Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Put a City Name as Part of the Category in Google Places? That would be a NO!

You may still believe that putting a city name as part of your category in Google Places is ok.  Here's the video that tells the facts.

Google Places Loves Keyword Stuffing in Your Business Name. Not

 There is more than a little confusion about what you can and cannot get away with when setting up Google Places.  The name of your business is a critical piece of that confusion.  Can you call yourself The bakery birthday cake and wedding cake company of St Louis MO?   Maybe.  Here's how or why not.

Is it Easy to Set Up Google Places? Is It Hard to Set Up Google Places? Yes!

How easy or hard it is to set up Google Places is largely dependent on your business category and city.  For some businesses in some cities, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do on the web.  Here is a short video that explains the details.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to Set Up Tags on Google Places - Not So Easy - First in a Series of TIps on Google Places Tags

If you are in California, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Texas, DC, or Atlanta, you can start using Google Places Tags.  If you aren't in one of those states, you'll have to wait a bit longer.  No schedule has been posted on the official page about Google Places Tags.  

What is a tag?  A little yellow advertisement on your listing that will make you stand out from the crowd.  You only get about 22 characters showing, so this is even a better test of your advert writing skills than Twitter or Adwords.  This new program will be the first to cost money on Google Places.  The introductory cost is $25 per month.

If you are in one of those five states, there is nothing easy about setting up tags. To begin with, you can't create a tag unless you have claimed your Google Places Listing.  This may be the easiest part of the process, but there is nothing easy about how to claim your Google Places Listing.  Of course, as you claim your listing, you will want to use all the advice found on this blog.

Now you can proceed to do a tag.  But since this is going to cost you money, even if a paltry sum, you want to plan your campaign.  The good news is that you can change it every day or more often if you like.  Google also has no contract on this.  You can quit any time.

So, what do you want to accomplish?  You have Five basic choices.  You can point to:

  1. Your own website or blog
  2. A video 
  3. A picture  
  4. The Google Places Coupon you would create for this purpose
  5. The Google Places Post you would create for this purpose
Each of the above has a link that can help you understand more about the choice.  For now, I am going to explain what I believe will usually be the best use of the Google Places Tag.

Back on the Google Places Account page, you can click on the small analytics graph and see the full analytics page.  In the upper right hand corner of this page is the location where you can place your post. 

The post can be up to 100 characters and will show up on your listing page as shown above.  However if you point to this text as your TAG, only the first 22 characters will be visible, so choose wisely.  If the viewer clicks on the tag, they will go to the listing page and see the entire Post, and everything else on your listing.  Your goal is to use the tag to stand out and to create enough interest to get a click through.  The clicks on the tag link will have a separate graph for analyzing its effectiveness.

Once you have decided which of the five you intend to use, you will see on this same page with the graph an offer to add the tag:

Once you have chosen from the pull down menu the type of tag you want, you can go to the check out page where you will set up your billing.  If you have not set up a Post or Coupon in advance, you will not see Post or Coupon on the pull down menu.  If you now create the Post or Coupon, you will need to refresh the page in order to see them on the pull down menu. 

You can call a Google Rep to help you with this process at 800-838-7971.  If you would like someone who will help you with the marketing rather than just the processing of your account, please give me a call at 310-910-1848. 

Google Places - How to Claim Your Business Listing on Google Places

Before you can really take advantage of the benefits of Google Places, you need to make it your own.  If you have been in business for a year or so, you may be listed already.  However, the information may or may not even be correct.  And you can be certain that the information will not be as good as you can make it.  Additionally, claiming your Google Places Listing is known to be one of the most important factors in determining how you rank compared to your competitors. 

There are two ways to go about claiming your listing.  First you need a Google Account.  You can go to Google.com or to Gmail.com and set up an account.  Once you have an account go to local.Google.com.  This will take you to a page that looks like this.

To the left hand side you will notice it says "Put your business on Google Maps."  My son the editor would maintain that they should have changed this to "places" by now.  :  )    When you click on this link you will get this page.

If this is a brand new account with Google, you won't have all these things, but you will at least have the choice of Google Places.  Click on that link and you will go to a page that looks like this:

Start adding in your company name address and the rest of the items asked for.  As you do this, the map on the right will go more and more local, eventually ending up at your location.  When you finish this section, you will see a continue bar, click on that and you will be given some choices.  If your company is already listed, Google will offer you one or more chances to claim the existing listing.  If you see a good listing or even one that is close to correct, go ahead and choose that and continue.

If none of the listings they show is you or if there is no options at all, then just follow the instructions.  No matter what you do, when you continue, you will now be back to the form and there will be more things to fill out.  Finish filling out the form using all the best practices shown on this blog.  At the bottom of the page you will be asked to submit.

Usually after submitting, you will get a choice of confirming your listing by phone or by post card.  The post card now shows that it will come in a week.  For most folks, I would suggest that you just take the phone call, get the code and enter it into the box as shown.  Then you are done claiming the listing.