Tips to help Google users find and connect with your business

Flow Chart of a Google Cluster technology in Local
Maps Google has been somewhat more forward facing of late. They rolled out the data rich Dashboard accompanied by a strong PR push in the technical, business and mainstream media. They have been dribbling out tidbits as to how Maps function (see the diagram to right) and are being somewhat more forthright on the forums as to what works and what doesn’t.

One realizes after watching Google that their communication is no accident and is very controlled. Information doesn’t flow freely about Maps and given the lack of a Maps Guide with the public presence of a Matt Cutts, it comes from many different angles; the forums, blog announcements, the help docs, rare interviews etc. etc

The recently highlighted Tips to help Google users find and connect with your business is consistent with this communication pattern. It is a understated and a tantalizingly insubstantial document that deserves a careful read. Two tidbits that were of interest to me (bold are mine):

 Choose the most appropriate, specific categories for your business.
  • Don’t be afraid to choose specific categories instead of broad ones. The important thing is that the categories are accurate and describe your business well. Google’s search algorithm makes sure that users looking for “Book Stores” will see businesses in more specific categories like “Used Book Stores,” “Comic Book Stores,” and “Rare Book Stores” too.
 Establish a strong, accurate presence on the web.
  • Encourage customers to review your business or to blog about it. Google uses these to improve search results too.
Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Tips to help Google users find and connect with your business by

10 thoughts on “Tips to help Google users find and connect with your business”

  1. Nice additional comments, Mike. That was an excellent find in scrutinizing Google’s commentary. Its not like it was shouted out, but rather somewhat hidden.

    More reason why small businesses should have a blog. Then of course one needs to spend the time on the blog, and spend the time interacting with the local blogging community.

    But, should that visibly impact Maps rankings as much as it appears that Reviews impact rankings, then it is well worth the effort.

  2. As I read the above, it meant a small business needs to be mentioned on blogs…ie their pr and marketing efforts need to be inclusive of the hyperlocal blogging community

  3. I read it that way, too, Mike. Great find. This, of course, means that local businesses will have to learn to walk the line between voluntary and recompensed mentions on blogs. For product-oriented businesses, it can be challenging to think of ways to get local bloggers to blog about a business without giving them the gift of a product to sample. As I understand it, Google doesn’t have a problem with this, so long as the gift is disclosed. I’m not sure where the whole no-follow thing would come into this, as Google would likely be using those local blogs as citations – not necessarily links. Wait, this is getting complicated.

  4. @Miriam

    I hadn’t spun the scenario out that far to see the snares on the horizon that you mention. the world that google has created and in which it seems to have ever increasing policing duties seems to be expanding.

  5. Wait, Mike, you mean you didn’t sit there saying, “but, now the whole no-follow thing is kind of moot, and after all, it was never really applicable to citations, and….”? I’m surprised at you!

    Haha.

  6. @MiriamEllis comment 3. Well said. It is very complicated. Without Blumenthals and a few others, I would not understand a thing. What I have learned most is that your not supposed to understand too much about Maps.

    It is kinda like that hot chick in high school you could never figure out how to get to go on a date with you.

  7. @panzermike

    Although your simile is crude your observations seem spot on. Google has an interest in obfuscating much of what goes on inside of Maps.

    Mike

  8. @Mike:

    Yeah and now I can’t even get this hot chick to talk to me to give me back my ring (website data)!!

    Looks like she created a fake boyfriend and gave him all the credit (unverified listing that never merges with live “verified” one) lol :-)

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