Going Local With Google Search

lemonade_stand One of the hard things about a local business is getting noticed beyond your direct sphere of influence. As we have covered before, the web is the new Yellow Pages.  People search for the business they want through the internet and rarely use the big yellow book anymore. If they want a number or want to find a business, they type in such things as “Montreal florist”  or “best steakhouse in Toronto” into their favourite search.  Of course, as a business owner, your goal is to be right near the top of results. Now while we still feel that most business should consider a website, Google Local search does not require you to have one. All you need is a listing. And with a recent announcement, they ensure the minimum of having this listing is  a much more attractive proposition than with any other local search engine.   Google is now offering the following: A reporting dashboard to learn how people find your business, and more. So how to do you get started?

First create an account at Google. Add information such as business info, phone number and address.  Once submitted, your account will be in process. Within two weeks, Google will send to you (at the address indicated) a PIN number to activate your account. Upon activation you will get access to all the wonderful tools in the dashboard. Including the following:

  • Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
  • Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business’ website or requested driving directions to the business.
  • Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for “tea” or “coffee”?
  • Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.
If you already have a listing or account, you claim your account as well.  Do that here: Google’s Local Business Center (LBC). Even if you hadn’t claimed it until today, you’ll still be able to use the dashboard. Google is  automatically populating the dashboard with data from the past month. When you do log in to the LBC, you’ll notice a new “View report” link right under the general statistics. Clicking on that link will take you to the dashboard page, where you’ll find several features. You get information about “Impressions”, which  refers to the number of times that users saw your listing. You will get info about  “Actions”, which refers to how many times users interacted with your listing, for example to get direction. You can also change the date range selected to view more or less data. the best aspect of all, however, is you’ll find a list of the top search queries people used to  discover your business listing. As Google points out:”This gives you valuable insight into the ways that your potential customers are looking for you, and what terms are associated with your business.” We feel that these innovations are crucial to any brick and mortar business. We strongly urge you, if you have not already, to sign up at the LBC. Google has also put together the below video explaining the benefit of using their Google Local Business Center:

Adrian Speyer

About The Author: Adrian has over 12 years experience in Digital Marketing and Analytics. He currently works as a Marketing Manager at Vanilla Forums, a modern forum software platform that allows clients to connect and engage their communities and customers. He lives and works in Montreal.

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