November 2016

Home Businesses Not Supported on Apple Maps

Home Based Businesses Not Supported on Apple Maps We just tried to submit a home based business to Apple Maps. No Bueno!! Looks like it won’t work for any home based business. Many small businesses operate out of homes – Like, millions of businesses. While Google Maps has clearly made Local business listings a focus recently, and even provides support on Twitter, it appears Apple still has no solution for how to handle businesses without a storefront. Hello, Thank you for your interest in Apple Maps. We apologize, but at this time we are only accepting businesses with a retail storefront or commercial location. Thank you for your understanding. Should your business ever transition to a physical location that meets this policy, please reply to this message and let us know. In that case, it is always helpful if you attach a photo from the outside of your business (ideally, with a business sign and some of the surrounding area). A photo of the building directory, including your business listing and the address would also suffice. (By ‘business directory’, we mean the listing that is found at the entrance to an office building, which lists all of the businesses within that office building). We apologize for any inconvenience.  Maps Connect Team

November 28, 2016 on Local Search Marketing Blog

Do You Use Bing?

Do you use Bing? Earlier this month, I was in the office of a prospective client and I suggested he do a web search. His laptop was right there and so he typed the search into Bing to get a result! I’ve talked with thousands of small business owners in the past 8 years and this marked only the second time that I’ve encountered someone actually using Bing in real life. My next questions: “You use Bing? Wow. You don’t use Google to find things online? Why do you use Bing over Google?” The very slightly defensive answer boiled down to “preference of user experience”. And I suppose we each have the liberty to conduct web searches however we want, but don’t we want the best answers to our queries? Aren’t we looking for the best search results? Don’t most of us use Facebook now instead of Myspace? That’s an awesome comparison actually. What is Bing? Bing is essentially Myspace. Do you use Bing? Do you trust Bing? Do you know anyone who does? If so, please comment because I actually really want to know. In 2011, Bing was famously caught using exact copies of Google search results as it’s own. And even now, their local business listing platform is called “Bing Places for Business”, which is a knock of of “Google Places” from a few years ago. They love to copy the winning team. But I don’t think Google is too worried about it, just as Facebook is not fretting in the rear view mirror at Myspace. My belief is that very few people actually use Bing. And some people might believe they are using Google when in fact, their default search engine is Bing. Every time I analyze Google Analytics for a client I look at where the organic search traffic is coming …

November 22, 2016 on Local Search Marketing Blog

Customers Can now Add Photos to your Google Reviews!

Google Reviews Now Enable Photos This morning I wrote a review for a business on Google and I was given the option of uploading a photo of the business from my computer or my phone. I don’t recall ever seeing this option before on Google. Is this brand new or was my coffee just really strong this morning? This is something that Yelp has had for years and in the Yelp business dashboard customer photos are listed – and it’s done really well and I’ve always appreciated it. In comparison, this Google version is clunky and almost Windows-like (on a desktop). I have not tried this mobile version yet. Dear Google: Why are you confusing users with the Local Guide and Points options. Why can’t it just be something simple like – Just upload a photo because we want to or we think it’s cool? Um, it almost looks like you are trying to SELL ME SOMETHING. Could this be? The Google Support Page for this mentions that Local Guides can upload photos. Am I a Local Guide? That’s news to me. And they are offering me points? I don’t want any points. Hmmm. At this point in all sales pitches that I’m not interested in or don’t have time, I click “No Thanks”. But what happens if I click “Get Started”? [PREDICTION] Before I do this, I’ll predict that this is a sneaky back door to get people active on Google+ Well, I went back to duplicate my first experience but I’m unable to get back to that screen to “Get Started”… Perhaps it was because I already said “No Thanks”. If anyone else can do this, please let me know. But I did find this: Google+ Pitch #1 – When you click on upload photos from your phone, sure enough they have some …

November 18, 2016 on Local Search Marketing Blog

Experimental Google Listing Video Verification

Google now offers Video Verification Option via Google Hangouts Last week I was able to verify two tricky business listings on Google – by video! This is a new option that Google is currently testing and it worked beautifully for both locations. Google is investing big time these days in local business support and this video verification option is a very successful addition to their phone support and twitter support options. And it makes sense! They are using their own awesome product to make this happen – Google Hangouts. How Video Verification Works Step 1) I requested phone support for listing Verification via the Google My Business dashboard. I was told to click to request a postcard again, then end the call.  Immediately I received this email from Google. I replied right back saying, “YES” I’d like to proceed and I’m available now. Step 2) I received a call within 2 minutes from Google! They asked me if I was ready now and asked if I had the Google Hangouts App on my phone. Then, the rep sent me this email to begin the hangout. Step 3A) I was informed that I was about to join a video conference that was not private and would be streamed live online on YouTube and other people that I did not know might be watching. They asked very clearly if I wanted to proceed. Step 3B) So the video began with me pointing my phone at the business. They asked to see my face and that was fine with me. They asked me to cross the street so they could get a visual on the street and the building and the sign on the building. Fortunately in this case, this was easy and legit. Then they asked me to walk into the office, I stopped …

November 15, 2016 on Local Search Marketing Blog

Google My Business Support on Twitter

Google My Business Twitter Support Gone are the days when problems with Google listings were impossible to diagnose and fix. Google offers awesome support these days for business owners. In addition to awesome phone support and even cool new technology like Video Hangout business listing verification, their twitter account is active and very responsive! Here’s where you can interact with Google My Business on Twitter for support: Twitter.com/googlemybiz Increasingly Twitter has become the place to inspire businesses to solve problems. If you’ve had experience with Twitter helping you to get the attention of big companies to solve your individual issues, let us know!

November 14, 2016 on Local Search Marketing Blog

Should My Business Advertise on Yelp?

Should I be Advertising on Yelp? Many local business owners wonder if Yelp advertising would help get more customers in the door. Certainly Yelp thinks so, and the Yelp sales reps will sell advertising to ANY business – whether it’s a good idea for them or not. The problem is that for 95% of businesses out there it’s just a waste of money. I tell small business owners all the time to never ever ever spend a dime on Yelp. Even if Yelp advertising might be beneficial for your business, chances are very good that there are several better ways to spend your limited marketing budget. The truth about Yelp Advertising I personally love Yelp as a Yelper for my own personal use and also as a marketer. It’s a powerful App and I appreciate the whole Yelp ecosystem. And Yelp ranks on page 1 for the majority of local searches conducted in the US. It’s the #1 ranking business directory. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good place to spend money: #1 There are only a handful of business types that people regularly rely on Yelp for and it’s likely you are not one of them. The Yelp App home screen gives you a hint: These categories are on the home screen for a reason. Are people in a hurry to search for carpet cleaning on Yelp? Acupuncture? Personal Injury attorneys? Despite what the Yelp sales reps tell you, Yelpers care about getting trustworthy real-world customer feedback about purchases they are considering soon – as in ice cream, a bagel, coffee and gas stations. When you click on …More Categories here’s what they offer: #2 Most of America has little consumer adoption of Yelp. In the San Francisco Bay Area I personally know many people who don’t conduct searches on Google. They …

November 12, 2016 on Local Search Marketing Blog