Monday, May 31, 2010

The Google Places Coupon Can Help You Score Points with the Google Places Local Business Directory

Truth be known, I don't think many consumers care much or even know about Google Places Coupons, but you can be sure that Google cares about them and will add to your "score" if you create a coupon for you Google Places directory listing.  Here's more on the subject in a short video.

The Google Places Description is a Critical Element in How to Set Up and Optimize Your Google Places Directory Listing

You may have heard of the elevator speech where you need to tell someone in 4 floors enough about your  mortgage broker business to get your listener to ask for your card.  The description space on the listing form for Google Places Directory is only 200 characters, counting spaces, or about 40 words.  You need to tell your whole story in a way that is captivating and yet includes keywords.

Here's a video with much more to say on the subject.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Google Places Directory - Ten Tips on How To Get Conversions from Google Places Business Listings

Getting your chiropractic office set up on Google Places is one thing.  Getting it on the outside MAP is the second thing.  But what if all that work doesn't cause the phone to ring.  No internet Marketing plan is worth anything if your resulting visibility does not result in conversions or actions taken.  What is a conversion?

A Google Places conversion is turning the impression into a visit, the visit into some kind of action, and the action into an order.  At any point along the way, the process can get hung up and the impression is wasted.  It is not unusual to see companies get 30 impressions per day with only 3 actions such as clicked a link to the website, blog, or other link offered, looked for directions, or checked out the coupon.   Google Places offers no method for finding out if someone calls your company on the phone.  Your staff should be asking every caller and visitor to the store how the person heard about you so that you can determine which advertising efforts are paying off.

What can you do to increase conversions:
  1. Be on the outside MAP.  
  2. Show up #1.  If this is obvious, sorry, but it needed to be on this list.
  3. Have lots of reviews.  Consumers assume (probably correctly) that number of reviews correlates with quality of the business
  4. Make sure you have a great first picture as it is the one that shows up as a thumbnail icon.
  5. Fill out everything in the listing in great detail per the tutorials and posts in this blog.
  6. Have plenty of action steps available.  Use links in the NewFlash section and the More Details.
  7. Offer a great deal in the coupon and in the NewsFlash
  8. Look over all the content and ask if this content would sell you on taking action.
  9. Make sure you website, blog, facebook or any other resource the client clicks to is a selling machine.  Does it engage, persuade, close, and capture the client.
  10. Watch your analytics and make changes based on results

Google Places Business Listings More Details Section - Load It Up!

Let's say you are a law firm using Google Places and you've filled out the rest of the form using all the ideas and suggestions in this blog or on the video series.  Now you are at the bottom of the page and you get lots of space to talk all about what you do.  You could put practice areas on the left and then list family law, criminal law, real estate law, and personal injury law on the right hand side. 

Or you could list family legal services on the left and divorce law, custody issues, spousal support, child support on the right.  You can also use this area to link your Facebook to Google Places or your Blog.  Just put in any URL you want to link.  You could also link an inside page from your website that was about a specific area of your business.  So using the law firm example again, you could put child support on the left and then put a link on the right that goes to the inside page of your website that talks about child support.   Here is a video that explains more detail.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Google Places Official Site Recommends Videos

Putting up a video is really easy.  Finally something that is uncomplicated.  But where or how do you get a video.  This video give you several options including hiring us to create a video for you.

But if you don't have a video, you might find some on the web that you can use.  If you are an Orthodontist setting up Google Places  looking for videos to put up, you could search YouTube for videos on Invisalign or braces or other manufacturers of aspects of your business. There is nothing wrong with listing these videos on your Google Places as long as they are not your competitors.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Put Pictures on Google Places Business Listings - Video Tutorial

The picture section of Google Places is extremely important.  Obviously, putting picture onto the places information section makes the whole presentation look much more exciting.  For a lawyer or doctor, a picture of the owner might be a good idea.  But for a jewelry store on Google Places, I would suggest a picture of a really nice ring.

