Google has been allowing for web pages to be previewed before clicking on a search result for quite some time since 2010. Equally we have seen a number of changes taking place during 2011 in Local Business Listings from Google’s Places and Maps. These changes have include the removal of third party reviews, layout changes to what information is viewable and a strong focus on securing ratings and reviews.
Google Places results which provide local results before national results now received the instant preview feature too and are displayed on the first page of the search results. This is a new functionality that will further encourage and require businesses to take control of their Local Business Listings to insure local customers get the marketing information the business wishes to provide.
What is probably more important is has been enhanced with multiple layouts and provides the searcher more information than the organic results of general websites. You can hover over a Google Places listing and see everything from Maps to Videos, Photos and more in the right column. What is probably more surprising is that the ads are replaced with the preview information. The implications of the Adwords Ads being replaced with the preview information certainly has other implications that we will have to discuss separately.
The following information is provided by Google’s Instant help page:
- Before Google Instant, the typical searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, and we saw many examples of searches that took 30-90 seconds to type.
- Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
- If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second.
- 15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality.
Let’s take a look at the information included in the instant preview of Google Places Local Business Listing.
While the general search results always show a map with all Google Places Local Business Listings, if you hover over a listing you will see only the listing you are hovering over. The map links to Google Maps where you can then obtain more details including directions.
Customer Ratings and Reviews
Recent studies have shown how 6 in 10 customers make their buying decisions based on what has been posted to the local business listings. Of course this goes well beyond Google and becomes equally important to insure satisfied customers have posted positive ratings and reviews while the business manages the process of tending to negative ratings and reviews too.
Images, Photos, Videos, Coupons, Offers, Promotions
This is where the marketing content a business provides within their Google Places Local Business Listings for their local store becomes very important. Whether it is products, services, advertisements, coupons, offers, discounts, etc. Taking the initiative to secure your local business listings by claiming them and then managing them with regularity.
Probably not as well known is the panoramic photo that is provided by Google for that businesses address. You can get a 360-degree view of the area by hovering over this panoramic photo. Some street view images have one for the interior while others only for the exterior. Eventually this will play into the integration of Google Places with Google Earth.
Web Page Preview
If Google can identify a web page for the business, the thumbnail of the business web page is displayed. This thumbnail appears to be a live snapshot and is directly linked to the web site. From a marketing perspective this the first impression a prospective customer will have with the business.
Additional Details Included
Prices, Hours of Operation, Public Transport, Reservations, Menus, Feedback to Google, Report a Problem, and links to additional third party ratings and review websites. Of course not everything here is applicable to all businesses and are displayed based on the information provided from the Google Places Business Management Console.
As you can imagine the instant preview gives user the ability to “view” without having to click and this will directly impact the number the click through rate (CTR) of any individual listing. Most likely the CTR will go down in this case.
With the ongoing changes by Google to the search results page along with the Google Places Local Business Listing, the industry continues to push hard for businesses to not only manage their local business listings, but to start focusing on store level marketing and store level reputation management (aka public relations). We can expect to see more changes and requiring businesses to add the appropriate policies and procedures to include this area as part of their web marketing strategies.
Certainly your time resources are limited and Geographic Marketing Solutions for multi-location companies are provided by Smartfinds Internet Marketing. Let the experts of over 17 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly through monthly management marketing services and broadcast data services for mass business data distribution.
Smartfinds Internet Marketing
330 East Maple Road #503, Birmingham, MI 48009
Toll-Free: (866) 501-5758
Fax: (866) 501-5758
Marketing Solution for National Businesses includes Mobile Locations Finder Application for customers to find the nearest store, follow Facebook and store coupons.
October 10, 2011 (Birmingham, MI): Smartfinds Internet Marketing (http://www.smartfindsmarketing.com ), an Internet Marketing pioneer for more than 20 years and leader in web marketing including geographic marketing has announced a new website property (http://www.smartfindsgeographicmarketing.com ) dedicated to their Geographic Marketing group. The website provides information about the solution designed specifically for national companies with multiple stores to take advantage of store level web marketing, customer ratings and reviews management, hyperlocal advertising and other geographic marketing elements needed in today’s web marketing and mobile marketing.
