Google Places Optimization Crash Course


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An in-depth 'Crash Course'

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Google Places Optimization Crash Course

  1. 1. Millions of people use Google every day to find places in the real world, and we want to better connect Place Pages the way that businesses are being found today with the tool that enablesbusiness owners to manage their presence on Google.Google launched Place Pages for more than 50 million places around the world to helppeople make more informed decisions about where to go, from restaurants and hotels to dry cleanersand bike shops, as well as non-business places likemuseums, schools and parks.Place Pages connect people to information from the bestsources across the web, displaying photos, reviews andessential facts, as well as real-time updates and offers frombusiness owners.Four million businesses have already claimed their PlacePage on Google through the Local Business Center, whichenables them to verify and supplement their businessinformation to include hours of operation, photos, videos,coupons, product offerings and more.
  2. 2. has totally theway in which small businesses can market to theconsumers that need them. states that are related toa location. that provides results formore than
  3. 3. conducted by people looking for something in theirarea. often converts at amuch higher rate than organic traffic.
  4. 4. You canread them, and more helpful articles at the help page:◦
  5. 5. what Consumers areusing to try to find your type of business or service inyour area. to do yourkeyword research and find the in your city.◦ ernal
  6. 6. for yourbusiness type in your local area.◦ In the Business Name/Vanity Header◦ In the Business Description◦ Choosing your Domain Name
  7. 7. – This is the exact name of thebusiness. Try to stay away from unofficial acronymsor shortened names. – PO Boxes don’t work. And you will needthis later when we get your listing to rank. – Gather all the phone numbers youneed. Toll and fax included. – You will need an email address tolist in your Google Places listing. Keep in mind thatpeople may use this to contact you
  8. 8. – You don’t need a website to havea Google Places listing, but it will help a lot when westart looking at ranking the listing. Plus, you reallyneed a website. – We will go over the detailslater, but start thinking about the categories thatmight define your business. –Do you carry certainbrands of products? How about specific servicesprovided? Start thinking about these.
  9. 9.  Influence Engines  Yelp   Yahoo local Online Local Business Directories   Merchant Circle  DexKnows Information & Data from a business owner  Google will take the direct submission and the information provided as more authoritative
  10. 10. You Can Claim or Create Your Business Listing in
  11. 11. Go to the Google Places site - You’llbe asked to sign in with your Google Account, or to register anew one. If you have a Google account, great. If not, signing up isa quick 1-page exercise.
  12. 12. Uploading a data file is an option for businesses that have many locations. Tokeep things simple, we’re going to use the Add new business button. If you havemore than five or so locations, the data file might be worthwhile – if you clickthat button, Google will provide instructions.When you choose to add your business, you’ll see a screen like this:
  13. 13. Most of this is pretty easy. A few things to keep in mind: • Google requires that you use a real company name under company/organization. You can probably use “Luigi’s Italian Restaurant” if your company name is “Luigi’s,” and this should help your page appear for Italian searches. If, however, you just list a dozen keywords alongside your company name, it might someday be penalized as spam. • Notice that underneath the map it says Fix incorrect marker location. After you fill in your address information, this map will update. If it puts your business in the wrong place – fix it • If you don’t have a website, that’s ok – but it’s well worth coming back and adding it once you do. • Create a good-sounding description. If you can include some keywords people might be searching for, that’s a bonus. • Spend some time with the categories. You’ll notice that it provides suggestions as you type. Use these to find as many relevant categories as you can, up to the limit of 5.
  14. 14. Be mindful of your target keyword phrases and besure to include them at least once in:  Your Business/Organization Title  Your Business Description  One of Your Listing CategoriesStay away from P.O. Box & 800 numbers  Use your REAL Business Address  Use a Local Phone Number
  15. 15. Remember to Add Pictures  Upload from your computer  Get public domain photos from the internetRemember to Add Videos  You can utilize videos on YouTube that are industry Specific  WARNING: Be sure only to use Videos that have a Common Creative License to avoid copyright issues.