The potential customer or client will learn a lot more about you from 10 pictures than from 10,000 words (or so the saying goes).  But the importance doesn't stop there.  Google counts those pictures towards your 100% status and thus it will effect your standing on the outside MAP.  If those two reasons weren't enough, your first picture becomes an thumbnail icon on your primary listing.  And if you have that picture, and it is emotionally appealing, you will undoubtedly increase the number of folks who click in to see the rest of your places site.  Here is a video with some more instructions.  You can also check out the pictures tutorial on the right side column of this blog.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Google Places Categories - Video Gives Clear Tutorial on How to Select Google Places Categories

Google Places has only one piece of advice for you on selecting a category.  The first one of the five allowed should be one of the options that Google Places offers in the pull down menu that appears when you put in a key word.  How do you decide which one to use?  What about the other four categories? These questions and more are answered in this video and in the Tutorial in the right hand column.  Some of the material is in both places.  A few things aren't. 

Google Places Directory: How To Claim Your Google Places Listing

Received an email from a visitor to the blog who astutely pointed out that I had never covered the beginning of the process.  Obviously, it is kind of hard to understand all the detailed inner workings of Google Places if you have not been able to find your business and claim it.

First, let's define CLAIM.  Almost all local search engines and directories (same thing to me.  I like to just call all of them LSE's), buy or otherwise acquire lists of businesses from various sources.  So when you try to find your listing for a Hair Salon or Barber Shop on YellowPages or Yahoo.local or here at Google Places, you might find that there is information about you appearing and you didn't do anything to cause that to happen.  When you find a listing of this type and you have not "signed up" with that LSE, then your listing is fair game.

By fair game, I mean that in many cases any member of the public can add to, subtract from, or change your listing.  This might be friend or foe.  You can well imagine the ways that your competitor or any other enemy might alter your listing for their benefit.  AND anyone can claim your listing.  They can say that they are the owner.  Now, each LSE has different ways to try and keep an interloper from claiming what is rightfully yours.  However, the best way to solve that is to claim it yourself.

There are two ways to do this.  Step one in the process is to look your business up on Google Maps.  Type in your business type and city (see first image below for Bakery Pomona) or business name and city (see second images below).  You will get a map most of the time.  If you see your name, click on more information if that is showing or reviews if not.  If you are not already listed, skip way down on this post to see what to do to create a new listing.

Google Places Analytics - Tips to Getting Maximum Benefit from Google Places

As a marketing consultant, one of the greatest challenges I face is working with my client to get tracking for any campaign.  Whether it is a newspaper ad, Craig's List, a local trade show, an ad in an industry publication, or the use of a promotional product, most owners and their employees have a hard time remembering to ask "How did you hear about us," whether on the phone, by email, or in person.

Without accurate tracking information there is little hope of getting enough real feedback to determine the success of any effort.  Sure, you can look at the quantity of contacts during the campaign, or the total sales around that time, but these are subject to other influences, and therefore not an accurate gauge.

Enter internet marketing.  One of the best aspects of online marketing is that many of the stats are automatically gathered by the advertiser or through attaching statistical tools to the back end of any online marketing ap.  So it is with Google Places.  And the huge results that can be seen in the analytic tool supplied by Google Places is one of the reasons I continue to point to this marketing product as the most important in the local internet marketing toolbox.

Here's the sad thing.  Most owners of small local businesses don't bother to check the analytics that are so easily accessible and free.  The wealth of information is huge, and can be used to impact future purchases, locations, phone practices, prices, couponing, event planning, and other online advertising approaches.

Google has now created a central location where you can access all of your Google products and tools.  Just type in  If you haven't signed in recently, you'll have to supply your id and password.  You will get something that looks like the above (although you likely don't have quite so many items on your page).

If you have claimed a Google Places business under this account, you should see Google Places as a link like the one in the first column on this page.  click that and you will go to this page.