“As our Geographic Marketing Solution and Services has expanded since 2009, we have had to engage in helping national multi-location businesses and franchises take advantage of store level web marketing that extends beyond local business listing management services,” said Melih Oztalay, Smartfinds CEO. “Geographic web marketing is a fast growing industry making it easy for local customers to find businesses not only through web searches, but also mobile searches. Having a mobile application that is customized to a business’s brand will aid in having an upper edge over competition and our Customer Ratings and Reviews Management will insure higher average star ratings.”
National multi-store businesses and franchises have been focusing their attention on technology based data services when it comes to local business listings, however, the true value comes in the marketing solutions that effect marketing processes and strategic activities that go beyond local business listings and include reputation management along with interpretation and analysis of analytics and marketing data.
The additional difficulty for national multi-store businesses and franchises has been their focus on national marketing and not necessarily on store level reputation management, marketing or advertising.
Lastly, many national multi-store businesses and franchises are hoping their customers will visit their website, when infact there are over 200+ websites (search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites, and Business Directories) that are visited by consumers. The mere fact that these listings show in the search results before a corporate website’s store page, is indicative of the need for a geographic marketing solution at the store level and beyond the corporate website.
Geographic Web Marketing takes us down the path of not only web searches showing store level information from Local Business Listings, but the ability to promote marketing information (photos, images, coupons, discounts, offers, social media) along with managing the store’s customer ratings and reviews to insure positive experiences by consumers. A recently released study shows how 6 in 10 consumers make their decision based on the ratings and reviews they find at any website.
Geographic web marketing as a solution for national multi-location stores and franchises from Smartfinds Internet Marketing expands not only beyond Google, but also encompasses other elements that include Geo Tagging, Citation Marketing, QR Code Marketing, Consumer Rating and Reviews Management along with a Mobile Locations Finder mobile application. Geographic web marketing is a way to attract local customers online through strategies that leverage a business’ physical location. When fully leveraged with the company’s marketing content, pictures, logos, videos, events, coupons, promotions, customer reviews and more, it helps to insure customers will find your local business based on web searches or mobile searches.
About Smartfinds Internet Marketing
The most critical element of SmartFinds Internet Marketing services is the creativity and imagination to apply the technological aspects of the digital marketplace to the marketing objectives of a particular business. Initial research provides SmartFinds the ability to develop a digital strategy that can be measured every step of the way to insure business growth and revenue generation. Some of SmartFinds’ clients ComForcare Home Care, Delphi, Flagstar Bank, Guardian Industries, Soave Enterprises, McCann Erickson, Penske Automotive Group, Wendy’s, Ziebart and others. You can learn more about SmartFinds at http://www.smartfindsmarketing.com and their Geographic Marketing website at http://www.smartfindsgeographicmarketing.com.
New Release Contact
Melih Oztalay, CEO
Smartfinds Internet Marketing
Direct: (248) 568.2241
330 East Maple Road #503, Birmingham, MI 48009
Toll-Free: (866) 501-5758
Local business listings give your business the opportunity, for free, to make coupons, offers, discounts, photos, videos and more available to local customers. You can be as big as a Target and as small as a florist to take advantage of local business listings. As long as your business is dependent upon the local economy for your revenue, local business listings is an important local business marketing tool.
Local business listings show up in search results, in mobile search results and also in mobile applications. For this reason it is important that you to claim, update and manage your local business listing at multiple local listing websites, search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites and business directories. There is more to this than just Google.
