Posts Tagged ‘Google Places’

Google Places PO Box Update

February 9th, 2012

PO Boxes Picture

As we covered in our previous post Can I Use a PO Box As My Google Places Address?, Google does not approve of using a PO Box as an address in you’re your Google Places listing. Google reaffirmed this position in an update to the Google Places Quality Guideline stating:

Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. If you operate from a location but receive mail at a mail box there, please list your physical address in Address Line 1, and put your mail box or suite number in Address Line 2.

Thankfully, this revision makes it easier for businesses who receive mail via PO Boxes rather than at their physical location. So while a PO Box cannot be your sole Google Places address, it can now be included in your address – hopefully without any issues.

Claiming Google Places Listing

December 15th, 2011

Although businesses have been able to claim their Google Places Listings since 2005, the number of businesses claiming them since April of 2010 is tremendous. Over 1 1/2 years ago, only 4 million listings had been claimed. Last March the number jumped to 6 million, and now just nine months later the number has jumped to 8 million. According to Google, that is 16% of all the business locations throughout the world.

A Google Places listing doesn’t just include your address, phone number and a link to your website. You can describe your services and products and upload logos, pictures and videos. Customers also have the ability to write reviews, which can greatly help with your rankings.

Claiming Google Places Graphic

If you haven’t claimed your Google Places listing, what are your waiting for. It is FREE web visibility.

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.

What Happened To Google Tags?

April 21st, 2011

Those bright yellow Google Tags that highlighted your business will soon be history.

According to an email from Google, the company will be retiring the tags on April 29th. If you currently run a Google Tags campaign and you didn’t get the email – hopefully you will – let this posting serve as your notice. While we received an email notification for one of our client’s, we did not receive one for our own account. Instead, we received the following email:

According to an email from Google, the company will be retiring the tags on April 29th. If you currently run a Google Tags campaign and you didn’t get the email – hopefully you will – let this posting serve as your notice. While we received an email notification for one of our client’s, we did not receive one for our own account. Instead, we received the following email:

“This is to notify you that the following offers in your Google Places account will expire in 13 days on 4/30/11.

15% Off SEO Services

We are sorry to bother you but we thought we’d let you know early, in case you wished to extend their lifetime or replace them. Please visit Google Places to extend the expiry date of your offers or to replace them with new ones. After expiration, the offers will no longer be displayed until they are renewed.

Thanks,”

Kind of confusing, huh? Perhaps you also received this email. But it is official. The Google Tags will soon be no more. Once we logged into our Google Places account, there was a notification up top saying:

What Happened to Google Tags?

What Happened to Google Tags?

It appears that Google is trying to push its new Google Boost – a very simplified version of AdWords that you supposedly “don’t” have to manage, in place of Tags, which will make them money (as Google Tags was a nominal fee), but cost you more. Google mentioned Boost – and even offered a $100 Boost credit for Tags users for the month of May – in its email and in our Places dashboard. When Google first started Tags, it offered its users a free month credit, i.e., $25. So it seems Google wants you to spend at least $100 per month on Boost.

Google Tags worked well for our clients, both in terms of visibility and cost of conversion. It’s a shame that it will no longer be available.

So if you notice that your Google Tag is no longer showing, or if you finally decided to try Google Tags and logged into your Places account and see no option for it, you will no longer have to wonder what happened to Google Tags.

Google Hotpot Reviews Now Rolled Into Google Places

April 12th, 2011

Hotpot is a recommendation engine that displays reviews and ratings of local businesses and establishments. Until last week, Google Hotpot reviews were integrated with Google Places in the iPhone and Android Google Places apps when users were searching Google Maps or Google.com. You set a geographical location and local reviews were displayed. Now Google has rolled Hotpot into Google Places.

According to Google, the Hotpot “community has quickly expanded to millions of users who are rating more than one million times per month and enjoying a truly personalized view of the world.” So they are making Hotpot a permanent part of Google Places. They also plan to add more features to Google Places to make it even easier to rate, discover and share.

How does merging Google Hotpot Reviews into Google Places affect you?

If you have a Google Places account, make sure it is complete and optimized. If you don’t have one, create one. You have to be found in order to be reviewed!

Google Places Mobile App Improvements

February 25th, 2011

Over the last few months, Google has been making it easier for users to find local businesses on their mobile devices. Last month it released the Google Places iPhone App. This month, it has launched an “open now” search filter –available on Droid and iPhone in the US – so your results only show currently opened businesses. These hours are based on a business’ Google Places Listing – just one more reason to make sure your listing is complete and accurate.

Droid and iPhone mobile users can also filter their Google Places search by star ratings and distance as well as enjoy some additional enhanced features – images, reviews from around the web, and larger buttons to click to view a map or directly call a business.

With continuous Google Places Mobile App improvements we can’t stress enough the importance of robust Google Places Listings.

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!

Google Places iPhone App – One More Reason to Have an Optimized Google Places Listing for Your Business

January 13th, 2011

Yesterday, Google announced that a Google Places App is now available for the iPhone. This App lets you quickly search for places nearby, just like local search on google.com – but while you’re on the move. Google gives you some popular search categories to choose from and allows you to customize the list by adding your own favorite searches.

The Google Places for iPhone App also helps you make an informed decision by integrating Google Hotpot, which is a recommendation engine that displays reviews and ratings of local businesses/establishments.

Google Places AppGoogle Places App2

Google is making local search easier while people are mobile – looking for a nearby restaurant to stop and eat, the closest gas station, a good cup of coffee. Want them to find you in their search? Make sure you have a complete and optimized Google Places listing for your business. The iPhone already has a huge market with ATT. Imagine how much larger that market will get when Verizon starts selling the iPhone next month!

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.