Here is where you can start digging in to see who is looking for you, what they do when the find you, and what keywords they are finding you under, just to name a few. I will devote more time to this in a future post. For now - just go there and play around to see what is of interest to you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Google Places Business Listing Tip - The Phone Number Question

Your name, address, and phone number need to be consistent throughout the web if you want Google Places to rank your business high on the outside MAP. We discussed how to choose the company name and address on tutorial videos 1 and 2. Now we go on to the issue of how to choose or determine the right phone number to use.

Google Places - Confirmation by Phone or Postcard? Tips and Secrets

You have just finished filling out all the blanks on the Google Places local business listing form.  With equal parts pride and wariness, you push the submit button.  Instead of the message you might be expecting that "an email has been sent to your email address.  Please open that email and confirm your listing by clicking the link as instructed," you are told that you will have a choice.

Your choice is to get your Google Places listing confirmation by phone or by postcard.  You are warned that it will take up to two weeks to get the postcard.  If you want to get confirmed by phone, you need to be ready to answer the phone listed on the form.  You also have the choice of providing an alternate phone for the purpose of this confirmation. 

  1. You are almost always going to want the phone confirmation.  Who wants to wait two weeks?  So if the phone confirmation is offered, click the little circle and continue.  At this point you will be notified that if you continue, your phone will ring right now.  It will.  And a robot will give you a 5 digit number that you will use on the form now in front of you to confirm your listing.  Easy, fast, no problem. 
  2.  If you choose to use the phone route, don't use and alternative phone number.  Don't ask?  Just always use your primary number
  3. When you press go, the phone will ring almost immediately.  If you have multiple lines, the call may be answered by someone not expecting a robotic voice to give a five digit number.  So, alert your staff in advance that the next call is yours.
  4. If you blow it.  If someone else does pick up, or if you get the number wrong, or if anything goes wrong, you can go back and resubmit, and generally you will still get the phone option.
  5. For reasons known and unknown, sometimes you won't get the phone option.  Go ahead and click the postcard option.  In two week or less you will get the postcard which will have the five digit code.  Go back into your listing area and put the number in to complete the process.
  6. After agreeing to the postcard method, wait an hour and go back to edit your listing.  Go to the bottom of the page and submit.  You may now get the phone option.  If not, try again the next day. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to Set Up Google Places - Video on Choosing Your Addresss

Because there is no better location on the Internet for most local businesses than to be visible on Google Places, each and every aspect of setting up your listing becomes critical in determining whether you get the results you want. One such element is the address. Wish it were so simple. Just write down your address. As explained in the tutorial on Google Places Choosing an address in the right column of this blog and expanded upon in this video, you might need to think a big more about your address choice.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

#1 Google Places Business Listing Tip - How to Choose Your Business Name

Local SEO marketing expert Randy Kirk explains how to choose your company name when setting up your listing on Google Places. What? You already have a company name?  Kirk explains that you may need to change it.  This is the first in at least ten tutorial videos that will supplement the written information in our pages on this blog.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Can You Pay Us to Help You with Google Places Business Listings?

We are in the business of helping small businesses with their internet marketing as well as their more traditional offline marketing.  We have become especially proficient and knowledgeable with regard to Google Places, thus you have this blog.  However, we are top drawer creators, designers, and developers of websites, email blasts,  PR releases, YouTube Videos, blogs, and related activities. 

Our prices tend to be under market as our niche is businesses with no employees up to about 50 employees.  We have no interest in becoming a 10 story office building with blue reflective windows.  Instead we would be excited to have a bunch of mom and pop businesses growing and prospering in part due to our input.

You can learn a lot more about our services by going to  You can learn a lot more about me personally by Googling my name, or checking out my old nasty website at  It is pretty ugly, but the information is very valid.

I have also produced a couple of dozen Youtube videos that might help you with various aspects of your business such as collections, sales, or how to benefit from the use of YouTube videos.

