Category Archives: Local

google-mymaps

Here’s What’s New in Google My Business for 2016

Just like life, some of the best things in digital marketing space is also free, biggest of them all is “Google My Business Tool”. This is one heck of tool that drastically simplifies the whole process of managing & updating business listings on Google. To ensure that this Mega tool meets the changing needs, they constantly update it and add new features. Let’s have a look at what’s new this month: 

YOU CAN NOW ADD MULTIPLE OWNERS

If you own a multi-location business, you know how tiresome it is to manage and update the listings of different locations. You wanted to divide the responsibility among others, but the security concern that comes with sharing your personal account was hindering you from taking that decision. But now you can do that! You can add multiple owners to individual locations and GMB accounts without sharing your personal info. As an owner, you can assign people to three different levels of access to GMB – Communication Manager, Manager & Owner. 

google-my-business-updates-access-capabilities

Source: Google Support

TAKE A QUICK GLANCE AT ALL YOUR LISTINGS

List view is the best for making edits, hands down. But what if you want to view all the business listings at once? The map view is the answer! Now you can look how far you have expanded your kingdom (Business locations) just by clicking the map icon at the top of the list view. You can also know the status of your listing by seeing the color. Blue denotes the published listing while pink denotes that the listing is either incomplete or require some action on your part.

google-my-business-map

 AUTOMATICALLY MANAGE UPDATES MADE TO YOUR LOCATIONS.

To ensure complete accuracy of location information, Google collects data from third-party sources as well.  It means that the data provided by you can sometimes be marked as incorrect, even due to the slightest difference. Google often update these listings and you can see them listed with a “Google updates” status. It’s advisable to review your listing after each update to make sure it’s correct. 

INTRODUCTION OF “HOURS” FORMAT FOR BULK UPLOADS

Using bulk upload spreadsheets to verify multiple business locations can save you a lot of time. But be informed that Google has launched a new format for the “Hours” column and you need to change to the new format because the old one is no longer supported.

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GOOGLE MY BUSINESS API UPDATE

Although most of the small business owners have nothing to do with the API, but those selected few who take services of a third party to manage their listings should be aware from the New API update, which is as follows:

  • Push notifications for new reviews.
  • You can now Add the URL attributes.
  • Map URLs are included in location responses

HELP CUSTOMERS FIND YOU WITH GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

GMB is a wonder tool that lets you manage the information with ease. Using the tool you can also add photos and respond to the reviews. It offers many other things as well and so you need be updated about the changes.

Local News Sources to Get Special Mention in Google’s Dedicated Local News Section

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Google is giving due credit to local news service providers, which includes local reporters, media agencies and content publishers through a special mention of their stories in its local news feed section.

Noticeably, Google already has a dedicated local news feed section, but the company realizes the importance of local news coverage that can be of regional value or even turn into national news. Rarely do local sources get the mention that they deserve for breaking a news story that later assumes the importance of national level news.

But not anymore! Google is providing an opportunity for local news service providers to shine by earmarking their stories under the title “Local Source”, which will be displayed in the local news section of every Google news edition. This way, the locally covered news articles can be identified by searching in Google history pages.

However, the earmarked local news articles will only appear in the extended story space provided on the Google News & Weather app for iOS and Android and on news.google.com.

GOOGLE RELEASES GOOGLE MY BUSINESS API’S LATEST VERSION 3.0

google-mymaps

Managing multiple business locations simultaneously can be a strenuous task for businesses with large set-ups. But not anymore! Google’s latest API version comes with some additional features that will enable large businesses to manage their business locations with ease. Although there’s no official word from Google on the release of its latest version, going by the new look of the changelog and the mention of new Business API features in the help section it is more or less confirmed that the latest media reports are right.

It was in December, last year that Google had last updated its Google My Business API, which allowed businesses to automatically manage their listings.

Let’s see what Google has to say about the release of its latest API version.

Version 3.0 adds new functionality for people who manage locations at scale. The “key new features include the ability to read and respond to customer reviews and provide additional attributes for locations, such as whether a restaurant accepts reservations, serves brunch, or has outdoor seating.”

