Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Local Business Center

In July, Google introduced Local Extensions, which allow your business address to be dynamically attached to your AdWords ads. This benefits the business owner because it allows the ad to take up more real estate on the page (which should result in a CTR boost) and benefits the user because the extension will be triggered based on the location or query, making the ad more relevant.

Extensions can be set up at the Campaign or Ad level. At the Campaign level, the address will populate dynamically based on the user’s location or search query. Read more about setting up Local Extensions at the Campaign level here.

If you want more control over the address that appears with your ad, you’ll want to set up Local Extensions at the Ad level. For example, let’s say that you want test a new product in a smaller market before launching it nationwide. In this case, you’ll want to set the address at the Ad level so that only users in that market will be directed to the landing page featuring the new product, and will be shown only the address where that product is available. Read more about setting up Local Extensions at the Ad level here.

Here is an example of Local Extensions in action:

Local Extension
Google has made some additions to reporting metrics so you can see how users are interacting with your local business ad. Here is a peek at some of the information you can pull from the AdWords Reports tab:

You’ll only pay for clicks through to your website; clicks on the PlusBox, map, or directions are free!

Before getting started with Local Extensions, you’ll want to link your AdWords and Local Business Center accounts. Lots of exciting things have been happening in the local business center, so it’s a great time to sign up. Here’s how:

Google Local Business Center

Google Maps pulls business information from a slew of sources (like Yellow Pages, for example) so in order to ensure that your listing has the most accurate and comprehensive information possible, you’ll want to register your business with Google’s Local Business Center. The process is simple and Google has a great video that will walk you through the steps (video removed). If your business already appears on Google Maps, you’ll just need to claim the listing before getting started. If you have more than 10 listings, Google makes it easy to import a bulk feed in a CSV file. The process is a bit different and you can find everything you’ll need to know here.

Next, add some more information about your business:

* Hours of operation
* Payment Options
* Photos & Video
* Additional Details
* Categories

Select up to 5 categories that relate to your business. This will allow potential new customers to find you when they search for businesses in the categories you have specified in your listing. Let’s say I’m planning to do some shoe shopping in Paris. I’ll go to Google and search for “shoes paris” and here are the suggestions generated based on my query:

Shoes Paris
The Local Business Center Dashboard gives you access to a couple of great features relating to your listing:

* Statistics: ‘View Report’ to see information including impressions, actions, top search queries triggering your listing, and zip codes where driving directions came from.
* Coupons: Click the ‘Coupons’ tab and select ‘Add New Coupon’. The format is pretty simple and you can upload an image to make your coupon pop. Here is an example:

* Reviews: Reviews come from third parties as well as reviews written by Google Maps users. If you feel that a review’s authenticity is dubious, you can flag it as inappropriate and it will be reviewed and possibly removed.

Just last week, Google introduced Place Pages. According to the Official Google Blog, a Place Page is “a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. By every place, we really mean *every* place — there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world.” Just click on the “more info” link in a local listing and you’ll be taken to the place page, where you can find photos, videos, street views, nearby transit, reviews, related websites & more. Here’s a closer look at Boutique Repetto’s Place Page:

Place Page
With all of the fancy new features the Google Local Business Center has rolled out, now is a great time to get started!