Call me anytime at 310-910-1848.  No secretaries to intervene, no voice mail and call back.  You'll almost always get me.  I might be at the ball field watching my son strike out the side, but I'll still pick up. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Google Places Business Listing Issue – One or More Businesses or Business Services in One Location

Google Places Business Listings has a major issue for almost all businesses.  Almost every business has more than one thing they do or want to tell the world they do.  Even if I'm a restaurant, I may want to rank high for restaurant in general and Mexican Restaurant Specifically.  But now what do I do about my catering business, or my banquet business.  Then I may want to use the location as a great meeting location.  

Our restaurant owner really, really wants to appear on the outside MAP for all of those. He isn’t at all happy with being relegated to the inside listings on page 4 or 5 for any of those.

The answer to his dilemma is very complicated and can be expensive. First, he can go 100% legit. He lists his business, Paco's, the address, phone, and then goes to categories. He puts his five categories in the boxes and uses the description, and detail sections to further illustrate that he is really good at all five.

Chances are that if he does all the other things listed on these pages, he will show up on the outside MAP for at least restaurant (depending on how much competition in the city) and maybe his second choice.

What could he do to get a few more. How about change the name of his restaurnat to Pacos Mexican Restaurant and Catering. By having all three in his Name, he will help to get those three to higher levels of Google’s attention. He needs this new name to be on all places where his name appears on the web, including his website, blog, City Search,, Yelp, Yahoo, and everywhere else.

What next. Go ahead and start a second business in the same location. Get a real honest-to-goodness dba or corp name for the second business. This one could be Mexican Banquets and Meeting Room. (If you hire me for branding, I will do better than this, I promise.) Now you need another web page or landing page or blog that shows this name and your address, and a different phone number. Now list this second business all over the web. Then, last, come back to Google docs under a new Google Account and set up your second company.

There are other possible solutions, but I’ll save those for another day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Google Places Business Listing - Put A News Flash on Your Google Places Business Listing

Google Places Business Listings should start pulling way ahead of the other Local Search Engines real soon.  They just have so many ideas that are so clever, useful, and inexpensive.  This one could be called the Twitter of local search.

Since you, as a marketer or business owner should be checking your Google Places Analytics daily or at least weekly to see trends and make revisions in your strategy for both Google Places and your other online advertising, you can quickly put up a news piece right as shown below.  And since Google seems like they forgot how to name things after they created the great name Google, I'll name this for them.  Google Places News Flash.  Note the box under the "Post to your place page."  I created a post for this client.  All you do when you want to change it is do a new one in that box.

Here is where your Google Places News Flash appears.  Note how I also used the location to create another link to the website.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ten Quick Tips for Setting Up Google Places

You take one look at this blog and your already exhausted just thinking about how much work it will be to truly optimize your Google Places listing.  Just filling out the form for the basic set up of Google Places is enough to make some people wish for 5:00 to show up.  So, can I give you some basic, quick help for Google Places that will at least take care of the obvious and maybe get me on the outside MAP in easy cities for easy keywords.   Here's that list:

1.  Use the real name of your company.  Add one or two keywords if your company name has no keywords in it.  (eg.  Trendy is the real name and they are a women's shoe store.  Use Trendy Women's Shoes.

2.  Use your real address and make sure it is the same everywhere it appears.  Put the address on the front page of your website.

3.  Use a local phone number, not and 800 number.  Make sure it is the same number that appears on the front page of your website and elsewhere on the web.

4.  When choosing the category for your company, use one that Google suggests for the top category.  For the other four, use Google suggestions or make up your own.

5.  Put up pictures.  The first one should be a picture that will look good as an icon, as it will appear to the left of your listing on the inside MAPS.

6.  Put up videos.  They will help to make Google Happy.  Use any video about what you do.  Does not have to be a video you produced.

7.  Use the additional information boxes at the bottom of the listing form.  You can use links in these boxes to your blog, facebook, etc.

