Tag: local business center

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Claimed your Google Place Page Yet? If not, someone else will!

As if you needed another reason to claim your Google Place page, the most compelling reason yet has now appeared. It is ridiculously easy (unless or until Google has fixed it) for a scammer to claim someone else's Place Page if they have a mailing address in the same town as the business. Don't believe me? Mike Blumenthal uncovered the way to do it, and it is quoted in detail at Search Engine Roundtable. Read it yourself, but here's the essence of it: Google allows you to verify your business either by phone or by receiving a postcard from Google. In either case, you get a PIN number that you can use to verify that you are the owner. The scam comes from the difference between the way the US Postal Service interprets the address, and the way Google uses it. In a two line address form, such as 1234 Anystreet Rd, PO Box 8910, Somewhere, TX 87654 where 1234 Anystreet Rd is the physical location and PO Box 8910 is the delivery address, the US Postal Service delivers the mail to the address closest to the zip code. In other words, to the PO Box. Not so with Google. Google uses the first line of the address to locate the business. So what, you ask? So this: If there is a business with an unclaimed listing (in some areas, this is the majority of the businesses), and if a scammer is in the same general locality, the scammer can claim the business listing by requesting verification by mail, and putting the business address in the first line, and the scammer's address in the second line. The postcard with the PIN number will be delivered to the scammer's address, who can then "verify" that they are the business owner. Naturally,…

Where do bookings come from?

Instead of re-writing the article, we will simply mention and link to the great information provided by our friends at Acorn Internet Services showing a comparison of statistics on bookings from before there were Google Place Pages and currently, and also noting which directories produce bookings. This is obtained from Acorn's customers who use Acorn's Intell-A-Keeper tracking software. We will comment more on this topic before long. Enjoy this useful information!

How will you rank in local social results?

As if you haven't heard enough about getting started with Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and you need to claim your Google Place Page (formerly Local Business Center listing), here we go again, with more changes to the way we market our businesses. Those who are on Twitter will have noticed that the web pages for posting have recently shown a link asking if you want to add your location to your posts. If you thought about it at all, it probably looked like Twitter was defending itself against Foursquare's location-based messages. That appears to be the case, certainly, but an article from the journal Search Engine Land shows more is going on than meets the eye, and speculates about upcoming uses for the information. Behind the scenes If you are using the web interface, when a tweet includes location information, you can move your mouse pointer over the location, to see a pop-up bubble with information about that location. Twitter announced on June 14 that this feature would be rolled out in 65 countries over the next week. The image below is a link to the Search Engine Land post's image, as our account doesn't yet show the location information. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="549" caption="Twitter place information"][/caption] Clicking the "Tweets about this place" link displays a search results page, showing tweets about this location. What this means for lodging properties This is all very cute, you may say, but who has time, and what difference does it make? The answer to the second part of the question is also the answer to the first - if it is important, you'll have to make time. If you're familiar with Google Place Pages (and you should be!) you know that your local business can claim its page and provide information…

Need A Google Link to Your Reservations Page?

We're used to seeing Google link (in the so-called organic search engine results pages - SERPs) to our home page, and sometimes to other popular pages on our lodging web site. But wouldn't it be great if they linked directly to your availability or booking page? Well, now you can have them do just that (though not from the SERPs - for that the page is on its own for establishing popularity)! Recently it seems we've been writing (and reading) quite a bit about Google's Place Pages and Place Pages for mobile devices. Since that is because there have been changes in those tools that are important for small lodging properties, and since Google continues to make changes, it is likely you'll continue to hear more about them, too. In the past week or so several prominent writers, particularly on social media and search engine optimization, have remarked on these changes. In addition, a Google employee has pointed out in a Google help forum that you can also add links to your Place pages - something they did not previously allow. If you have not claimed your Place page, the instructions to do that are in our post on mobile place listings. You will need to claim your Place page before you can edit the listing. Once you can edit the listing, scroll to the Additional Details section (near the bottom of the left column), where we'll enter the link. Google employees also remarked that they have "reserved" two terms so they get special treatment in a Place Page listing. These are "Menu" (which is intended to apply only to restaurant listings), and "Reservations". In the Additional Detail section, select "Add another" to add a new entry in the section. Next enter Reservations in the left column. Be sure it…

Google Adds Mobile Place Pages: Why you should care

Last week Google announced that its Local Business Center pages would be called Place Pages, and that they had added several new features to them. Now they have followed that up with an announcement that Place Pages now have a mobile version, at least on Android phones (such as the Google G1, Motorola Droid, and several others) and iPhones. Before this announcement, smartphones with good web browsing abilities could see much of the standard Place Pages, so in that sense this isn't an earth-shaking announcement. However, now the Place Pages are optimized for mobile, so you see larger text, with links to the different sections of information. These include location, map, business info, hours of operation, and most importantly, reviews. Why this matters The importance of mobile Place Pages appears when you combine the back-to-back announcements from Google about its Place Pages with the ease of guests posting or reading reviews - even while still at the location they are reviewing - and presto! Instantly available reviews and information by and for guests. As we mentioned in our presentation on Reputation Management, if anyone has ever used a mobile device at your property, or if you think they ever may do so, you need to be aware of the consequences and take steps to be ready for it! What you should be doing about it Some would see the ease of posting and finding reviews, as well as other information about your property, as a threat. We don't. We see it as an opportunity to tell people how wonderful your property is. There are a number of simple things you can do to both guard against the inherent risks, and to proactively use Place Pages to benefit your property. We've said it before, and can not emphasize it enough -…

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