search query isn’t exactly a barn burner for producing clients for my marketing consulting practice.

However as a result of my early research and trials, my site and brand are receiving approximately 50,000 impressions from across the United States annually.

Google Local Business Center Analytics

Google Local Business Center Analytics

I think the results are acceptable for a guy and his laptop.

An aside: I searched for “google search” in Google Maps from several different computers with different IP addresses and got the same results.

What does your Google Maps search for “google search” produce?

Google Local Business Center Unavailable

June 22, 2009

It seems I have been getting the following message from Google’s Local Business Center more often than not.

Google Local Business Center Unavailable

Google Local Business Center Unavailable

Looking forward to being able to login again to view my statistics.

Photos, Videos and Stats Active in Google Maps Local Business Listings

April 3, 2009

After what seems like years of waiting, a photo and video I add to my Google Local Business Center account have finally been added to my Google Maps listing.

Google Local Results

Google Local Results

From the outset, my listing has displayed the data I initially provided to Google including my Website, Hours, Payment Accepted, Description and Email.

Google Maps

Google Maps

However, the images I added shortly after the Local Business Center began accepting photos and videos didn’t appear in my business listing until recently.

My Local Business Listing now includes both the video and image I provided.

Local Business Center Photos Videos

Local Business Center Photos Videos

In addition to my Local Business Center listing displaying photos and videos, my account now provides monthly account impressions and views statistics.

Local Business Center Traffic Statistics

Local Business Center Traffic Statistics

Business owners who have active Google Local Business Center listings will be happy to find this new local traffic data available in their accounts.

Submarining Local Business Listings in Google Maps with User Content

November 2, 2008

After reading Danny Sullivan’s post about his and Mike Blumenthal’s continued frustration with Google’s Local Business Center and its shortcomings, I went to check the status of my recent attempts to further manage my business listing and its details in Google’s Local Business Center.

I was surprised to learn my listing edits were disapproved for reasons which weren’t fully explained other than through a pop up which said: “This listing does not comply with our policy of allowed terms.”

Policy of Allowed Terms

Policy of Allowed Terms

I haven’t yet been able to locate their policy of allowed terms.

Fortunately and because the Google Local Business Center still has room for improvement – my business listing can be found in a Google or Google Maps search for Advanced Marketing Consultants Nichols Hills, OK.

Google Local Business Center Overview

Google Local Business Center Overview

However, so can my competitor’s “listings”.

I was even more surprised to find information other than data directly related to my business inserted into both the Overview and User Content sections of my business listing by a “consultants directory” which effectively submarines my listing – not once but three times – all with the same “information” from the same “consultants directory”.

Marketing Consultants

Marketing Consultants

I am not sure these are the type of search results Google wanted to see occur when they opened up and allowed “user generated content” within Google Maps – yet these types of results are now appearing there.

How long will it take before every business category gets submarined by directories who spam Google Maps with their “Placemarks” on “Untitled Maps” under the auspices of “user content”?

Placemarks Untitled Maps

Placemarks Untitled Maps

I don’t know exactly how Google can stop spammers from generating “Placemarks” on “Untitled Maps” which in turn get published under unsuspecting business owner’s business listings.

Surely though since Google created the “User Content” system – they can also fix it.

Google Adwords Sponsored Links Displaying Google Local Business Center Maps

February 29, 2008

Google Adwords Sponsored Links Local Maps

Originally uploaded by TimCohn

For the last nine months Google has been testing the display of Google Maps information in their Local Google sponsored links results.

Today I discovered my own local Google Adwords ad displaying both information about my business from Google Maps and from my Google Local Business Center account.

However, the Google Maps and Google Local Business Center information still aren’t appearing in all Google search results.