8.  Create a Coupon.  Can't hurt.  Might actually get some sales from them

9.  Set up your business in a New Google Account.  Don't put it in your personal Google Account, another business Google Account, or a 3rd party vendor's Google Account.

10.  Get reviews.  Lots of them.  Ask friends, family, and your best customers to review you.

Bonus.  If you want this done right, either read and completely follow the instructions elsewhere on this blog or hire a pro to do it for you.  In fact, hire us.  310-910-1848.  Ask for Randy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Google Places - Set Up New Google Account For Each Business - No Third Party Google Accounts


When setting up your Google Places account, keep in mind that there is no way to transfer this account to someone else.  If you should sell the business or have any other reason to want to transfer control of the account to another person, you will need to shut down the listing and start over.  This means losing all of your reviews and citations.    Obviously this could be a huge loss.

Therefore, DO NOT allow your marketing consultant, advertising agency, or any other outside company to create your listing in their account.  They may wish to do this for convenience.  You need to create this listing in YOUR Google Account.

DO NOT use your personal Google Account or the Google Account of another business you own or control to create your listing. 

DO Create a brand new Google Account for each business that you own.  This way you will be able to transfer control of the account to a new owner without losing any of the work that has gone into the creation of the account.

You should use this thinking with regard to all local search engine listings such as MerchantCircle, HotFrog,, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, and others.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Google Places Alert - Add Links to Your Google Places Listing

Started to see info about this a week ago when we reported that Google Places would allow links to a restaurant menu or a hotel reservation desk. Some wondered then whether this would be expanded.  Apparently there was no expansion necessary.  But in another example of Google being a monster version of Mario Bros, we just need to figure this stuff out for ourselves.  Thus, put any link you want.  The obvious links would be anything that isn't your website and things in your website that you would like to point to directly. 

So blogs, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, MySpace (who?), Meetup pages would all be examples of pages outside your website that could be linked.  As far as inside is concerned, you might want to point to specific products, brands, services, specials, biographies of leadership.  The list could go on and on. 

To add these links you merely access your Places listing by going back to your Google Account.  Next hit the edit link.  All the way at the bottom of the form you will see the Additional Details Section.  You add the link just as I have done for Montrose Bike's Blog.

Google Places - Multiple Professionals in One Street Address Can Have Multiple Places Listings

Just picked up off of a new Blumenthal's blog on Understanding Google Maps and Local Search

In an interview with Google
I decided however, to get Google’s “official” opinion on the matter so I asked Ari Bezman, Google’s product manager for the Local Business Center Google Places as to how Google thought this situation should be handled.
MB: What is Google’s recommended practice in regards to handling the multiple listings that most professionals and clinics end up with?
Should we endeavor to have one listing for the practice Place and merge all of the doctors (or whatever) into the one listing or should a we endeavor to keep the individual doctor listings?
Ari: Each doctor (or other independent professional) should have their own listing, with one more listing for the clinic.
MB: A related question is that often the Doctor listings come into Google with a format of Dr Name: Speciality . Is that the preferred business name or is just the Dr. Name preferred?
Ari: The name should just be Dr. Name. The specialty should be in the category and/or the description.
 There followed a lively discussion on what this means.  Does or should this only apply to professionals?  What about businesses with widely different product categories or services?  At least for the moment, we have it from the horses mouth, professionals operating out of a single business location can list themselves one at a time.   As to the issue of how to name each professional, I noted that Ari said "should be."  I doubt if that is true.  I believe that the Dr. Could surely add a specialty, but I would stop at Dr. Jones Heart Surgeon unless I had a DBA for a longer name.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Google Places Says, "Owner Content Gets Priority"

The new Google Places Help Forum is not great yet, but certainly better than before.  An employee posted that Google does buy information from others, including  In the course of buying that information, there can be competing information.  This competing information can even have to do with key elements such as your name, address, phone number and such. 

