Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Google Maps Local Business Center YouTube Video Offers Helpful Hints

This video has been at the top of the search for Google Maps Local Business Center for months.

How to Get Reviews for Google Maps Local Business Center

According to information obtained from interviews with CitySearch.com, having a review of your business appear as part of your listing on a local search engine, doubles the likelihood that the person searching for a business to provide them with goods or services will take an action. Those actions might be to click to your website, a map, or your phone number. On Google Maps Local Business Center, these actions are recorded for you to see on the analytic that they offer for free when you claim your listing.

So how do you get reviews. Some may come to you without taking any action at all. Friendly customers who appreciated your products or services might just go home and decide to help you out with a review. My experience thus far has indicated that this rarely happens. So, you will likely need to take some pro-active measures to get reviews.

1. You might ask your top ten customers to do a review for you.

2. You might offer customers the opportunity to review you just after the completion of your interaction with them. You may even want to offer some inducement, such as a discount, or gift card, to get a friendly seeming client to do a review. The local search engines frown on this type of incentive effort, but it is happening every day. To speed this effort along, you might have a laptop of other computer handy for them to do the review.

3. While I don't recommend this, review yourself or have family and friends review you. The problem here is that sometimes such reviews come off sounding fake. If you use this method, be certain to use common sense in how you write the review. Again, I don't like this approach, but I know it is very common.

Setting up to do the review on Google Maps Local Business Center is fairly easy. Here is a step-by-step approach for posting the reviews. You may want to email this to your best customers when asking them for a review:

How to review a business on Google Maps Local Business Center

1. Starting from homepage www.Google.com, click on the link that says "maps" in the top-left corner of the screen.

2. At the top of the page, there will be a search bar in which you can enter

-Business name or keywords and a city or ZIP.

(E.g.: "Coronado Bay Urgent Care", or "Urgent Care" and "Imperial Beach" or "91932".)

2. Find the featured listing to the business you'd like to review. In that listing there will be a link that says "Write a review".

Click that link.

4. This opens a pop-up template in which you:

-Title your review

-Give a brief description of your experience there.

Once having filled this out, click the "Save" button under the review box.

Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Google Maps Local Business Center

1. Google Maps Local Business Center is making some folks rich and impoverishing others. Plumbers, locksmiths, hotels and others are in locked horned battles for positioning that is costing the losers plenty of money.

2. No matter what any so-called expert tells you, there is no possible way anyone can guarantee you top positioning on Google Maps Local Business Center. While we all hope that there is some justice in the algorithms used by Google to determine positioning on Google Maps, it is clear that the complexity of the system makes it impossible for humans to figure out the rules.

3. It is true that you can reverse the words in a key phrase and get different results. Similarly, you can add the state and get a different result than when just using the city.

4. Side-by-side zip codes in major metro areas my see one zip code or city with a 10 pack of companies showing next to the map, and the next zip code or city might not have a map at all.

5. You can take down your listing and put it up the next day and get a better ranking.

6. As with all things Google, the more relevant your Google Maps Local Business Listing, the more likely it is to rank toward the top.

7. Studies done by others, not me, indicate that reviews do matter, but that the rating on the review does not. I'm skeptical.

8. Google, City Search, and others have entered into an agreement to post reviews from each other's sites on their sites. This creates more relevant content.

9. Not having a catchy picture on your Google Maps Local Business Listing makes no sense at all. It's free and easy.

10. Rankings are clearly dependent on having information on the listing that can be confirmed on other listings and your website. If the address, phone number, and/or company name are different on other listings or on your website, it can dramatically effect your listing.

If you have questions about Google Maps, call 310-920-9649