If you have not heard of the Google Local Business Center and most of your customers come from your local region, then you now have a high priority task today. When prospects search for suppliers, Google will often now attempt to give them a list of local suppliers. That’s particularly true if the searcher is using google.com and it is presumably only a short time before it applies to other Google searches like those done with Google.ca.
It works for all the common products and services where you might be looking for a local supplier. You will usually find a block of ten local suppliers that is listed at the fourth position in the Google keyword search results for the particular product or service. To an extent it may mean less business for Google as fewer people then click on the Sponsored Link (Adwords) advertisements at the top and down the right-hand side through which Google makes its money.
If you were previously relying on your natural occurrence in the Google search results (what is often called the organic search results), then your entry is pushed even farther down the page unless you can guarantee to be in the top three. Perhaps that is the lever that will push many local businesses to buy sponsored link AdWords ads in order to appear on the initial screen (above the fold).
Google has now added a Local Business Center User Guide, and it includes a short video introduction to the service.
Mike Blumenthal is a keen watcher of the Google Local Search scene and he offers the following assessment of the Local Business Center User Guide.
The Guide is a step in the right direction, is well organized and provides additional useful information. That being said, Google needs to “step it up” to bring the LBC into the realm of usable by the small business person it is intended to serve.
It is true that there is a degree of confusion here and for Google it clearly is a work in progress. If you need any help in ensuring you are visible to your local customers then please contact SMM.