One of my clients has a picture on her Places listing that she doesn't like.  It came in from CitySearch.  No telling where CitySearch got the photo, but you get the point.  The Google Places Rep said that Google will even call a business to find out which information is correct, when there is a conflict.  I would love to hear of examples of that happening.

The key element in the forum post:  Owner supplied information, pictures, and videos will always be preferred to info coming in from other sources, including the paid sources.  This is why it is so important that you claim your Google Places listing and keep it fresh. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Google Places - Yellow Pages of The Present and Future

Lest anyone think I dost protest too much, check out the following post.  Google has to the position, the product, and the power to be the king of local search.  Like the 2010 Lakers, it is there's to lose.

Is Google Becoming the New Ma Bell?

Sponsored by Microsoft Mobile Advertising
First off, some younger readers might not get the comparison. The colloquial term Ma Bell ("Mother Bell") was used to refer to the conglomerate that held a complete monopoly over all telephone service in most areas of the United States. In effect, they were the utility that brought communication to U.S. consumers and businesses. Fast forward about 100 years and we see a similar "utility" emerging in Google as it moves further to embed its product set and services in the minds of both consumers and businesses.

Nowhere is this pattern more evident than in the realm of local search. With over 65 percent marketshare of search (according to comScore) and nearly $12 billion in annualized revenue from U.S. search (according to Google's Q1 2010 Quarterly Earnings Summary); I think we can all agree that Google is a successful business. Interestingly though, all of this success has come from leveraging a relatively small base of advertisers, around 1 million U.S. advertisers (as of 2009). Considering there were over 29 million businesses in the U.S. in 2008 (according to SBA), it stands to reason that Google has an opportunity to dominate the local search marketplace.
Let's consider the facts; one in five searches on Google is now explicitly location-specific. Recently, Google has taken some steps to enhance the local-search process on its site as well as the local content itself. Most notably, these steps include:
  • The revamp of the Local Business Center - now called Google Places
  • Google Maps allowing service-based businesses to target service areas
  • The enhanced localization of Google Suggest

Friday, May 7, 2010

Google Places and the Effect of Citations on Placement on the Outside MAP

This is for fellow SEO and marketing consultants who are looking for a major edge over the competition, and for those business owners and marketing managers who are frustrated with their inability to get the Google Places listing to rank as high as they would like. 

You've read every word in this blog.  You have more reviews than anyone.  You have 100% rating on Google Places in completeness of your listing.  You have an active coupon.  You have listed the company with exactly the same name, address and phone number on a large list of other Local Search Engines, and the name address and phone number are on the home page of the website in text.  You've done all that, but you're still showing up on an inside page of Google Places.

Why do all those things first before worrying about citations.  Because those things are all more likely to get you to your goal, and because this advice on citations is hard, boring, and only remotely going to add to your "points" with Google. 

Then why do it at all.  Because those last few points might be just what you need to move up. 

With that huge long introduction out of the way, we next need to define citation.  A citation is other websites that mention you, especially if they have credibility in the same field.  If you are a bakery and you get a write up in the local paper as the best bakery in town, and the online version of that paper includes your name and hopefully your url, you gain credibility.  These are citations.

Now, go to every listing above you in rank.  Check out the citations that Google is showing as per the picture of the example listing shown here.  What you now want to do is see if you can get a citation from those same sources.  In some cases it may be as simple as being added to a directory of some kind.  In other cases you may need to convince someone to do a write up on you. 

The frustrating part of all this is that there is absolutely no guarantee that Google will pick up your citation even if you do all this work.  But they probably will.  The good news is that most of the citations you gain might have benefits in their own right, and may also help the status of your website, blog, or other urls that are mentioned in the citations. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Google Places and the Prioritizing of Keywords and City/Zip Codes

Can you have it all?  Truth?  No.  You can do everything I suggest and do it at the top of the game, but you aren't going to get every keyword for every city and every zip code you care about on Google Places.  I happen to be working with a personal trainer in West Los Angeles right now who's business makes the case. 

