Although Facebook is rising in popularity it isn’t the only place a business can build an online presence. Google Places (formerly known as Place Pages) has been around for a while now, but just recently added new features that make it worth a second look.
Google’s blog says that the new Google Places will be introducing the following features:
- Service areas: If you travel to serve customers, you can now show which geographic areas you serve. And if you run a business without a storefront or office location, you can now make your address private.
- A new, simple way to advertise: For just $25 per month, businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out on Google.com and Google Maps with Tags. As of today, we’re rolling out Tags to three new cities — Austin, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. — in addition to ongoing availability in Houston and San Jose, CA. In the coming weeks we’ll also be introducing Tags in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder and San Francisco.
- Business photo shoots: In addition to uploading their own photos, businesses in select cities can now request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business which we’ll use to supplement existing photos of businesses on Place Pages. We’ve been experimenting with this over the past few months, and now have created a site for businesses to learn more and express their interest in participating.
- Customized QR codes: From the dashboard page of Google Places, businesses in the U.S. can download a QR code that’s unique to their business, directly from their dashboard page. QR codes can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business.
- Favorite Places: We’re doing a second round of our Favorite Places program, and are mailing window decals to 50,000 businesses around the U.S. These decals include a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to directly view the mobile Place Page for the business to learn more about their great offerings.
Business owners can also navigate to the Google Places (Formerly Local Business Center) where, once a listing is claimed and verified, they can get access to all kinds of helpful data:
- Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
- Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business’ website or requested driving directions to the business.
- Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for “tea” or “coffee”?
- Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.
Google is continuing to make itself a strong option for businesses. With the addition of several new features, Google is showing that it’s evolving with the changing trends. The new and improved Dashboard gives businesses more options to track traffic and help increase sales.
Official Oneupweb review: Thumbs Up