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The Importance of “Google Local Maps”

I hope you’re familiar with Google Local Maps & Google Places, because it is is an extremely important online business tool which can literally drive customers to your door. Using the power of Google Maps and Google Places tells your customers your location, the services you offer, and provides them with directions to location of your business. Using Google, anyone can search on the internet and find your business organically, but using Google Maps and Google Places, searchers with find an actual map with a balloon representing your business (and your competition) along with your business profile underneath the map. Customers can easily locate your business, no matter how big or small you are, get driving directions, see pictures or your products and services, watch videos, read reviews, and even go to your website.

Millions of People Search for Businesses and Services Using Google Places Every Day

Google PlacesIf your business is local and caters for the needs of local customers in your area, a free placement on Google maps will make it easy for them to reach you. Google allows any business to create, edit and modify their business profile for free and and millions of businesses have already taken advantage of this free opportunity.

The importance of Google maps when it comes to a local marketing strategy cannot be underestimated. Whether your business is a big florist shop or small plumbing service, you should start thinking locally because it is where your potential customers are searching for help. Google’s local maps and Google Places are extremely important to your small business. They add more exposure in the search engines, thus generating more leads and traffic to your business. Each local business listing contains all the essential business information needed for a customer to pick you over the competition; information like your business name, addresses, website URL, phone number, pictures, videos, and reviews.

Why Aren’t You Showing up on the Front Page?

This isn’t always an easy answer, but it may be more obvious than you think. Most businesses still haven’t even claimed and completed their listings. This includes adding keywords, photos, and other essential information. Those that do have the upper-hand over those who don’t. If you haven’t claimed your listing, what are you waiting for? Google Maps and Google Places also have mobile apps for the iPhone and Android Phone, which give location specific results for your business. They help potential customers find your local business listing information while on the go. Google’s Mobile Apps will help clients find your business locally, targeting customers that are traveling in the area of your business. Many business owners want to market themselves online, but have little knowledge or understanding about Google Local Maps and Google Places. Frankly, they are losing customers and money everyday they don’t have their business on the Map.

While some businesses have claimed their listing and even ‘optimized’ it, they are still unsuccessful at getting their business to the front page results. That is because Google is looking for very specific things and most people don’t know what those things are and they aimlessly fiddle around with their settings in frustration. Additionally, some businesses have a good understanding of Google Places and may have even had some success with their listing results. But then Google shifts their algorithms and the rules suddenly change. One day you’re on top and the next day you’re no where to be found. How do you keep up with all the changes? Aren’t you supposed to be running a business and not becoming an expert on Google? If your business relies on Google local maps for its success and your listing disappears, you’re probably losing a lot of money. We know that is accurate, because it is estimated that 87% of online users search using Google for services, merchandise, and information. In anyone’s world, 87% is way too much to leave on the table, so your business better get a Google Places listing setup.

 Setting up a Google Places Listing

Google Local MapsThe first thing you’ll need to set up a Google Map or Google Places listing is a Google Account. The best part about Google accounts is that they are free. You may find that your business already has a listing, but it is unclaimed and void of any important content. These are created by Google and they are just waiting for you to claim them and optimize them. Once you have your Google account created, do a quick search for your business listing using your primary phone number to see a listing already exists.

Remember, your phone number is like a Social Security Number to Google and it is the easiest way to find your listing. If a listing exists for your business, you need to claim it. While logged into your Google account, go to your Google Places listing and Click the ‘Business Owner?’ link in the upper right hand corner. Follow the instructions for claiming the listing and be prepared to verify that you are indeed the owner. Google verifies by either sending a postcard with a pin number on it to the address of your business or with an automated phone call from Google with a pin number.

Now that you are the verified owner of the listing, you can make changes to it. Start by filling in, and correcting if necessary, all the fields in the listing. Business name, address, phone, website, pictures, hours, etc. Optimizing your listing with keywords and accurate information will put you ahead of the majority of businesses that haven’t yet claimed their listing, but it won’t get you on the front page if you have any amount of competition. Getting on the front page is difficult. Google has specific expectations, but they don’t tell you what they are and if you do it incorrectly, you may even be penalized without knowing it. This is frustrating to a lot of businesses, but it is the reality of playing in the sand in Google’s sandbox.

