Posts Tagged ‘Local Business Listings’

If Google Doesn’t Want Searchers To Find Web Designers And SEOs; What Does Google Want Searchers To Find?

January 1, 2010

Matt McGee wrote an interesting post about how geo-modified searches for web designers and SEOs no longer produces a one / two / three box, seven or ten pack set of local business listings in Google.

The title of McGee’s post – “Google Doesn’t Want Searchers To Find SEOs & Web Designers” also begs the question and the title of this post: “If Google Doesn’t Want Searchers To Find Web Designers and SEOs; What Does Google Want Searchers To Find?”

Since its unlikely Google would ever answer the question directly, I think screen shots of the same searches McGee ran might shed some light on what searchers and small business owners can expect to find going forward in lieu of finding one box, two / three / seven or ten packs of web marketing or online advertising related local business listings.

Below are the results I found when searching for “web design seattle” and “seo seattle wa” albeit while searching from Colorado.

Web Design Seattle

Web Design Seattle

What if any similarities could you find between the the two sets of search results?

SEO Seattle WA

SEO Seattle WA

If yours is one of the many types of marketing or advertising firms which ultimately may be affected by these recent search results changes, what actions if any should you be taking to minimize these new potential risks to your business?

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.

Stacking the Deck in Google Maps?

March 4, 2009

Could it be Public Storage has a monopoly on the self storage market in Oklahoma City or do they just appear to have one because of their dominance in Google’s search results?

Oklahoma City Storage Google Maps

Oklahoma City Storage Google Maps

Not sure whether these results are Public Storage’s handiwork or Google’s lack therof.

In either case, I am pretty sure Google prefers to deliver more varied business results for generic search terms like Oklahoma City Storage.

A quick check for “storage” in other cities doesn’t show the same degree of repetition of a single listing’s data.

Are these results spam or a Google anomaly?

Microsoft Searching Elsewhere for Local Business Listings

February 13, 2009

Searching Microsoft for local business listings?

Microsoft Local Business Listings

Microsoft Local Business Listings

Microsoft is too – over at Yahoo and Google.

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.