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PPC tips and advice

Targeting local business searchers

Google's Local Business Listings are now regularly shown within the main search results if a user searches for a local business, alongside a small map. In addition, viewing results on Google Maps provides more information and additional advertising options through Google AdWords, all of which should be used by a localised business to target their potential customer base. Google is now adding new features to this service to help advertisers gain more local business.

We first covered the value of Google's local business listings and their increasing prominence in Google's 'universal search results' back in our June 2007 newsletter. The local business listings service has developed further since then and remains an important area for companies who are targeting a localised market to gain a prominent listing. Achieving a high ranking in the 10 businesses listed in Google's main results can be difficult, particularly in a competitive market, but if searchers click through to the more detailed business listings, or search directly within Google Maps, there are additional ways to achieve visibility and to attract searchers to your website.

One of the main ways to achieve good visibility is through the use of a local business advert, which is created as part of a Google AdWords campaign. This allows advertisers to create a specific advert to appear on Google Maps searches, with a small icon, address and contact details. In addition, Google has now announced some additional new features for these adverts to help companies attract prospective customers faster and to gauge how well their adverts are performing.

The first addition is that Google's local business ads will now feature new interactive links within the panel that is displayed for the business. These panels are designed to provide more information for users and to connect them to the business quicker with a link to their website. Now users will be able to see more information from this panel and to take additional actions, such as a "Get Directions" option, a link to "Street View" (available in Australia with a street level photo of the business address), and "Save to My Maps" which allows users to personalise their search results.

In addition, Google AdWords will also be adding a new interaction report for local business ads in the near future. This report will help advertisers to assess the activity through the local business ads and their return on investment, with such information as how many users opened the info window and clicked on each of the new interactive links. Google says that Maps users are often looking for different information than Search users so that these new interactive links and the reports should help customers connect with a business faster as well as help the advertiser understand how to better target Maps users versus Search users.

This article was first published in the February 2009 edition of our monthly newsletter.

If your business could be benefitting more from a Local Business Listing on Google, contact us now for more information on this feature and we'll be pleased to help. We can create optimised listings and Local Business Adverts to help raise your profile and improve your visibility to your target market. Please contact us now for more information or request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.