Do You Have the Knowledge, Skills, and Time Required to Have a Front Page Google Local Maps Placement?

If not, you’re not alone. It is probable that 99% of the business owners are more interested in running their business than figuring out Google. Those who can, turn to professionals for help. Using an expert, someone who knows what Google wants and expects, will save you a lot of time and money. So, if after completing the above procedures to claim and optimize your business listing, your still not showing up where you’d like to be on Google Maps or Google Places – consider speaking to a Google Places Professional . Doing so may help you regain your lost 90% customer base or bring you 90% more customers! Already, millions of small businesses are using Google Local Maps and Google Places, but very few of them are using it correctly. This leads to poor placement results, fewer phone calls, less sales, and more headaches. If after you’ve done all you can do on your listing and you still aren’t getting the results you desire, consider contacting a professional service; they may be able to help your business get proper page placement on the front page of Google Local Maps.

10 Local Marketing Ideas – part 3

Welcome to part three of 10 Local Marketing Ideas for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses. In case you missed the first two parts, they can be found here:

    1. Google Local Business: (covered in part 1)
    2. Internet Yellow Pages: (covered in part 1)
    3. Review Sites: (covered in part 1)
    4. Your Company Blog: (covered in part 2)
    5. Social Media Marketing: (covered in part 2)
    6. Forum Posting: (covered in part 2)

Today we will talking about specific things you can do to improve the organic ranking of your site. While some of the topics we discussed in part 1 & 2 will help boost your ranking in the search engines, the pointers we will be covering today are designed to help the search engines interpret what your site is about and where you are located.

    1. On-Site SEO:

While your website may have a nice look and feel to it, what do the search engines think of it? Sites like SEO Engine and Website Grader will evaluate your content and offer a free report. Even if you do all the afore mentioned items, if your site is not isel to it, what do the search engines think of it? Sites like SEO Engine and Website Grader will evaluate your content and offer a free report. Even if you do all the afore mentioned items, if your site is not “Google worthy”, you may never rank well.

    1. Video Marketing:

Many of you found this site through one of our videos. While you may not have access to the proper lighting and video editing to make a really knockout video, that doesn’t always matter. As mentioned before, people love watching videos, especially those that are amateur. So get busy! Most cell phones have video capabilities and they are usually good enough quality to get your message across effectively. Upload it to YouTube and if your channel has been setup correctly, you will get a free link from YouTube and you can easily publish that video on your site with little effort. Interactive123 does our video marketing and we have enjoyed great results from their efforts.

    1. Web Directories:

While many of these are free and you should add your local business to all the relevant free directories you can find. You may want to spend a few dollars and get listed in some of the better known directories. Some high traffic directories cost as little as $1 (MrSEOdirectory.com) to as much as $30, $70, $399 (Yahoo Directory) and more. Fortunately, many of these require only a one time payment to get listed. If you can find a directory specific to your industry, consider getting listed.

    1. Link Building:

Getting your keywords to the top of Google for many business owners is crucial. If you know what your customers are searching for, you might want to check out NoRank-NoPay.com. Their prices are very affordable and their online quoting tool allows you to get a price right on the spot. They provide nationwide SEO service as well as local search marketing using local keyword phrases.

While there are scores of other ways to develop an effective local online advertising campaign, these 10 marketing tips should get you started. While MapTraffic doesn’t provide these services, we have several vendor partners we would be happy to refer you to. they have served us well and have helped brand us as the leader in local online marketing using Google Maps. Call 715-598-4129 or email us at sales@maptraffic.net.

10 Local Marketing Ideas – part 2

Welcome to part 2 of 3 in the article titled; “10 Local Marketing Ideas For Small and Mid-Size Businesses“. In part two, we will look at some things you can do to interact with people in your market to help brand you as one of the leaders in your field.

    1. Google Local Business: (covered in part 1)
    2. Internet Yellow Pages: (covered in part 1)
    3. Review Sites: (covered in part 1)
    4. Your Company Blog:

Yes, a blog can mean a lot of work, but for many businesses, writing a blog post once every month or two is better than nothing at all. Now days blogging is so easy that if set up correctly, you can blog via email and even phone! What’s more is all those pictures you take of your work, upload them to your blog. Do you take videos? add them as well. Visitors love images and especially videos. Even if they aren’t studio quality. Many people tell me they prefer that since it is more believable. Most importantly though, Google loves images and video. done correctly, you could get a nice bump in your keyword rankings.

