Posts Tagged ‘Google Maps’

What are Boost Ads?

May 6th, 2011

The replacement of Google Tags?

Now that Google has officially retired Google Tags, if you were a Tags user have you received a call from a Google representative offering Boost Ads? Some of our clients have and they are asking us, “Just what are boost ads?”

In case you are wondering the same thing, here is a brief overview:

Boost Ads are just that – ads. Similar to Google AdWords, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Unfortunately you may not realize this when a Google rep calls you to try to convince you to start a Boost campaign. One of our clients was told it was free and as the rep walked our client through the set up process he then said it was pay per click. When our client questioned the Google rep, he said that pay per click was after he gave the first $100 free. IT IS pay per click.

How do Boost Ads work?


Unlike AdWords, Boost Ads are locally based and work together with your Google Places listing. If you are a former Google Tag user, you already have a Places listing. If you need to create one, visit www.google.com/places.
Adding Google Boost to your Places listing allows you to advertise on Google and Google Maps, including mobile devices. You set up a monthly budget and create copy for your ad and Google does the rest, including determining what search terms will trigger your ad to be shown and your bidding to have your ad included in the search results. The terms are selected based on your Places listing categories. Google has assigned a cost per click for each search term, which you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

What information is displayed in a Boost Ad?


Google uses information from your Places listing – your business name, address, phone number, a short description of your business, a snippet from your Place Page, and a link to your Place Page.

Where are Boost Ads displayed?


Similar to AdWords, in a google.com search, Boost Ads are displayed either above or to the right of the search results. In a Google Maps search, they appear above the search results. If your business appears in the organic Places listing results, your Boost Ad will appear in the ads section with a red marker and that red marker will appear on the corresponding map. If your business does not appear in the organic Places results, your Boost Ad will still appear in the ads section, but with a blue marker.

Will a Boost Ad help my organic Places listing rankings?


No. Boost Ads appear in the sponsored ads section – they don’t affect what businesses appear in the organic Places listings.

Boost or AdWords?


If you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn how to create and manage an effective Adwords campaign, or don’t have an Internet Marketing company you can rely on to do so for you, Boost is an option for local advertising. But keep in mind that it has limitations. AdWords provides more options and controls – keyword selection and bid control, local AND national targeting, advanced reporting and different ad formats such as video, display and more – than Boost offers.

Can I Use a PO Box as My Google Places Address?

January 31st, 2011

Clients with home businesses often ask if they can use a PO Box as their address in the Google Places listing. The short answer – not a good idea.

Google has seemed to waffle back and forth in this area. When Google Maps was first created, businesses without a brick and mortar address could not create a business listing because the Google Map was unable to display a listing without a pinpoint address. Then Google Maps started incorporating business listings from data partners and began showing a floating dot, rather than a pinpoint, to represent those businesses with no “actual” address – but that information had to come from data partners rather than a listing.

When confronted with how businesses with no brick and mortar address could get on Google Maps back in 2008, the Google Earth VP suggested that those businesses get a PO Box. Hence, people started doing so. Acknowledging that not all businesses have brick and mortar addresses, in April 2010, Google rolled out the ability to add service areas to your listing AND hide your address.

A few months later Google seemed to do an about face. In a December 2010 blog post on tips for creating a business listing in Google Places, a Google rep wrote:

“Google Places is meant to facilitate customer interaction with brick-and-mortar businesses and service providers. Therefore, the business owner or employee who is officially authorized to represent their particular business location must have a physical address in order to comply with our guidelines.”

The guidelines the rep is referring to state: “P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.

Some of those listings have been removed and some have not. But there are plenty of Google Places Help questions out there regarding people being penalized for using a P.O. Box as an address.

What are your options? Some places let you get a P.O. Box that is not listed as a P.O. Box address, but rather as a suite number. Use your home address but don’t display it. Try to partner with another business to use their address – but remember that there cannot be two businesses at the same address so you would need to have a suite number.

Can I use a PO Box as my google places address?
If you want your Google Places listing to be shown, DON’T use a P.O. Box!

What are Google Tags? How do Google Tags work?

August 2nd, 2010

Google Tags are a new way to help you enhance your web visibility. This post will explain exactly what Google Tags are and how they work.

What are Google Tags?


Google Tags are a new paid advertising feature for Google Places accounts. They are a way to enhance your local business listing on Google.com and Google Maps. A Google Tag is literally a yellow tag that highlights specific information about your business, such as a video, a coupon, or a weekly special and most importantly makes your business stand out! An example of what a Google Tag looks like is below:

See How Google Tags Make a Business Stand Out

See How Google Tags Make a Business Stand Out

How do Google Tags work


For a flat monthly fee of $25 you can select a type of Google Tag you would like to use to highlight your business. You can choose from:

· Photos
· Videos
· Coupons
· Menus
· Website
· Reservations
· Custom Messages

The type of tag you can select depends upon the information you already have included in your business listing. For example, if you want to highlight a photo, then you need to have uploaded photos to your listing. You can only select one tag at a time. However, you can change or remove a tag whenever you like which is great if you want to announce special discounts or limited time offers. You can even keep track of how well your Google Tags are working in your Google Places dashboard.

