Services Include:

Search Engine Optimization

Local Search Optimization

Paid Search Advertising

Social Media Marketing

Website Analytics

Say Hello to Google My Business – an Integrated Business Services Interface

No more switching between services to keep your company’s Google presence updated. Yay! Google recently launched a new business services interface, Google My Business. This new product will improve a business’ ability to be found by customers on different devices and services and business owners to showcase their companies across Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. Current users of Places for Business and the Google+ dashboard will be automatically upgraded. Though focused on local businesses, Google My Business is also available to non-local businesses.

(Did you notice the spotlight on Nashville businesses? Cool, huh?)

And, yes, there will be an app for that. An Android version has already been released with an iOS version promised by the end of the month. Here’s how it looks on Android phones:

Google My Business-Android App ViewFrom the Google My Business page, you can sign in if you have a Google account or click the “Get On Google” to get started. You can then find a business page you have not claimed, go to pages you manage or take advantage of the service as a non-local business. Google will add your information to Google Search, Google Maps and Google+.

Google My Business-Find Your Business View

If you already have pages, you will be taken to your Google+ dashboard where you can choose which page profile to manage:

Google My Business-Pages

What can you do with this new interface?

  • Edit business information, including contact information, business description, hours, website, URL, directions and more.
  • Manage online reputation by seeing reviews from across the web, responding to Google reviews and tracking ratings
  • Post updates, news and other information to your Google+ page
  • Manage your information from anywhere with the app
  • Showcase your business products and services with photos, videos and virtual tours
  • Understand how people find and interact with your business using Insights and integration with AdWords Express
  • Engage directly with customers through Google Hangouts
  • Gain social proof / recommendation via +1’s, comments and page follows
  • Manage multiple locations from one place with a simple bulk location management tool, Google My Business Locations

Many page managers, including myself, are delighted to see Insights added to the mix.

Google My Business-View of Insights
Insights provides key information, including:

  • Visibility: All time total, photo, and post reviews and page impression trends
  • Engagement: Type of posts getting the highest level of Google+ engagement
  • Audience: Overview of your follower demographics

A full list of metrics can be downloaded at http://goo.gl/p06NWS or http://goo.gl/tAwPnW.  

Many companies have avoided Google+ and other Google offerings. Some companies have a cursory SEO Google+ plan. Will these changes to the dashboard and the inclusion of Insights change how companies view Google’s business offerings? Will it change yours?

Google’s Carousel Style Display – Coming to a Local Result Near You

Google has reshaped the format of what was referred to as the “7 Pack” of local map search results for a Carousal format at the top of the search results page.

Officially launched last month, the new Google Local Carousel format appears for a handful business verticals in several markets, with more being rolled out over time. Some of the top businesses that users have reported seeing in the new format include restaurants, hotels, bars, and local services.

One of the advantages of the Google Local Carousel is that businesses who rank below the fold, or don’t rank well at all, have an opportunity rank at the top, even if it is horizontally. With this format, the result listed forth or fifth has as much of a chance of reviving an impression as those ranked first.

While there is no guarantee that your local result will show up in the Carousel, the listing still needs to stand out. Since the most prominent feature of the listing is the photo, make it a great one! High-quality, eye-catching, attractive images and logos will get more clicks.

Here is an example of the Local Carousel of results, which would you click first? (I added my thought about the result below in red, in case that’s not obvious.)

Currently both Map and Carousel results are showing up in most markets, and early testing shows that 48% of searchers click on the Carousel, while 14.5% click on the Map. (That test stat is via the friendly folks at Search Engine Land.) However, searchers may be clicking on the Carousel more than Maps because it’s a fun new feature.

The not-so-great news about the Local Carousel is that the results don’t link directly to the businesses website, and instead go to a page of branded results. This requires the searcher to choose from websites that also rank for the branded term including review websites (like Yelp, TripAdvisor), Facebook, or directories that have the opportunity to grab the customer.

The use of the carousel format in website design isn’t new, and some usability experts think that the functionality is ineffective and causes accessibility issues for screen and keyboard readers. Website usability expert Jared Smith decided to answer the question of using this format, by using a carousel. Yesterday he spoke with NetMagazine.com about his site, ShouldIUseACarousel.com, and the site promoted the article within their own carousel.

Oh the fantastic irony.

What results have you seen, and which have you clicked on? Are you more likely to click the Carousel or on the Map? What do you think about the carousel format on any website, do you like it or not?

Google AdWords Call Extensions

I recently wrote a guest post on RavenTools.com/Blog on Google AdWords Call Extensions. Below are a few excerpts:

“Over the past few years, Google AdWords has expanded with Ad Extensions. These extensions are a great value-add for advertisers to get even more out of their search ads by including additional business information like address or product information. One of the AdWords extensions that advertisers should be sure to get to know is Call Extensions.”

Google AdWords Call Extensions on Mobile

Google AdWords Call Extensions on Mobile

As seen in the image, one of the most valuable reasons to use call extensions is the real estate it takes up in the mobile space. Every area in search results is valuable. The more space an ad can take up, the better.

The ability for the mobile user to call directly from search results removes any website barriers and adds a level of locality to ads. This “click-to-call” format greatly improves the user’s experience within search results. This call is also when the advertiser is charged. The charge works out to be the same charge as the cost-per-click on the ad.http://raventools.com/blog/google-adwords-call-extensions/

Have you used Google AdWords Call Extensions before? Share your comments below. I would love to know your experience.