Last week we talked about Yahoo Neighbors, and how you can leverage it for local search. Yahoo Neighbors can help local businesses in cities across the US to gain traction in local search results and potentially evolve into a default best practice for all small and local businesses.
Today, let’s discuss the Google Local Business Center.
If you’re a local business owner, it’s clear that Google helps customers find you. Not just by using Google search to find out about you, but Google Maps as well, so they can get to you in multiple different ways. Now, imagine if there were a way for you to get a better understanding of how those customers are finding you. What Keywords did they use to search for you? Where are they coming from, did they drive across town just to try your huge selection of pasta dishes? If you recently started offline advertising in a particular newspaper or coupon service, what happens to the traffic? Was it successful, or perhaps didn’t quite meet your expectations? If you had access to that kind of information, would it help you make better decisions in regards to how you apply your marketing dollars and how you would drive your traffic so you can attract more customers?
The Google LBC tool was launched back in June 2009,(www.google.com/lbc). The LBC is a free tool that enables business owners to control the content in their business listings as they appear in Google Search and Google Maps.
Once you sign up, Google populates a dashboard for claimed listings with data from the last 30 days. New information is added every day, so make sure to check frequently.
How is this different from my Google Analytics account (or other web tracking tool)? Well, before now, you could track usage metrics on your website using a tool like Google Analytics, but data about how customers found you through your local listing never got back to you. All you have to do is claim your listing in the LBC and go through a quick verification process to get access to the following kinds of 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.
The Google LBC dashboard:
It’s just one more tool that can help you target local search data and make informed decisions on what is working for you, and what isn’t.
And that’s good information to have.