She would like to rank high under Pilate Instructor, Pilate classes, Fitness, Exercise Classes, Nutrition, Personal Trainer, boot camp, weight loss consultant, personal fitness coach, and others.  In addition, her location in West Los Angeles  would allow her to draw from 15 actual cities such as Santa Monica, Culver City, and El Segundo, plus another 10 Los Angeles "villages" such as Westwood, Venice, and Marina Del Rey.  I wish there was a way to do all that.

Google Maps and other Local Search Engines (LSE's) are all structured to provide at least some indexing based on how close they are to the search city.  So in the example above, if I'm searching for Personal Trainer Santa Monica, I'm not going to want an El Segundo business to show up first.  (El Segundo is 8 miles away.) 

However, if I'm the business owner, and my business is on the border of Santa Monica and Mar Vista, but actually located in Mar Vista (a much smaller village of Los Angeles than the City of Santa Monica), I sure would like to show up on the MAP in Santa Monica. 

Unfortunately...reality check are going to have to do some prioritizing.  In fact, you should likely pick one key word and one city first.  Next decision.  Do you try to expand your reach under that keyword or work harder to show up under more key words in the primary city?  Either way, the further you get in distance or the more keywords you want, the harder it is to achieve.  But it is better to at least set clear goals.

If you want to expand your reach beyond the "natural" limits of Google Places algorithm, there are some tricks that I will likely never publish.  For that you probably need to call me at 310-910-1848.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Restaurant Marketing With Google Places - Outside on the MAP is Critical

Google Places for Restaurant Marketing should be a top priority for all who hope to compete in any local market.  And after you've done all the basics outlined on this blog in the PAGES section, you will need to really step up the effort on Reviews, Coupons, and Citations.  Everyone in the local search engine business agrees that you will need to get more and more reviews on Yelp, CitySearch, and other local search engines if you want to compete.  In the restaurant business you also need listings and reviews in the specific Restaurant directories, and you need to be front and center on the mobile device listings.  This is a tall order, but your future could well depend on it.

But the big deal is being outside on the MAP.  Getting that position will actually depend on getting those reviews, citations, and having an active coupon.  Methods for getting reviews will be the subject of an upcoming post.  

For most restaurants, spending several $1000 dollars per month on print, radio, AdPac, etc., is pretty much the minimum you can do.  For just $1000 to $2000 you can really get a ton of permanent online positioning that will last for years to come.  You can do it yourself by reading these pages and subscribing to these posts, or you can get it done by a pro.  If you're inclined to just get it done, call 310-910-1848. 

A great website with excellent local SEO is a big part of the way you get on the outside MAP.  Local SEO is one of our specialties.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Google Places Help Forum Now WAY More Helpful

Used to be that a trip to the Google Local Business Center Help Forums had about the same chance of yielding a satisfactory answer as doing the lottery in California.  Can't say that I was never helped, but after going there for help 3 or 4 times, I gave up. 

Happy to say that the change of the name to Google Places seems to have also created a change of heart with regard to the forum.  There are experts and others who are answering questions and some of the answers even make sense.

Let's be clear, however.  They are NOT going to give you gray hat approaches.  You'll still need me for that.  I will never give you black hat, and almost everything I do is white hat, but shades of gray are part of the internet game. 

Optimize Google Places - How to Score 100%

Thanks for not only the great information, but the great visual from Mike Blumenthal's Blog.  Getting a 100% rating from Google on your listing is not critical when it comes to ranking, but it can't hurt.  And it isn't that hard. 

If you don't like such beautiful visual approaches, here is a chart with the same information.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Google Places Promises to Help

Latest news from Google Places is that there will be more information, newsletters, better forums, and all kinds of help coming our way.  I am going to be all over that.  Send me your questions.  If I haven't answered it already somewhere on this blog, I may know the answer or with all this new help, I might be able to get an answer.