    1. Social Media Marketing:

Even if you personally don’t use Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, others do. They are free to use and can be very effective. While MapTraffic doesn’t use these social platforms as local advertising tools for our clients listings, we certainly do for our site. when we click “publish” on this post, for example, it will automatically send an update to all three of the sites mentioned. For Facebook marketing, we highly recommend Destiny Internet Marketing.

    1. Forum Posting:

Nearly every niche has a forum associated with it. If you search for your industry and “forum” you will find several. I would encourage you to create an account and start contributing. Chances are, many of the forum visitors would greatly benefit from your knowledge and experience. When you are creating your profile you can even add a link to your website. If you want to take it a step further, include a signature with a link to your site. Every time you post you will create another link back to your site.

People want to work with the best in the business. By using these three suggestions, you will be able to start build a strong client base who perceives your company to be the authority in your field. When they have questions or needs, they will turn to you first for answers, products and services. when implemented correctly, customers won’t have a problem paying a little more to work with the best. While MapTraffic doesn’t provide these services directly, we will gladly share our resources with you. Our vendors have helped us become the authority in our field of online advertising: Google Maps search results. We can be reached at 715-598-4129 or email us at sales@maptraffic.net we would be happy to help.

As an added bonus, here is a video showing you how to get your company listed on the well-known review site; JudysBook.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MR3Sqxif7U[/youtube]

Continue Reading: 10 Local Marketing Ideas – part 3

10 Local Marketing Ideas For Small and Mid-Size Businesses

So, you’ve got a website and a little traffic, but what else can you do to increase business through online efforts?

When consulting with business owners, I ask them to think of their website as a building on a hidden piece of real estate, somewhere off the beaten path. No matter how pretty that building is and how well all the features and accommodations work inside your new building, you still need traffic. Simply hanging a “Grand Opening” sign and flipping your closed sign to say “Open”, probably isn’t going to do the trick .

A website is no different. In fact most local internet advertising agencies have a saying; “If you build it they WON’T come.” It’s sad, but true. Just like your brick and mortar business, you generally need to advertise locally, outside of signs and window displays to bring in new business. But where to spend your advertising dollar, is the question? With so many marketing choices available, how do you get started?

Here are a few pointers to help you kick start you local advertising campaign without spending a lot of money:

    1. Google Local Business:

If you have a business which relies on phone calls from new customers, Google Maps is the place to be. It’s free to add your company, but if you are in a competitive market, you will probably need to work with a company like MapTraffic.net which specializes in getting you on the front page of Google (when a map is displayed) using only Google authorized local marketing techniques. If you are in a small town, or in a non-competitive niche where you only have 2 or3 competitors, you can most likely get listed on the front page of Google Maps yourself. If you need help, give us a give us a call at 715-598-4129 or email us at sales@maptraffic.net. While we won’t give away our ‘secret sauce”, we will be happy to give you some helpful advice as well as a free evaluation.

    1. Internet Yellow Pages:

Many business owners are unaware that nearly every internet yellow pages allows you to submit your company information for free. Websites like Superpages, InsiderPages, YellowPages, DexKnows and more allow you to add your listing for free. These site don’t get nearly the traffic that Google does, but still a strong listing could get you another listing on the first page of Google. You generally have to register as a user before you can add your business listing, but it’s well worth the time to get some much needed online exposure. Caution, these sites make it hard to add a free listing, but look around and you will find the link.

    1. Review Sites:

CitySearch, JudysBook, YellowBot, Merchant Circle and many more allow your customers to rate your business, whether good or bad. If you provide quality products and services, these are great sites to get even more traffic. The main purpose of these sites is to make it very easy for your clients to leave a review. If you aren’t listed, they might not take the time to add you. Worse yet, they might list your business name, address and information incorrectly. Make it easy for your customers, get listed in as many review sites as you can find.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcyqrrDtILc[/youtube]

<h3>Local Marketing Video</h3>

This video demonstrates one of the review sites mentioned; YellowBot.com.

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