Google Offering Enhanced Business Center Listings

by on February 1, 2010 · 15 comments

I was tweaking some local business center listings for my clients in Google when I saw this new option today:

Enhance your listing for $25 per month.

Google-Local-Business-Center-Enhancement

When you click on it, you’ll notice that you can feature different elements of your profile such as videos, photos, directions, coupons, or your website!

Google-Local-Business-Center-Enhancement-2

When you choose one it gives you a little preview of how the feature will look in a search result and maps result:

Google-Local-Business-Center-Enhancement-3

If you choose to activate the enhanced listing, Google will ask you for billing information:

Google-Local-Business-Center-Enhancement-4

Once your enhanced listing is active, you’ll see the feature in the lucky “7 Pack” search results:

san-jose-optometrist-enhanced-result

And also in the Google Maps results:

san-jose-optometrist-enhanced-maps-result

The enhanced listing looks like a good way to make your listings stand out a bit from the other listings on the page. If you’ve got a video, or some nice photos, you could feature this part of your Google profile.

These enhanced listings are FREE until Feb 28 – so go to your Google Local Business Center Listing and check it out to get some advertising for your business until the end of the month.

After the free period, I’m curious, would you pay $25/month for this? It seems like a nice way to make your listing stand out a bit, but only a little.

Google says that they will allow you to track the effectiveness of your enhanced listing in your dashboard. We are doing some testing with these and will let you know how effective we find them to be.

Google also says that the enhanced listings are being offered in limited areas (I’m seeing them in the SF Bay Area.) You can find more details at Google’s site: What are enhanced listings?

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Ramsey February 2, 2010 at 8:31 am

Way cool feature and should be very fun to see how CTR improves (if only a couple listings are showing the feature) I saw this reported yesturday by Sterling and earlier by Blumenthal, but I hadn’t seen the sign up process. Only two areas are currently showing the ads. I definitely hope they stick around.

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Justin M. February 2, 2010 at 11:39 am

Awesome. Can’t wait you hear how it turns out. Hopefully there’s a large increase in actions taken! The little yellow map balloon without the camera icon inside (as seen on the map itself) doesn’t seem to stand out very much. Hopefully they improve that a bit.

I wonder if google plans to allow SMBs to “upgrade/increase your service area” for a additional monthly fee. That would help a lot of SMBs I work with tremendously.

I manage a bunch of LA/OC local listings and neither of them have this upgrade option, yet.

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Yvonne Herbst February 6, 2010 at 6:54 am

Hi, Don — I’ve helped a few local businesses claim their Google Local Business listings, and if memory serves me correctly, they have always had the option to upload photos and videos when they edit their listings. So I don’t get it — what’s new here? Are you saying that if they want to add photos and videos after February 28 that they will have to pay $25 a month? Thanks for clarifying!

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Don Campbell February 6, 2010 at 11:57 am

@Mike Ramsey – me too!

@Justin M – great idea. The “service area” problem you mention is a huge problem for many small businesses. Nice idea to give them an option that allows them to show up for other nearby areas they serve.

@Yvonne – right; the ability to upload photos and videos to your Google Local Business Profile has been there for quite a while. What’s new is the ability to feature these in your search result and draw more attention to your listing. Theoretically this will help your listing stand out from the others in the maps search results…

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Yvonne Herbst February 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Hmmm . . . well, as the developer of a local directory with plans to monetize it by offering the same capabilities on my directory, I’d rather be collecting that $25 a month per business myself, rather than suggesting that local businesses sign up for the Google service. So, for argument’s sake: Suppose I have a local biz directory with SEO strengths comparable to your small biz theme; suppose I create and upload local biz videos with a service like Traffic Geyser — is there any reason why I would – or should – advise clients to also sign up for this Google enhanced listing for an additional $25 per month? Just thinking . . .

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Don Campbell February 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm

@Yvonne – it’s a good point you are making. I think that every business owner should sign up for the free Google local profile, in addition to any of their other marketing efforts.

Then the question becomes, is their $25/month feature worth it? Well, I’m testing that right now, but your proposal of a solid SEO’ed site and videos is a “no brainer” for any business. The return will be more than worth the investment, and every business should own their own website and make it the hub of their online activities.

Take a look at this post to see what Google is doing now with a businesses Places page – they are advertising competitors on it! So if you are sending prospects there instead of your own website you are making a mistake!

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Yvonne Herbst February 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm

And — just to get perfectly clear in my own mind — are you saying that the current ability to upload pix, videos, etc will remain a free option — but those just won’t show up prominently unless they pay an extra $25 a month? Or – is Google going to remove the option to upload photos and videos altogether unless you pony up the extra money?

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Don Campbell February 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

@Yvonne – my understanding is that the ability to upload pictures, videos, etc. is still part of the free profile.

The $25/month is just to make your listing stand out. Kind of like how Yahoo does “Merchant Verified” listings for those who pay a monthly fee.

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GERALD ZAKIM February 14, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Please advise what andhow and the fee structurs that will halp GZA to benefit from this listing. thank you.

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Don Campbell February 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Hi Gerald, I don’t understand your question. Could you please elaborate for me and I’ll do my best to answer it?

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Yvonne Herbst March 4, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Hi, again Don — I am working on a website for a local chiropractor. He is showing up in the top spot in the Google 7 pack under the phrases Warrenton Chiropractor, Fauquier Chiropractic, Chiropractor Warrenton, and Chiropractor Warrenton Virginia. But he is “unhappy” with my work so far because he is not showing up (yet) on the front page of search results underneath the Google Maps 7-pack listing.

Am I missing something? I’m a bit baffled by his reaction — but does he have a legitimate gripe? Is there an additional advantage to being listed on the first page underneath the Google map — when he already is showing up in #1 spot in the 7-pack?

Would really appreciate your feedback.

I haven’t done much to SEO his site yet in terms of submitting directory listings, verifying with Google, getting back links, etc. Just have made sure he is listed in the Google Local Business Center. He broke his pelvis in December in a horseback riding accident so have put work on his site on hold while he recuperates — now all of a sudden he wants to get back to work and is antsy to get his site onto the first page of SERPs — under the 7-pack.

Would creating a Facebook Fan Page for him do much to raise his rankings in your opinion?

The site is: http://www.fauquierchiropractic.com

Thanks, Don!

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Don Campbell March 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Hi Yvonne,
Good question. My goal is to always get clients listed in the Google Maps “7-Pack” and the organic listings underneath. Typically it takes longer to get them listed underneath, because you typically need some backlinks to get ranking there.

Your client needs to understand this process takes time and work. It’s a great first step to be listed prominently in the 7-pack as he is (#1 in the searches I looked at.) You should be able to show him the LBC dashboard and analytics to show that he is getting some traffic and activity from that.

A Facebook Page might help, but I would pursue getting some good backlinks into the clients website first and then worry about the FB page.

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Yvonne Herbst March 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

Hi, Don — I just noticed that I get different Google search results when I am logged into gmail than when I am logged out. Why is that?

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Don Campbell March 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

Hi Yvonne,
Good question – check this article out: How to Turn Off Google Customized Search Results for SEO

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Nik April 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Hi Don,

How long does it take google to place back link information on my local business listing.
I have placed the companies information in a number of websites, more than two weeks back, but the local listing page is still not showing any content under “more about this place”.

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