  16. 16. Double Check All Your Information  Check Keywords and Listing Categories  Make Sure All the Contact Info is Correct  Don’t Forget to List Your WebsiteSubmit Your Listing to Google  Follow the verification instructions carefully  Choose Phone or Postcard verification  Click Submit, wait to receive your verification code, then go to your Google Business Center Dashboard & Enter Code
  17. 17. Edit Your Listing Click on Edit, and existing information can be edited, or new info added. Remember to go back and fill in any sections you skipped during the initial setup.View Visitor Statistics & Post To Page Click on View report, and a page will appear that looks like the picture on the previous slide
  18. 18. View Visitor Statistics & Post To Page There is some great information here, as you can see the number of visitors to your page, what those visitors do on the page, what searches they are using, and where they are asking for driving directions from. You can also post to your place page, using the small box in the upper-right corner. This allows for the posting of real-time updates, primarily intended for businesses that have special events happening on a regular basis.
  19. 19. Create Coupons At the very top of the page on your dashboard screen, there should be a link to Coupons. Upon clicking this link, you’ll be taken to a page where you can create a new coupon, or manage existing coupons. The coupons are fairly self-explanatory. The big benefit is that they receive a prominent showing on your Places page, and should help convince customers to consider your business. Coupons can either be printed by a customer, or displayed on their cell-phone (so be prepared to track customer use of non- printed coupons).
  20. 20. Google Tags ($25/Month) Google is testing a feature called Tags, which is available in a select set of cities. The program runs $25 per month, and allows a business to highlight their listing on Google Maps with a special yellow tag containing additional information. I don’t have much experience with the efficacy of this advertising method. It’s inexpensive enough, however, to give a try – and the statistics on the Google Places Dashboard should make it easy to see how it has worked. You can access more information at
  21. 21. Google Places QR Codes QR codes are small symbols that can be read by cell phones. On the right hand side of the statistics page, you will see a QR code for your business. If it is scanned by the camera of a properly setup phone, the Places QR code will send the phone directly to your Places page. Google would like you to print out the QR code and have it available to your customers. This might be a good way to get customers to review your business on Google Places, although you will need a very tech- savvy clientel to get much use in the near future.
  22. 22. Free Photo Shoots from Google Google is currently providing free photo shoots to businesses in select cities. The shots are taken by a local photographer, and are intended for use on Google Places. This could be an easy way to get more professional shots than you would take yourself – for more information, visit Google’s Business Photos page at
  23. 23. Why Google Boost? Google Boost and Location Extensions both allow local companies to advertise on Google’s search results. Location Extensions are accessed through the Adwords interface, and are a good choice for more advanced users. For the average business owner going the DIY route, Google Boost may be the better option. Ads look like this:
  24. 24. All the listings in the yellow box at the top and down the right-handcolumn of the page are various types of ads. Most are regularAdwords ads.The Google Boost ad is number 2 – notice the blue pushpin with alittle dot in the center. The Location Extensions are both on theright side of the page – the blue pushpins with letters in the center.Note that the positioning of each ad is dependent on the amountsbeing paid, not the type of ad.Google Tags, although their demise has been announced, have notyet been removed. The little yellow “tags” at the bottom of somelistings are this advertising product.
  25. 25. So what are the advantages of Boost? • It’s easy – as I’ll be describing in a moment. • Google automatically bids you up near the top of the page, guaranteeing that your listing will be seen (although potentially making it expensive as well) • Your ad gets some nice highlights – the blue pushpin draws the eye, and searchers are able to click the main link to reach your website, or the “Place Page” link to go to your Google Places page. • Like most Google products, but unlike Tags, you pay for performance – charges are based on actual clicks.
  26. 26.  Step 1: Create Your Listing Login to your Google Places account. On the dashboard, there will be a link for “Create Boost ad.” Click it and you will be taken to a screen like this:
  27. 27. Along the right side of the screen will be a preview of your ad.You can choose a headline and description, and pick whether thead will land on your website or Google Places page. If you havea good website, that’s probably where you’ll want to send people– although a large number of enthusiastic reviews may make youwant to consider the Place page.You’ll also be able to choose categories for your ad. I’ve deletedthem here to anonymize the screenshot. You should choose onlyvery relevant categories – if you have people seeing a free listingon marginally relevant searches, that’s fine – but you don’t wantto pay for those same clicks. If you’re getting great performancefrom Boost, you can come back later and expand the reach.
