Archive for the ‘Google Local Business Listing’ 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 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.

Confirming A Google Local Business Listing

November 1, 2009

While logged into my Google account, I searched for my business name and noticed for the first time by my Local Business Center listing a link labeled – “Is this accurate?”

Google Local Listing Is This Accurate

Google Local Listing Is This Accurate

Apparently this type of user editing has been around for awhile but I don’t recall ever seeing it.

Google Local Listing Confirm Cancel

Google Local Listing Confirm Cancel

I logged out of my Google Account and then searched the term again only to see the same “Is this accurate” link again.

Clicking through then produced a set of options to confirm or cancel – “This address, phone number, map or business info is not accurate.”

While finding Google Local Business Center listing data annotation on one level is encouraging, the absense of clearly defined rules at the source as to who can or can’t append a Google Local Business Center listing remains disconcerting.

I am sure there are myriad reasons why Google has chosen to go about managing its business listing data in this manner.

In lieu of a clear set of Local Business Center rules, what those reasons are remain a mystery.