If you have started to work with your local business listing, here are some tips for the holidays:
- Add photos about your business, products and services
- Add videos about your business, products and services
- Update your local listings keywords, categories and tags
- Create a coupon highlighting holiday specials
- Link to a menu of holiday events and offers
- Update your holiday business hours
- Write a post or add an event to engage with your local customers
These interactive yellow pages are important in your business marketing toolbox and you will have to watch for customer reviews as well. While you are in the process of updating your local business listings, you might as well start planning how to get satisfied customers to submit high ratings and positive comments about your business. You may wish to include:
- Displays cards asking for high ratings and positive comments at checkout or at the front counter.
- Make a laptop or computer available for customers to add their comments to your listing while they are in your store or office (if appropriate)
- Have cards ready to include with any purchase or perhaps with your invoices that you send out.
Customer comments are important not only for your business listing now, but also in the future. Get a start on managing the customer reviews sooner rather than later!
Certainly your time resources are limited and Local Business Listing Optimization Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. Additionally, this cost-effective service may eliminate your need for yellow pages advertising and its costs. Let the experts with over 16 years of Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly and prevent brand security issues from occurring.
Bill Hagen’s Out The Window Advertising partners with SmartFinds Internet Marketing to introduce businesses to the benefits and components of Geo-Marketing, including Geo-Listings, Mobile Marketing and Geo-Social Marketing
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA & DETROIT, MICHIGAN – July 28, 2010 (OUT THE WINDOW ADVERTISING | SMARTFINDS INTERNET MARKETING) – Out The Window Advertising (www.reachoutthewindow.com), a full service Arizona-based advertising agency, and SmartFinds Internet Marketing (www.smartfindsmarketing.com), a metropolitan Detroit-based agency which provides businesses with Internet marketing services and solutions, have recently partnered together to provide businesses with an opportunity to learn the many ways that Geo-Marketing can positively impact their bottom line.
The benefits and components of Geo-Marketing, include Local SEO, Geo-Listings, Mobile Marketing and Geo-Social Marketing. Geo-Marketing helps consumers to find local businesses, products or services through web searches, mobile searches and mobile applications. Geo-Listing Security, Consumer Reviews, and Reputation Management are additional components of the services offered.
“The partnership between Out The Window Advertising and SmartFinds Internet Marketing is an exciting opportunity to effectively introduce Geo-Marketing services to our clients,” commented Bill Hagen, President of Out The Window Advertising.
Most recently, Out The Window Advertising was ranked the 5th largest ad agency in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal. The team at Out The Window excels in the planning, development, placement, and creative execution of Television, Radio, Print, Direct Mail, e-commerce, social media and customer retention campaigns for over 90 clients nationwide.
Out The Window Advertising’s impressive client portfolio includes automotive dealerships. Commented agency President Bill Hagen, “Our car dealership clients are eagerly aware of the need for local marketing, local business marketing, and local dealership marketing.” Hagen added, “It’s interesting that the automotive industry relies on early adopters of automotive technology, and in the case of Geo-Marketing, car dealerships are themselves early adopters of Geo-Marketing technologies. The dealerships understand the importance of being found quickly by mobile and digital customers.”
SmartFinds Internet Marketing CEO, Melih Oztalay, stated “We are excited to partner with Bill Hagen and Out The Window Advertising in our effort to share the benefits of Geo-Marketing. We are currently working with Out The Window Advertising’s client base to claim and update local listings on behalf of 150+ car dealerships. Car dealerships are just one of many local businesses dependent upon local consumers for their revenue.”
Melih Oztalay has over fifteen years experience with Internet and digital services in developing strategies that utilize all facets of the World Wide Web. As a Internet marketing agency, SmartFinds Internet Marketing’s major focus is to develop multi-directional marketing campaigns to drive traffic to client web sites from more than just search engines.
Anyone interested in learning more about the ways in which businesses can use Geo-Marketing to be more easily located by local consumers may visit www.smartfindslocallisting.com. For more information about Out The Window Advertising, please visit www.reachoutthewindow.com.