  28. 28. Finally you’ll reach the budget section. The total you can spend, andthe amount it may cost per click will vary wildly depending on yourlocation and industry. (In this example alone, differentcategory choices can yield cost per clicks between ~$.75 and $10).Keep in mind that you can always choose “Custom” and pick anyamount, down to a minimum of $50/month. It’s reasonable to start lowand move it up if things work – just keep in mind that you have to get areasonable sample size. If you’re budgeting $50/month and are beingcharged $10 per click, it’ll take a long time to get a handle on how wellBoost is working.Once you’ve finished setting up the ad, you’ll be taken to a paymentscreen where Google will collect a credit card number.
  29. 29. Step 2:Tracking & Improving Before we get started on improving performance, let’s look at what is going on behind the scenes. Google makes Boost easy by hiding some of the choices from you. A few of these are: • Keywords: Google is choosing which searches your ad should show for (if you were using the full Adwords interface you would have to pick the keywords). • Bids: Google is choosing your bids for each keyword. Again, this is something you can do yourself in the full Adwords interface. They usually bid you to near the top of the page – which is good for getting lots of clicks. • Ads & Ad Groups: Google is allowing you only one ad. In the setup used with Location Extensions, you can create multiple ads, and even specify different ads for different keywords.
  30. 30. In a normal situation, keywords, bids, and ads are some of the key thingsto work on – but with Boost, it’s pretty much taken care of. You canchoose new categories, adjust your total bid amount, or write new ads(but without split-testing), however your options are limited.This will limit the scope for improvement, but it does make things easy –and it may be ok for many small companies. With small budgets,businesses struggle to get enough data to improve these aspects anyway.Once your boost ad is setup, you’ll automatically see your “Boost adactivity” on the regular Google Places Dashboard. You get graphs withimpressions and actions, total impression, action, and spend amounts, anda listing of your “Top search keywords” (those with the mostimpressions).
  31. 31. So how can we improve our results with Boost? The key is in better-converting those clicks that come to your site. For most businesses, that means having a decent website, and really going after web leads. Make sure your website has an easy to fill out contact form, and that your phone number is prominent on every page. Create a system to make sure web leads get called back immediately, not a couple days later. I would also recommend tracking everything as well as you can, so that you can see if you’re improving.
  32. 32. Watch how many people click your Boost ad, what they do on yourwebsite, and how many end up contacting your business.If all that sounds impossible, you’re probably better off workingwith someone to improve your website and processes beforethrowing big $$$’s at advertising online.
  33. 33. Google Boost can bring in more business, starting after abouta 5-minute signup. That’s pretty seductive, but it can also bean awfully expensive program. So who should use it? See ifyou check all these off: • Is your website decent? • Is your company prepared to effectively handle both call-ins and contact form leads? • Is your budget for advertising on Google more than $50, but less than ~$1500 • Have you exhausted cheaper lead sources? (Putting a bit of effort into your Google Places page, garnering online reviews, and getting citations through other local directories will probably provide a much better ROI than Boost).
  34. 34. Having a relevant, keyword-rich business listing inGoogle places is only part of the equation:Off-page marketing is equally a critical factor in theyour Local Search Marketing Strategy.
  35. 35. Here are a couple of things that you can do, quickly, tohelp ensure good exposure for your business on Google: Create Business Listing profiles on the major influence engines and local business directories that Google collects data from like:  Yelp   Facebook  Merchant Circle    Yellowpages/
  36. 36.  Encourage New & Existing Customers to post 5 Star Reviews on your Google Place Page as well on your business profile on the other influence engines and local business directory websites. Interact online by Responding to the Reviews on your Place Page Join the Chamber of Commerce in Your City ◦ .gov backlinks to your website and your place page carry a lot weight & authority with Google in terms of Relevence
  37. 37.  Consider integrating some off-line marketing/advertising in to your strategy by posting a sticker (like the ones below) in your store window or main entrance.
  38. 38. Thank you very much for attending this SPECIAL Google places Crash Course Webinar!Let’s Know if there is anything else that youcan do to assist you in marketing your Local Business.
  39. 39. Got a Question?........ Get an Answer.
  40. 40. In the interest of time and out of consideration of the other webinar attendees (and the trainer!!): 1. Each Local Business Owner/Webinar Attendee will be given the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from the Local SEO Expert Trainer2. Participants will be allow to ask up to 2 questions, so that everyone may get a change to talk with the SEO Trainer with this webinar’s Allotted time.
  41. 41. Thank You