Small Business Guide to Google Maps

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If someone does a Google search for your product or service, Google will usually display the Map results of merchants in the locale of the person searching.  If the searcher includes the name of his or her city to narrow the search results, the Maps listings will definitely appear right at the top of the page.  And a lot of people these days go directly to Google Maps when they are looking for a local product or service.  By searching a Google Map of his or her locale, a person can quickly find all the businesses closest to him or her that provide the desired product or service.  Google Maps provide a quick and easy way to filter search results by location that is not available in a web search.  Because of this ease of use, Google Maps are quickly becoming the internet equivalent of the old yellow pages.  And since Google Maps listings also list reviews for merchants, these listings help potential customers choose who to buy from.

Google offers several ways to take advantage of this new trend.  First, every business owner should visit Google Places and register his or her business there, even if it can already be found on Google Maps.  By registering, a business owner can add all kinds of relevent information about his or her business as well as a short description.
He or she can also add a link to the business website, photos and videos, and even coupons and specials.  By registering the owner also gets access to the Google Places Dashboard where he or she can view statistics about the listing including how many times the listing has appeared and how many people have clicked on it.  Google provides all these services for free.
Yahoo, with 14% of the search market, has a similar free service at Yahoo Local.

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You can advertise within Google Maps is with a specifically targeted Google Adwords campaign.  First, you have to create a Google Adwords account, then create a local business ad of your choosing that includes keywords your customers will be searching for.  Then if you want to target your campaing specifically to Google Maps, you must change your settings so that map.google.com is the only network where your ad appears.  These ads will appear highlighted in yellow below the Google Maps search results when a user searches keywords relevent to your ad in your local area, even if your business does not appear in the results.  For more information on setting up a Google Adwords campaign, see my Google Adwords Page.  Google is now also offering Adwords Express, which you can set up directly from your Google Places account.  This makes it easier to get an ad going, but you don't have control of the targeted area or your specific cost/click limit (Google decides that).  All you can do is specify your monthly budget, and Google does the rest automatically.  If your business has a relatively small service area, you may spend money for clicks from people who are outside of your service radius and/or spend more money/click than you think is reasonable based on you average sale.

There are a lot of details to consider in designing effective ads and in choosing effective keywords and keyword phrases.  This guide is just to help you get started.  If you would like more help setting up your accounts and developing an effective Google Maps and Google Adwords internet marketing strategy, I only charge $125 as a one-time consultation and set-up fee.  I don't charge a monthly maintenance fee because I want you to get the most possible from your advertising dollar.  Instead, I show you how to analyze and manage you own ad campaign.  If you would like assistance refining your current marketing campaign and exploring other internet advertising options, I have very reasonable rates.
And if you don't have a website for you business yet, I can help you create one.

530-918-8263
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