List you Business for FREE with Google Maps

How would you like to advertise the physical location of your business for free abd get extra Google exposure ?  Thanks to Google Maps, this is relatively easy to do, and with the new “Universal Search” implemented by Google a couple of months ago, it also presents a great chance to capture #1 rankings.

Why Should You Bother With Google Maps?

Here are some of the benefits offered by Google Maps : 

  1. Get more exposure for your business (via a relatively new Google tool)

  2. Google allows you to offer coupons to visitors of your map listing. These coupons are touted as a way to “reward loyal customers and attract new ones”. 

  3. Once your address is fully verified you have full control over your listing. You can add or delete non-address information as you like.

  4. You can add all of your business locations from a single account.

  5. All that your client or prospective client has to do to find your office is click on a link on your website and, they are taken to an accurate road map with directions.

Heres How :

Here is the process for you to get your site added to Google Maps.

Step 1: Add Your Business
Visit Google Local’s “Add/Edit Your Business” page. There you will be asked to enter your Google account login and password (or you can quickly create one) before entering the submission area. Once in, you need to provide standard business address and contact information, a 200-character description of your business, the forms of payment you accept from consumers and your operating hours.

Step 2: Choose a Category
Next you will be asked to provide a category that best describes your business. You can enter a phrase here and Google will try to find a related category to make this process simpler for you. You have the option to appear in up to 5 separate categories.

Step 3: Preview and Select Verification Method
Your business listing along with a proof of your business’s mapped location is shown for your approval. Here you can make any necessary final tweaks to your listing. After that, you have to choose which verification method that Google will use to confirm your address.

Step 4: Verify
Follow the instructions provided to you by either the postcard or the phone and your listing will be active within 6 weeks.

Adding Your Google Maps Listing

The simplest option for using you listing is to link directly to it from your website. Start by visiting and
type in your business name into the search window. If
your listing is active, it should come up within the
results. Click on this listing and you will see your
location appear
on the
map along with your company’s information balloon. Click
the title within the balloon and your detailed Google Maps page
will appear. Now you can simply copy the URL in your browser
and paste that into your website so that your users can find
your location.

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How Can a Small Business Succeed Online ?

More and more small business owners are feeling the lure of the internet to promote and sell their products and services.  In fact these days, the Internet is often the first place  budding entrepreneurs set up their fledgling businesses. Why ?  Because it is relatively cheap… cheap to setup and cheap to market.

The great thing about the internet is that it is usually very cheap to reach your target market. The problem is, that it is also cheap for everyone else as well.

So how does a small business hope to compete online, when there are some many other businesses – small, large and very large – already competing for their customers.  The answer is remarkably simple – Focus !

How do you sell plasma televisions if everyone sells them? How do you attract searchers for that broad a term? If you need to appear on the first page of search results to get sales, how do you do that as a small business?

The small businesses that are succeeding online are marketing very targeted offerings—extremely specialised products and services. That way, they take advantage of the “Long Tail” effect to get on the first page of search results for something (even if it is somewhat obscure) and they have a good chance of satisfying
the customer with what they do best.

But it means that you must specialise, you must focus on a niche. What is unique about your products? Or your business? Or the way you sell them? What is it that makes you better than everyone else for a certain specific target segment? When you answer that question, you’ll know how to market yourself on the Web. You’ll know what that segment is looking for and you’ll know how to attract them with the right message.

A small business must specialise to succeed on the Web. What’s your specialty?

Increase your Online Sales with Customer Reviews

A recent social commerce report on online retailers shows that the use of customer reviews will increase the overall sales for your website.  Customer product reviews are increasing retail e-commerce conversion rates, site traffic and average order values, according to e-consultancy and Bazaarvoice‘s “Social Commerce Report 2007” report.

It was found that 28% of online sellers were using customer ratings and reviews. More than half said they were considering it.

