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Monitoring Your Web Presence With Google Local Business Center

December 17th, 2009

To find local businesses or services, consumers used to open a phone book or look in a newspaper. However, the Internet has changed the way that people search for local products. Now consumers visit a search engine and type in keywords to find whatever they want, including local companies or products.

Google’s New Free Tool for Local Business Owners
Google recently created a free online tool for local business owners to find out how and where their customers are finding their site in Google. This monitoring tool, called the Google Local Business Center, lets you track the top search queries that came up with your company information, how many times people visited your website after seeing the link and how often customers sought out more information or directions to your location. The information is collected anonymously, which protects the privacy of Google users and your potential customers.

Try searching for your local business right now in Google. The search results should come back with a geographical listing of your company and its competitors from Google’s database of local businesses. Also included in the results should be the business address, phone number and the company locations plotted on a local map. For example, if you were to search for “Kansas City pizza,” Google would return a list of pizza restaurants in the Kansas City area with their locations plotted on a local map.

Google has given the name “local search” to these types of geographical product searches. Local search is very beneficial for small businesses because it creates a highly visible advertisement for your business that doesn’t look like an ad to an extremely targeted audience. Best of all, Google will let you list and/or modify your business in local search for free. You just have to sign-up for an account in the new Google Local Business Center and claim your business.

Adjust Your Business Description Based on Customer Behavior
Google’s data may inspire you to make a change at your business. For example, if more people looking for your coffee house search for tea instead of coffee, you might consider expanding your tea selection. If you have a lot of customers looking for directions to your store from a faraway town, you might want to change your marketing or expansion strategy to include that region.

Right now, Google is collecting daily information about businesses that are already listed in its local search in the United States. The online company plans to add more historical information and add gather information about businesses in other countries.

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