4 Reasons Why You Absolutely Need to Use Google Places for Your Business

No Comments » Written on April 29th, 2010 by
Categories: Google, search engines, SEO

More and more people are using search engines to find information about local products and services. Google Places, formerly known as Google Local Search is a must have for local businesses who want to capitalize on this phenomenon.

Here are the 4 reasons why you absolutely should create a listing on Google Places for your business:

  1. Google Places allows you to submit detailed information about your business for free. This information includes your street address, email address, description of products and services offered, hours of operation, payment options, photos of your products and storefront, and videos.
  2. Your business will appear in Google Maps. Once you submit your listing Google will show your location on Google Maps along with the information located above. You can even adjust the map pointer if it doesn’t show your location as accurately as it should.
  3. You can offer printable coupons for customers. Google Places will allow you to submit coupon information complete with an expiration date that your customers can print and bring to your business.
  4. Statistical information. When you are logged into your Google Places page you can view analytics showing how many times your listing was viewed, where visitors came from, what keywords they used to find you, and even how many times they downloaded your coupon.

While setting up your Google Places listing is fast and easy, I would strongly recommend that you not “set it and forget it”. You or someone in your company should review the descriptions, email address, photos, and coupons in your listing to be sure they continue to be accurate and timely.

Google Helps You Make Your Site Into a Portal

No Comments » Written on March 29th, 2010 by
Categories: Google, search engines

Most web site owners are always looking for ways to drive traffic to their site. Google’s Custom Search may be another tool you can add to your arsenal. With Google’s Custom Search you can create a collection of web sites that are specific to your industry and wrap them into a search engine powered by Google.

By placing this custom search box on your home page you can attract visitors who are looking to do targeted keyword searched for topics relative to your expertise.

Setting up a custom search engine in Google requires that you have a Google account. From the Custom Search home page you simply follow the screens to name and customize your search. If you are a qualified not-for-profit or an educational organization you can even suppress the Google text ads that appear on your search results pages.

In addition, you can customize the look and feel of the results page to reflect your branding.

Google’s Custom Search service is free and is different from their Site Search service which is a hosted, fee-based product that Google offers to businesses.

YouTube Solves Accessibility Problems in Video

No Comments » Written on November 20th, 2009 by
Categories: Google, Video, YouTube

There is no debate that web video has revolutionized the way in which web site visitors have consumed information. The problem is that videos are not natively accessible. This has left the hearing and vision impaired public largely out of this revolution.

While Google has offered a captioning service for videos uploaded to YouTube for a few years now, it still required video owners to add the captioning tracks manually. As a result the majority of videos on YouTube don’t have them and they are therefore inaccessible.

Yesterday, Google announced a new automatic captioning service for YouTube. Google is using their speech recognition software to allow video owners to automatically add video captions to their videos. This new service works by having the video owner upload a text file of the speech in their video. Google’s speech recognition software matches the text to the audio track and outputs the caption to the video. Since speechrecognition technology is still evolving Google is rolling out this service to a select few partners first. National Geographic and PBS are two that will test this new feature on their YouTube channels.

This new feature should significantly lower the barrier for video owners to add captions to their videos and allow a large segment of the Internet public to make use of those videos. If that weren’t reason enough, it will also improve the search rankings for videos that include captions.