Here’s a list of some new features that the changelog with the latest version brings to the table

  • Attributes:- It provides businesses with more specific, category-based information about their business location.
  • Reviews:- Businesses can now recover and reply to business reviews by using the new API feature.
  • Look for Business Matching Location:- This feature allows businesses to search and manually link their current Map locations with their actual business address.
  • Transfer Business Location:- This is a new actionable feature which lets businesses transfer their location (based on business information) between two accounts (personal or business).
  • Selected Photo:- It gives businesses the option to first display their selected picture in Google Maps business listings and searches.
  • New Google Search Filters:- This new feature informs businesses about new updates from Google.
  • New Business Location States:- This feature now includes information on the verification status of the businesses – whether the business is verified or needs to be verified.
  • Image URL Improvements:- It allows businesses to upload photo based URLs, without any other requirements
  • Backwards Modifications:- Businesses can now update their photos for locations having a Google plus presence. The output section now includes fields such as the category_name and location_name. When setting their categories, businesses can use the category IDs. Location requirements aren’t mandatory for the Field masks section. Businesses can only use Prefix for included fields. The create/update operator now uses business location details with other parameters being included in the query section.

GOOGLE ADDS TO LOCAL SEARCH MARKETERS’ WOES BY BRINGING TWO AD CHANGES

local-listing

Google likes to be in control and that’s why it keeps making changes in its search algorithm, to keep businesses guessing and the search industry on its toes. This time again Google made some changes to the local SERPs. These changes will have an impact on searches pertaining to the physical location of businesses, especially retailers and service providers.

Ads to Now Appear in Local Finder Results

Business ads find themselves in a new space, in the Local Finder results as big brands are being forced out of the local SERPs. Locating these branded ads now becomes a task as the user has to click on the “More Places” option that is being served in Google’s three pack search results. Brian Barwig, the local SEO specialist spotted these ads first in the Local Finder results.

Panic will set in amongst businesses with ads being moved to a new place. But this also serves an opportunity for businesses, especially the lowly ranked service providers and retailers who will now have to figure out a new way to find a place in Google’s top three search rankings. They will have to do so quickly as the new functionality now requires a user to click on the “more listing” option in Google’s SERPs to search for information about the bottom listed businesses. Besides that, SEOs will have a hard time figuring out how to move their clients’ organic search ranking to the top of the SERPs.

The ads that now show up in the Local Finder results will make use of AdWords extensions to get a physical location for listed businesses. The process is similar to the updated Google Map feature that uses AdWords location extensions when searching for a business location. But unlike results in Maps, Business Ads listed in the Local Finder results are not pinned on the Map results.

Let’s see what a Google spokesperson has to say about this new experimental test. “We’re always testing out new formats for local businesses, but don’t have any additional details to share for now.”

Google Maps No longer a Search Partner

Besides announcing a few changes in how ads will show up in Google Maps, Google has now officially removed Google Maps as a Search Partner. On one hand, Google is doing away with the regular text ads and on the other it may soon display ads along with location extensions in Google Maps. Moreover, Google has also made it known to businesses about its decision to remove Google Maps services as a Search Partner.

Here’s what the changes in the Maps’ status may mean to the users

  1. Businesses using location extensions will now be able to run ads in Google Maps to see a surge in their click through impressions when their ads are displayed in the Maps.
  2. Businesses that are search partners but opted out of the location extensions could witness a drop in their click through impressions since their ads are no longer being displayed in the Maps.

Google plans to include more businesses in Maps Ad auctions, which is why it’s been included as a part of Google’s search inventory. Google’s emphasis on location extensions is purely on the basis of it’s over dependence on structured data and feeds, which online retailers will vouch for.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

How to Effectively Use Location-based Mobile Marketing

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It’s hardly a surprise that in this day and age a lot of business deals are happening on the go. That is why almost80% marketers are targeting the ever-so increasing mobile users with their location-based advertising campaigns. Many marketers are looking at location-based mobile targeting as an alternative tactic to segment their intended audiences. 

With so many mobile marketers using the small screen effectively, it won’t be long before this new trend catches up with other businesses as well. If you’re finding this new form of marketing a bit cumbersome, then here are some tips on how you can initiate the process.

1. Be innovative with your approach

One of the major drawbacks of location-based mobile marketing is that marketers are using the same user based information to go with all their location based mobile marketing beliefs. 

For instance, a popular misconception that’s doing rounds among new mobile marketers is that you need to serve a mobile coupon to consumers when a) they’re using the right app at the right time near your store, b) they’ll acknowledge your ad when they’re feeling good about it and c) when the ad is broadcast just right. 

Well, smart marketers are aware of the fact that most smartphone users operate from home or from their workplace via Wi-Fi or through their mobile internet. They also know that the right time and right place to target their customers with discount offers and relevant messaging can be any time or any place, including their residences and their workplaces. 