As more and more people are searching on the go, you may be happy to know that Google Tags will appear on mobile web searches.

Since this is a NEW advertising medium, Google Tags are a great way to get a jump on the competition. Keep in mind though, that Google Tags will only enhance your visibility if your listing is actually visible. If your business listing is not showing for keyword phrases that relate to your products or services, you may want to consult with an SEO company that can make that happen.

Add a business to Google Maps to increase your web visibility in your town and beyond – if you use SEO

February 17th, 2010

As discussed in the last post, creating local business center listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing is a fabulous way to gain web visibility for your brick and mortar business – if those listings are created correctly by using the search terms real people are using in the right places.

Google Maps and SEO. The most important place to include those search terms is your business category. Google Maps provides great leeway here. Rather than limiting you to pre-selected categories, you can create your own. Be sure your category reflects the search terms real people are using for your industry, service or product. Google allows you to have up to five categories, so cover all of your bases. Below are some FAQ’s from our clients, which demonstrate why utilizing effective SEO techniques in your Google Maps listing is so important for web visibility.

Will prospects then find me with Google Maps if they type in my business category and the town I am located in? Generally, Google will include businesses in the town the person is searching for before extending a wider radius. For example, if you are a pizza shop in Anytown USA and the searcher types in “pizza anytown usa” chances are you will be one of the businesses Google displays. Your visibility and ranking, however, hinges on many things, such as: (1) how many local listings Google is displaying; (2) whether the searcher is searching on Google web (which limits the number of listings to one, three or seven) or Google Maps (which will show ten listings per page); (3) the number of businesses with the same category in your town; and (4) how well you optimized all aspects of your Google Maps listing.

Is it possible for prospects to find me if they type in my Google Maps business category and a neighboring town? This also depends upon various factors, such as the number of displayed listings, the amount of competitors, and how well you incorporated SEO into your Google Maps listing. Google displays some of the local business listings we have optimized for our clients when a searcher types in their business category and towns as far away as 50 miles from their brick and mortar location.

When you add a business to Google Maps, remember: the better optimized your Google Maps listing is, the better your web visibility. Google Maps and SEO are a combination you should not, and your business cannot, ignore.

How does local search work?

January 29th, 2010

While our last post advised not to rely solely on a Google Local Business Center listing for web visibility and traffic, it did stress that we believe in its importance for our clients. We feel the same for Yahoo Local and Bing Local. Local search is a fabulous way to gain web visibility for brick and mortar businesses.

So, how does local search work? Google, Yahoo and Bing all offer a local search function. Type in a search term and a locale in the search box and you will usually see a map with several businesses listed next to it. For example, type in “cleaners Miami”. On each of the three search engines you will see a map of Miami at the top of the search results page with local cleaners listed next to it. These local listings are completely separate from the natural listings below them or the pay per click listings above or beside them. These listings provide addresses, phone numbers, links to websites, hours, information about services and products, photos, videos and more. They are a great way to get your business in front of prospects in addition to your website. And best of all . . . they are free.

How do you get a local listing? First you need to set up accounts with the search engines. Once that is done, you can create your listings. While it is possible to do this yourself, you may want to rely on an SEO professional to do this for you. Just like your website needs to incorporate the appropriate search terms in the right places to rank well, so does your local business listing. Local listings can be very competitive. Your SEO professional can help give you the edge you need to be at the top of the pack.

Today’s tip: Local search, when done correctly, is an important Internet marketing tool that should not be overlooked.

What happened to Google’s local search results? How does their absence impact your site’s SEO?

December 27th, 2009

It appears that Google’s local search results for some categories – including Internet Marketing, Marketing, Advertising, SEO and Web Design – have completely disappeared globally. As a SEO/Internet Marketing company, we not only utilize and rely on traffic from Google’s local search, but also stress its importance to our clients. It is a little difficult to do either now that the search results for our categories are no longer there. Go ahead, try it. Type in Advertising Agency New York City or Marketing Los Angeles or Web Design Chicago. You will not see any local listings. Type in Florist Dallas or Dentist Boston and you will. The question is will they disappear also?

Where did Google’s local search results go? We have Googled this question and found two forums that address it:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=18b0412b6336989c&hl=en&fid=18b0412b6336989c000478bb9964569a

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=19f4b0936485546a&hl=en&fid=19f4b0936485546a000478b7db1a7347

A Google employee suggested that the local search results for terms such as Marketing and Web Design are not showing up because there is not enough local intent. This answer makes no sense because until a month or so ago, local listings for these categories did show up and they are categories you can select when you create your Google Local Business Center listing. Until these listings disappeared, local listings even showed up if you typed in SEO Warwick New York, which includes a self-created category and a small town.

The lesson. Relying solely on a Google Local Business Center listing for web visibility and traffic is not wise. While we don’t understand what is really happening with these local listings or when this issue will be resolved, we do still believe in the importance of Local Business Center Listings for our clients. However, you cannot rely solely on them. You need to optimize your site with your locale also in case the local listings for your industry disappear as well.