Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Google updates Local Business Centre (but not for Australia - yet)

Google has just announced some neat new features for its Local Business Centre service - where you can already customise the way in which your Google presence is displayed particularly in Google Search but particularly in Google Maps.

The new level of reporting available looks incredibly useful and solves an issue highlighted previously.

See the video below for the depth of analytical information that is available including the searches (and trends) that are bringing business your way and where these customers are coming from.

Local Business Centre as your own Google mini-site

Effectively it brings you a similar level of reporting to that available in Google Analytics that was previously unavailable for Maps. By doing so, it effectively allows you to monitor your Google "mini-site" (ie Local Business Centre listing) which has structured data about your business including opening times, payment methods accepted, pictures, reviews, coupons/vouchers.

Having this mini-site (with a Google Maps URL) allows you to study customer behaviour for another configuration of your business information on the website. The insights you learn can then be applied to your general website.

What data is available?

The information they promise to make available is as follows:
  • Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a search or Google Maps search in a given period. [NB: This may be quite different to your organic results for other pages]
  • 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. [This data gives you insight into the behaviour of searchers that might not be available on your main site]
  • 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. [hopefully this works as well for postcodes!]
Let's hope it is not long before this level of reporting is available for Australian businesses.

You can read the complete announcement:
Official Google Blog: The Local Business Center dashboard opens its doors

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