2. Don’t go overboard with your messaging

Do everything within limits. This applies to almost everything, including location-based mobile marketing. I know, as a marketer you need to be aggressive to overhaul your marketing goals. But that doesn’t mean that you fire your messaging on a massive scale to reach your intended customers. In fact, the opposite is true for geo-targeting and demographic targeting, which in a way cuts down the audience size considerably. 

But if you’re hard pressed on doing it on a massive scale, then not only are you eat into a significant part of your daily spend, but you’re also going to be in dilemma when it comes to getting the right response. 

3. Use Your Platform well

You need to set some realistic marketing goals based on the platform that you’re leveraging for your campaigns. For instance, when leveraging an Instagram campaign, you can split your target audience on the basis of their age and gender, whereas Facebook campaigns allow you to be more creative while optimizing user information.

Since we are well aware of the fact that two platforms may not behave similarly, all you need to do is test another layer of targeting or segment your data further. But don’t limit yourself thinking that the data may not work out that well with a particular platform.

4. Double check your messaging 

Marketers knew for a fact, well before the emergence of the digital platform, that locations respond unpredictably to messaging. This means one geolocation may produce completely different results as compared to the other. Hence, you need to double check your messaging before testing it out for a new location. Also, consider testing it through the ad network and not just with a geolocation.

5. Be accommodating with results

The fact that location based targeting is effective, doesn’t mean that you will not get impressions from outside your targeting zone. The sooner you come to accept this fact, the better it will be for you and your future marketing endeavors.

6. Discard location targeting for volume-based campaigns

Sometimes you need to think differently to reach specific targets and that requires different marketing approach. For instance if you’re looking to boost the App Store ranking and position of your app then consider removing the location based targeting as that will help you reach your targets more efficiently while decreasing the cost and increasing the volume of your campaign.

At the end of the day, what you do is not that important as compared to how you go about doing it? If you need more help on the subject then just write to us at sales@ebrandz.com and our reps will be in touch with you within 24 business hours.

HOW “MOVED” BUSINESSES CAN CLOSE THEIR OLD BUSINESS LISTING MARKED AS “PERMANENTLY CLOSED”

In last couple of years, there have been some reports doing rounds in media circles, that there are quite a few businesses who have issues with their Google Search listings being shown in searches as “Permanently Closed”.

This indicates that a business has either closed down or moved their business location to a new place.  In case, relocating businesses fail to update their NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) citations in the Google My Business search listings then the relevant Google searches serve a big, red “Permanently Closed” notice to the searchers; instead of showing their new business address.

The existing issue concerns many such businesses and Google acknowledges this fact. It is, in fact, trying to fix the issue through Google My Business support.

Hardly reported in media circles, the solution to the existing issue that concerns most businesses lies in the Google Map based feature called “Moved”.

Why does the problem arise in the first place?

The problem arises when a business relocates to a new place without updating the new business address to its Google My Business Page. Google on its part, instructs the moving business to update its new business location as that will enable it to be in touch with its business contacts, photos, reviews, followers and other business related information.

More often than not, businesses are hardly aware or forget to update their business listings on Google’s My Business dashboard. As a result, many such relocated businesses forget to claim their business listings and often end up being listed as Closed, since they don’t following the Map Maker’s rule that informs businesses to close listings before relocating.

How you can fix it

As a business owner, if you’re thinking of relocating or have relocated and are facing the same problem, then just follow these simple steps to successfully update Google with your new search listings. First and foremost, contact Google My Business Team through their Twitter handle rather than contacting them over the phone. After connecting with them via Twitter, ask them to mark your old business listing status as “Moved” which is not the same as “Permanently Closed” business status.

There are many such businesses that have little or no information about this existing business status, which doesn’t have any reference either in Google My Business support center. It is available only on Google Maps and not on the Map Maker help page.

google-permanently-closed-listing

 

Changes that occur while Google updates your listing as Moved

So, now, you know how to mark your business listing as “Moved”. After a couple of days, you’ll notice the below changes once Google updates your business listing.

  1. This will erase your Google Search and Google Maps listings completely, making it impossible to find it in the searches.
  2. The removal of your listing will also terminate the “Permanently Closed” message, making it completely disappear from Google searches.
  3. Google uses a 302 HTTP status code to set up Google Maps URL to display your old business location. Your online visitor will be redirected to the new business location when he stumbles upon the Maps URL related to the old business location.
  4. As a part of the moving process, your old business reviews from the closed business listings are redirected to your new business listings. Just double check the entire process if that doesn’t happen.
  5. It is impossible to track your previous Map Maker business listings without making use of the direct URL that uses your business related CID number. Hence, your previous business listing will sport a “Permanently Closed” status instead of displaying the “Moved” status on the Map Maker.

