So does that little yellow icon that you just bought for $25 for the month that Google will show next to your Google Places aka Google Maps listing work to drive traffic?
Interesting question and here is the statistical data from one client that shows it is not worth the money.
Before the Tag: 14,150 impressions with 1400 actions
After the Tag: 10.351 impressions with 1001 actions
So traffic did not increase nor did actions. Additionally the clicks into the website also decreased.
So why would anyone want to pay $25 for the Tag icon? Well I can think of several times when the Tag may actually help. If you put a discount or special offer in the wording of your Tag, you may have terrific results. In our test case the client did not want to use a promotion and only wanted to highlight his web address.
As Google offers 30 days of the Tag free it may be worth it to your business to test the use of a Tag, but only with a promotional offer. Make sure if you do this that you print the page of your 30 day results in the control panel to use as your benchmark as there is no way to sort data and review old figures if you forget. The control panel will only show the most current 30 day results.
Then make a note on your calendar to review your After figures and compare the two; doing your own statistical test. Make sure you deactivate your tag is you didn’t like your results by clicking the billing tab and then deactivate or you will get billed for the next 30 days of service.
If you find out Tags have worked for you, make sure to leave a comment and your before and after stats to help us all out!
If you’ve been around for a while you will know what I mean when I refer to the now defunct Yahoo Local, but Google Boost sure looks a lot like it!
That being said, I am really watching Google Boost carefully. Google Boost a new monetization tactic being used for Google Places aka Google Maps and is currently being tested in Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston. If you use it, you set up your account, add your credit card and select one of three click levels for a month. Google does the rest. It creates pay per click ads, keywords, manages your cost per click. All you do is pay.
And pay you will, with a totally automated ad serving and automated click costs don’t expect Google Boost to be saving you any money. In the Yahoo Local model, you selected how many clicks you wanted to get each month and Yahoo delivered. You even tied up the top spots in organic-looking placement on the Yahoo Local search engine. So far in the beta testing the Google Boost ads are differentiated only with a blue map icon. They look similar to an organic listing.
Additionally, Google Boost ads will appear on Google Places, Google Maps searches and even on Google.com. My feeling is that this will never replace Google AdWords, but that Google is looking to sop up the market when it comes to Mom and Pop shops with low budgets that don’t want to get into AdWords or users who think AdWords is so complicated. Google Boost is a step below even the Google Starter Edition.
But Google will make tons of money off of this new vehicle and this is why I am really watching Google Boost. You should be too!
Google Boost is a new online ad program that lets business owners build search ads from their Google Places account. The goal is to make the ads contextually relevant.
Google is really putting some muscle behind moving to strongly monetize Google Places or as it used to be known Google Maps. Google Boost is currently being tested only in Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco. The new program will allow business owners to create AdWords-like ads but from inside the Google Places platform. The client will be able to set a budget and Google Boost will do the rest creating a keyword list and serving the ad when relevant. The price model is pay per click, in other words you only pay when someone clicks into your Google Places page.
Google expanded the Google Places tag recently out of selected markets and is now offering the mini yellow icon for $25 per month to Google Places businesses who want their map marker in the local list to stand out. I consider the Google Place tag a grab for cash by Google, but I am testing to see if the little yellow marker does generate extra activity and will let you know at the end of my testing period.
In the meantime, with new management moving into Google Places, Google Boost testing being done now, and Google emphasizing local search placement above Google.com organic listings and in some cases even above existing AdWords ads I expect to see even more efforts to further monetize this important listing for local serving businesses.
This big news was just announced last week by Matt Cutts from Google; that Google Places will now show your on customer reviews posted on your own website if they have been coded with Rich Snippets Reviews code. You can read the full FAQ section from Google on this topic and other questions, but for most of us this is huge news.
The big key here is that your testimonials and services reviews residing on your own website have to be coded properly with the hReview Rich Snippet code to be picked up. If it is coded properly Google Maps now known as Google Places will eventually place all these reviews, without additional intervention from you, on your Google Places page.
As reviews you may have solicited may be powerful and focused on your services offerings and will typically be favorable, or you would not have posted them yourself, this is a huge boon to every business that wants to build reviews to achieve better organic Google Maps or Google Places placement.
How will Google treat businesses posting testimonials with review mark up on their own site? Will these be treated as a review by the Place Page?
Testimonials will be treated as business reviews on the Place Page.
If I annotate my site with structured markup, how fast may results appear on the Place Page?
It typically has the potential of appearing within a couple of weeks of your page being indexed by Google. Currently we will only be able to recognize basic business listing information (name, address, phone number) and surface reviews and photos.
If you have not coded your testimonials, now is the time to review that you have them coded in a format that will help you with Google Places.
I have done quite a bit of research and writing on the topic of how to improve your Google Maps, now known as Google Places, placement. For many businesses that sell locally, like lawyers and pest control service companies, placing well on Google Places can mean big business and terrific free exposure.
I am asked repeatedly if we offer services in this area, and have been performing services for a few select clients over the past year. However, we are now ready to roll out a program that may help to garner you the placement you want for your local selling business. Please be aware we don’t guarantee placement, but from our experience and understanding of what seems to work in Google Maps, many of our clients have had their listing become visible (when it was not previously) and some have nice improvement in their position.
We invite you to click in to read our full pricing and information on this new service. Set up is $240 and monthly updates are $40. Included in our set up is the purchase of 20 images to rotate in your Google Places account. Although this service may not be a good match for every business, if you sell locally, it is one you will want to review carefully.