Asked about the effects of customer ratings on their Web sites, over half of online retailers in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe said their overall conversion rates had gone up in the past year, compared with only 9% who said they fell.

Nearly eight in 10 online sellers thought a major benefit of such reviews was to increase conversions, while 73% thought improved customer retention and loyalty were major benefits. Nearly six in 10 thought the fact that customer reviews improved search engine optimisation was a significant benefit.

“Tapping into social commerce can be a great way of gaining a competitive advantage, for example through ratings and reviews,” Linus Gregoriadis, E-consultancy’s head of research, said in a statement. “But apart from the early adopters, this is something a large proportion of online retailers are only just starting to think seriously about.”

Matt Cutts on Paid Links and Google Ranking

Matt Cutts of Google has recently updated his blog post on How to report paid links. The update has more detail on Google’s view of paid links. Here’s a quick summary of some of the new additions :.

  • Sites with paid links may lose their ability to pass link value to other pages
  • Google may use “semi-automatic approaches to ignore paid links,” such as manual reviews, spam reports
  • Not all paid links are necessarily bad, only those that “flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings”
  • Examples of bad paid links include those that have links to pages that are not related and pages disguising the fact that they are paid links
  • Google wants spam reports on paid links to better test, confirm and improve their algorithms
  • Directory links from directories that reject submissions, charge a fee and have quality listings in the directory should be OK

Google’s New Pay Per Action (PPA) Product

Google is testing a new advertising system that allows businesses to advertise on a cost per action basis. You can read Google’s own announcement here.

Until recently, Google has mostly sold pay-per-click (PPC) ads, under its AdWords program – advertisers pay when someone on Google or a Google partner site clicks on the ad. Google have also offered for quite some time a Pay per Impression (PCM) model for Site Targeted Ads.

Google AdWords PPC has one big advantage and one big disadvantage: You only pay for clicks of potential customers, but you also risk paying money for nothing (sometimes a lot) because of click fraud.

There has been a lot of debate around click fraud because Google has a short term financial incentive to promote it. Google’s new advertising product is “pay per action” (PPA). With PPA you don’t pay per click anymore but you pay when a customer takes further action, such as buying a product or signing up for a newsletter – a Conversion action that you can define.

How can Google track the action?

If you use Google’s PPA advertising product, then you must use Google’s conversion tracking code in the HTML code of your web pages. By placing the relevant tracking code on your Conversion page (generally a confirmation type page which is displayed once a conversion has been achieved), Google is able to flag the “Action” and trigger a charge.

Of course, the advertiser has an incentive not to confirm the action, but cheating does not make sense. Like PPC ads, PPA ads will likely be ranked by profitability to Google, so if you ads not generating any actions, then it will probably stop being displayed in the first place.

Adwords PPA Ads will be competing directly with existing PPC and PCM advertisers, (all these types of ads will co-exist on the Google Content Network) so it will be interesting to see how Google goes about determining which Ads to display, and what impact this has on bid prices. Google will almost certainly choose Ads which offer them the greater profit.

What are the consequences for the market?
Google will be able to better maximize revenues on its advertising network, and it also should allay the concerns over click fraud.

Google’s new PPA program is in direct competition to affiliate marketing networks such as Commission Junction and LinkShare. Publishers could leave those affiliate marketing networks and concentrate on Google’s PPA program.

Yahoo and Microsoft may very well offer similar PPA programs in the future. The current players on the PPA market Snap and Turn now face heavy competition.

What are the consequences for you as an advertiser?
If you already track the return on investment (ROI) on your PPC ads, then you won’t be affected much.

If you are a smaller advertiser, then PPA advertising could mean that you will pay less for better results in the future, and that you will never worry about click fraud again.

Note that Google’s pay per action program is currently in beta test. This means that there are some limitations:

* participation is by invitation only, you must fill out a web form to request participating in the program
* the PPA program is currently only available to US customers
* ads are limited to Google’s content network of partner sites (Google AdSense)