This is where Google is trying to fix the issue that will enable a business to edit through Google Maps. If that happens, then it will save businesses a lot of time which gets used up while trying to reach Google My Business support center to get things done.

As seen in the screenshot below, Google Maps sports a “Moved” button that comes under “Suggest an Edit” section, which enables the user to update their new business information.

report-data-problem

 
As mentioned above, you may not accomplish your task by simply hitting the “Moved elsewhere” button, since that may trigger the “Permanently closed” label to completely disappear from the searches. And if you do press the button, then it will only display the little red banner with the “Relocated” message as seen in the image below.

Here you can see, your Google Maps and search result listings now sport a massive red label marked as “Closed”.

google-relocated-listing

 
This is how you need to initiate the process which will hopefully help a lot of struggling businesses that are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

If you still need any help, we can be of assistance. Just write to us at sales@ebrandz.com and our reps will be in touch with you within 24 business hours.

GOOGLE ROLLS-OUT A MUCH IMPROVED VERSION OF MYMAPS APP

google-mymaps

Seems like the search giant is currently in redemption mode and that’s the reason why it is continuously rebuilding and relaunching its existing array of services. The latest to join the list of revamped Google services is the MyMaps app. And if you haven’t heard about it in a long time, it’s a standby app version of Google Maps which enables users to conceive and share custom maps.

Nevertheless, it is a great concept which can act as your trip planner and double up as a social mapping tool to help you save your favorite locations for repeated use. But since it’s a standby app for Google Maps, it may not get the desired response.

So, all that’s new with the latest version of the app as compared to its previous version is listed below:

  • A new and improved User Interface
  • New and updated Welcome Guide
  • Fast/Superior Performance
  • Integrated Directions
  • New and updated Street View Imagery

If you’re a regular MyMaps app user then you’ll be able to acknowledge these improvements from its previous version. But the app with its above inclusions, functions the same way as its previous version did and can’t be compared to the much richer and utilitarian version of Google Maps.

Besides that, you can use it online as Personal Maps or the mobile version of MyMaps which comes under the Your Places tab on Google Maps. For the time being, it is the best way in which you can make use of the limited range of MyMaps app.

Having said that, there’s much more you can do with the MyMaps app’s new features which will come to the fore only if you explore its capabilities.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

FACEBOOK IS MAKING IT EASIER FOR iOS USERS TO DISCOVER NEARBY EVENTS

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New Year celebrations are just around the corner and if you still haven’t decided on your party destination then Facebook has got some options for you. Facebook has just launched Events Discovery Application to help iOS mobile users to track nearby events. This new mobile feature will be made available to 44.53 million iPhone users in 10 Major US cities, who can search for latest events update on the basis of their location. Besides improving its event notification service, Facebook is aiming to attract more online audiences, since its social login activity in the past two years has taken a slight dip.

Additionally, it allows iOS users to choose a particular event of their liking from categories ranging from Entertainment & Music to Food & drinks, Nightlife, Sports and Fitness. And if you’re not too happy with the current happenings in your city then you can search for a different location to get a fair idea about what’s happening in other nearby places.

At present, though this feature is being rolled-out to iPhone users across 10 major US cities, there’s no need for Android users to get disheartened. Team Facebook, after beta testing it out in these 10 cities, will extend the service to Android users as well.

With only 450 million active world-wide users, Facebook’s Events section has for long, taken a back seat. It is one of the reasons why Facebook wants to revamp it completely by displaying such public events in its News Feeds section alongside smarter notifications of related events. Nowadays, with more information related to public events being dispersed regularly in its news feed section, Team Facebook is only too happy to build a strong Event Product for its dashboard.

In the meantime, let’s see what Facebook’s Product Manager, Aditya Koolwal has to say about this new development through his recent blog post.

“We have a good sense of how people look for things to do. The social signals we have, the friends who are interested in going, the friends you can potentially go with — that’s our bread and butter, so we’re going to try and take advantage of that as much as we possibly can as we roll out more discovery features.”

For more information, email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 888-545-0616 Toll-Free.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SEO STRATEGIES

seo-strategies

There are different types of SEO & each one commands a different strategy. Let us define these different types of SEO & also, provide you with invaluable tips on the same.

Four types of SEO & Approaches You Require

Local SEO

Local SEO boosts the visibility of a local business by ranking the website higher in search engine result pages for location based keywords. However, including the exact keyword is not mandatory as it works as per the geographic location and also keywords & phrases that are related to the business & its location.

