Google is evolving and it’s Business center has morphed into GOOGLE PLACES. Perhaps Google Places is the appropriate term as Google is excluding business without a physical place. As one blogger put it, “They are more concerned about the piece of dirt.” and so far that point is accurate as Google maps will only show businesses with a physical location within the city proper for competitive search terms.
But Google is evolving. I asked about reviews on Google and why they had been removed, my google guy’s response was that they will return, but he can’t really tell what’s going on until Google rolls out their next update. Well back in December I say a preview of what the maps would like if they showed listings by service area. That was the same month I saw the yellow coupon tags displayed in the maps. Those yellow tags spawned the sponsored listings. Pure speculation but that rep may have just leaked that Google is finally going to show local business listings by service area. It would make sense as that the reviews would disappear to be verified, quantified, weighed, and IP locations pin pointed, if they are to roll out Service Areas. As of right now the Service Area info entered into Google Places is only a crummy link at the bottom of the Google business bubble… “Show Service Area”
Google Sponsor Tags
Today those yellow tags come with a price. Sponsored tags. Google sponsored tags cost $25 a month, for the test phase at least. At $25 last month I got 34 actions, and 19 clicks to my website. Perhaps just from curious onlookers, but perhaps those were clicks that would normally cost me $2. If that’s the case then the sponsored tag worked. But if they end up like the phone books and want to charge me more and more and more, and the market becomes more and more saturated, and if they can’t show more detailed numbers, then it will be hard to keep spending that money. Especially when it is unclear if the Impressions are just from Google Search and Google Maps, or if the impressions are from all pages on the internet that show that map, like my contact page. The strength of the internet is the honest openness to numbers. And numbers are the ultimate law.
Actions to Impressions (ATI)
So far the numbers Google provides are impressions and actions. Actions to Impressions (ATI) would be similiar to Click Through Rate (CTR) except a click to the website is only one of the calculations. ATI is a good feeler as to what is happening but I am under the impression that a lot more people are just picking up the phone and dialing, especially when that phone call is only a click on your IPhone. (Mobile calls would be a great addition to that action list). I would love to put a call tracking number into my LBL but due to the complexities Google has of compiling a ton of location data that is seemly incongruent, the telephone number of your listing has become a key, if not the key, identifier as to who you are on the local web, and who is referencing you. In Google maps each and every instance of your name associated with an address, and phone number is being weighed with or without a link and without your website. We will call these Instances so as not to be confused with citations or references, both of which have HTML codes. Instances on the other hand are not meta tag mark ups with an open and close tag, they are simply each and every time your business name is associated with a physical location. This would include tweets with locations, GEO tagged photos with your business name, the restaurant down the street that references your party on their blog containing their address at the bottom of each page, or even better yet, a review on a competitor’s map listing mentioning how much better or worse you are. That one review will link, loosely, but none the less, link you to your competitor’s address.
Many local exterminators will miss it.