About Out The Window Advertising
Out The Window Advertising was recently ranked the 5th largest ad agency in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal. The team at Out The Window excels in the planning, development, placement, and creative execution of Television, Radio, Print, Direct Mail, e-commerce, social media and customer retention campaigns for over 90 clients nationwide. For a true “one-stop shop,” Out The Window Advertising offers the use of their “In-House” production facility for all client projects. For more information about Out The Window Advertising, please visit www.reachoutthewindow.com.
About SmartFinds Internet Marketing
The most critical element of SmartFinds Internet Marketing services is the creativity and imagination to apply the technological aspects of the digital marketplace to the marketing objectives of a particular business. Initial research provides SmartFinds the ability to develop a digital strategy that can be measured every step of the way to insure business growth and revenue generation. Some of SmartFinds’ clients have included Delphi, Flagstar Bank, Guardian Industries, Soave Enterprises, Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, McCann Erickson, Wendy’s and others. You can learn more about SmartFinds at www.smartfindsmarketing.com.
Contact: Esther Lastacy, 330 E. Maple Road, Suite 503, Birmingham MI 48009, 866.501.5758, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have discussed the security risks of local business listing hijackings in the past. One of the comments made about these security discussions is why do the geo-listing websites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and up to 60 others insure the security to avoid hijackings? Of course the question to be asked is why should they provide the security service for a free marketing tool that will benefit the business?
Many of these websites do have some level of security built into the process of claiming an existing listing or adding a new listing. So far, these security processes have included sending a post card to the existing address with a pin code; a computer calling to the business phone number with the pin; or in some cases a manual review by staff working for these geo-listing websites.
On May 27th, Google announced that community edits of local business listings was no longer be allowed to go without staff review. An excerpt of their announcement states:
“We recently made a change to Google Maps to require all community edits to be reviewed before they are shown. In the past, some “pending” edits were shown immediately on Maps and only moderated (and sometimes denied) later on.
We’re taking this step to ensure that changes to Google Maps pass the high quality bar our users expect, while preventing SPAM and other problems from showing up before being reviewed first.”
In summary Google is stating all community edits made to unclaimed local business listings will have to be approved by a Google representative before they are sent live. Supposedly, this means no more worrying about a competitor hijacking your listing and stealing your customers. It definitely means it will take longer for information to reach the local consumers through web searches and mobile searches.
While on the surface this may sound like at least Google is addressing the security issues of local business listings, the announcement did not discuss the security of data coming from third party sources through API’s. Certainly third tier business directories have no security and their data is sold upstream or makes its way to other database across the Internet with wrong information available for the consumers.
Why the high expectations for Free Geo-Marketing services?
I am certainly concerned about the security issues around local business listings, but I cannot expect these geo-listing websites to provide security for my company. The reason I do not expect them to provide this security is because they are providing the marketing service for free. Why should any business assume that a free service should have high level of security? We could certainly say “you get what you pay for”!
The issue for businesses lies in the book titled “Crossing the Chasm”. This book discusses innovators vs. early adopters vs. late adopters. The questions to businesses that have seen the Internet add, mature, and change technologies are:
- How long are you going to continue to wait to adopt Geo-Marketing technologies to help you generate revenue?
- Do you feel like you’re always behind the eight ball with the Internet?
A business cannot possibly understand how to use the various Geo-Marketing technologies well. For this reason you need to consider securing professional help and engage in these marketing technologies sooner rather than later. Plan these technologies progressively over a 3-year period.
Additional incentives for early adoption of Geo-Marketing technologies
There are three critical points that businesses need to consider now and not wait until the 11th hour.
1. The first and foremost we already discussed, which is hijackings.
2. Now let’s add that for your business there may be multiple duplicate listings that need to be cleaned up, merged and/or deleted to not confuse the consumers when there are multiple listings for your business.
3. Lastly, consumer reviews especially negative ones can potentially have an adverse affect on your website’s search engine ranking positions as search engine adopt consumer reviews as an additional data point to decide who is in the top ten for a search.
Certainly your time resources are limited and Geo-Marketing Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find this to be of great benefit to your time resources and the low cost service may eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of over 16 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly and prevent brand security issues from occurring.