Local SEO is not just limited to your website. In fact, it also includes following things:

  • Engaging in community events & chamber.
  • Creating profiles on different platforms. Namely Google MY Business, Bing Places for Business & Yahoo Local.
  • Associating with directory websites.

Barnacle SEO

Barnacle SEO is like that sea creature which attaches itself with any big surface and then feeds off on the tiny particles that float by in the water.

If your website ranks lower on SERP then associating with big websites will be beneficial, as you can feed on their users. So when someone will search for that big website, you will also get users since your website can be found within the larger website.

For instance:-  You can utilize Yelp by focusing your SEO efforts on increasing the number of positive reviews. So when someone will search for “Electrician near me” they will most likely go to Yelp as it will be displayed in the top most position of the search engine result pages and also display reviews. With a decent number of positive reviews, you have a good chance of getting hired by a large number of Yelp searchers. Yelp is not the only way, though, you can do this by optimizing your profiles and business listings too.

Where to start:

  • Identify websites that are listed in the first page of a search engine and can offer most by using keywords and phrases related to your niche.
  • Focus your efforts on the top results as they will get you maximum exposure.
  • Being creative while associating with these big websites will help you get the best possible results.

National SEO

The opposite of Local SEO is National SEO. It is for those businesses that are not restricted to a particular location and can provide services or products anywhere. For instance: Companies like Amazon should have national SEO instead of Local SEO. They are not limited to a particular location and their products can be bought from anywhere. They don’t need to lure traffic to their stores they can serve to a broad range of audience and in multiple locations at once.

National SEO strategies aim at feeding search engines information so that customers can find the business regardless of the location they are searching from.

How to do it:

  • Do not include any keyword that is related to a particular location. For instance: It should be “web development services”  instead of  “Web development services New York”
  • Keep an eagle eye on your competitors and their websites elements.

Remember that competing on a national level is way too difficult as compared to local level since the level of competition will escalate enormously as you have to compete with the giants.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is as crucial as local SEO to rank higher. So if you are not tech savvy and terms like “Backend of a website” “robots.txt”, etc. sound like an alien language, then you better hire a technical person for the job. Because Technical SEO is not something you can ignore.

Technical aspects that should be good:

  • Load time of a web page, mobile friendliness, and content structure should be excellent.
  • Highly optimized webpage titles, descriptions, images, and URLs.
  • 301, 302 & 404 errors kill your search ranking. Monitor your website for them.

However, this is just a short list. The full list is longer and you should be focusing on every aspect of it for successful Technical SEO results.

Remember, whatever SEO strategy you use should be in alignment with your overall SEO strategy & digital marketing strategy, in order to rank higher in search engine result pages & reign supreme in your niche.

In case you need any assistance with your SEO strategy, we will be more than happy to help you. You can also request a FREE SEO Audit of your website to see where you stand among your competitors. Based on this Audit and your target audience, our technical team would be able to assist you further. Just reach to us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free).

GOOGLE ROLLS-OUT MORE POPULAR “GOOGLE MAPS” INSTALLATION FOR iOS USERS

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Seems like Google is slowly but surely giving up its monogamous trait of competing with everyone. That’s the reason why even after its recent spat with Apple computers, it’s finally waking up to serve iOS users’ needs. Not just that, it recently pushed the next installation of iOS Maps to update its features which are more in line with its compatriot Android. The new update includes features such as offline maps & navigation, busiest store hours and gas prices.

While there are have been other useful mobile apps in the past that offered to show current gas prices, this recent update by Google adds more to your convenience and utility levels. It allows consumers to not only locate the nearest gas service station, but it also matches prices of various gas service providers in your area.

Another useful add-on that comes with the recent iOS Map update is the busiest store traffic hours, which previously supported only the Android version. The company fetches this data through random Google users who have opted to share their location data.

Amongst the three recent updates, Google offline maps & navigation is the most significant one. This pre-announced feature was rolled out last month on first preferential basis to android users and now finds its way to the iOS users as well.

The iOS Google Map users will now be able to download their desired map areas for offline access. This includes every relevant information along with turn-by-turn navigation based on the desired map content (including contact information, ratings and business hours) for a particular location. Let’s see what Google has to say about these recent map inclusions.

“You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.”

Having said that, Google has pushed down these iOS Map updates amidst reports that Maps on the iOS platform are viewed 3 times more than Google Maps and that Apple have been getting more than 5 billion map-related requests on a weekly basis from its iOS users.

For more information, email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free).