Posts

Maps View of Early Morning Walk

Time Saving Ways to Add Info To Google Maps

Whether you’re a Google Local Guide, community advocate, like maps, photography and improve how people navigate around your neighborhood, this is a way to help showcase your area. All you need is a smart phone that takes the Google Maps app.

For me, I’m passionate about Ward 3 in Minneapolis. It contains 10 unique neighborhoods, although we hope to strive them to make friendly enough as one. We do have an election coming up and that factors in for my vote. These photos are from a small early morning walk down the street in the Downtown West neighborhood.

Just by walking around, I was able to find different businesses, parks and local areas of interest. On the skyway and vibrant streets of Downtown West lies Washington Square.

Washington Square

Within Washington Square is Penny’s Downtown, open since the latter half of 2016.

Photo taken for Google Maps

This above maps image is one I did on the smart phone and it took just minutes. Photos, review and all just took minutes out of my day.

But I digress and off to others.

Washington and Marquette lies one of 190 Nice Ride Bikes stationed across the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. As a whole, Nice Ride a local independent 501(c)3 non profit created to operate the bike share system. It has a board of directors and they’re always open to questions or feedback. See their FAQ page.

Nice Ride Bike

This bike has a customized sticker by the handle bars. No plans to bike to the St. Paul Farmers Market today but can be done for the adventurous.

This again can be submitted to Google in minutes.

A relatively unknown park is the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Park, next to their headquarters on Washington Ave and Nicollet Mall, They do have a local page for their corporate presence, but not for the park itself. The park is really nice for people watching, lunch and just laying out to catch some rays. It even showcases events such as dance and yoga classes and in the photo below, a round of Kubb played during the 2017 Kubb Krawl.

Kubb at Cancer Survivor Center

I haven’t created a maps review or photo(s) just because the park itself doesn’t have a local page. Just their corporate office does under Marquette Plaza. In the meantime I could take a few minutes to add a missing place for them.

Nonetheless, the park has a nice view, wouldn’t you say?

View from Cancer Survivors Park

Just down the street, Whole Foods have certainly made an impact. Many folks have made reviews for them, and it fits well in the newly constructed condo and luxury apartment community and the higher pedestrian traffic. As Washington Ave construction is nearing completion with wider lanes and sidewalks, a bicycle lane and improved safety as vehicle and pedestrian/bicycle traffic often share the same area with vehicles.

Whole Foods

Apples at Whole Foods

A review I wrote a few years ago.

Whole Foods Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Nice Ride Station, right in the neighborhood at Gateway Park.

Gateway Park Nice Ride Station

Nontheless, it doesn’t take much time at all to do these. Try it for yourself, showcase your neighborhood to the world and even enhance your SEO a bit.

Traffic and Construction in Mpls/St Paul

Let Your Summer Work for Your Google My Business

There really isn’t anything better than a Minnesota Summer. You do need to get your Google My Business on, although you might as well let that work to your business advantage by sometimes doing as little as enjoying the summer.

Before anything, get started with Google Photos with a Google Account or Gmail address. Adding to it and organizing is actually the most time-consuming part, but’s easy to do and in the end you’re find it very, very useful.

Now, including these help you enhance your Google Maps to help encourage users. This keeps both you and the user up-to-date by including pretty, summer photos.

http://localmn.tumblr.com/post/162331461296/get-your-google-summer-on-smbsSummertime = construction season as well. You can keep your customers up-to-date with construction, different directions and transit and even approximate time to get there. Here’s a Tumblr Post to show a few visuals.

Common closures right now are 5th St S. and Washington Ave S. in Minneapolis and Jackson Street in St. Paul.

As well, a YouTube Video including a LRT time-lapse to S. Paul and a protest to help out Luciano Mejia Morales and his fight for facing deportation in Minneapolis. For more about him, search online or call ICE at 612-843-8600

Final tip, keep users updated Showing off your Local to Make Your Own Google Posts.

Keep on enhancin’ yer Google My Business so you can enjoy the summer!

LocalMN 301 – Using Your Google Photos on Sites that are NOT Google

Now you should have a good idea how to organize your Google Photos and the basics on how to use Google My Business to submit them to Google Maps.

Now how about using your Google Photos, that you own, and place them on places that even compete with Google?

How about Siri?

Siri uses a lot of business information including photos from Yelp. Your business can sign up to Yelp for free to where you can upload your organized Google photos.

Yelp Photo

Yelp Photo

Of course there’s Apple Maps itself. You can sign in to Apple Maps Connect for free by just using your Apple ID, then add your organized Google photos. Speaking of Apple, many don’t know that Apple Maps is the default when you open your iPhone box. You could be searching Yelp results without even knowing you’re talking to Siri.

The same concept can apply to many other local/social portals including:

  • Bing
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Foursquare
  • Flickr
  • Pinterest

Just like Google, it’s important to add titles, descriptions and (geo)tags to each, individual photo. As well, you can do these either on a desktop or mobile with their apps. Whichever is more convenient for you.

Why would you do this for all of these sites?

Because Google loves these sites.

If you do a branded company search and the businesses have done this, not to mention your own site, the first page will be flooded with your portals. It’s even better for the user. Depending on their wants, they may specifically be looking for your Facebook page, Instagram feed or even Pinterest boards.

In the end, you still have all of your Google photos, organized to your needs or liking. All of this is a time saver, organizer, SEO tool, and user tool all wrapped into one. The time it takes you to do this is valuable, although the outside costs can be as little as nothing.


LocalMN Interactive offers full local search services which includes this, photography of your business and even overall digital marketing. Contact us to learn more.

LocalMN 101 – Google Photos in Maps

By now, you’ve hopefully read and organized your Google Photos, which is the backbone for this. You’re now ready to add your favorite ones to Maps. There’s something very important you need to do first, though. It’s really easy, but it’s a must.

With your Google Account and/or your Gmail address, just create a Google My Business (GMB) account. As stated by Google themselves…

Get your business hours, phone number, and directions on Google Search and Maps — with Google My Business.

This is indeed the #1 things folks look for when searching for your business.

Once you enter your basic info online, check the “by mail” verification method. It usually takes a few businesses days to receive and just keep a lookout for a postcard that looks something like this.

Google Postcard

Open it, verify the 5-6 digit pin provided and you should be good to go, almost immediately. This YouTube video provides perfect basic insights on it all.

For photos, real pics are compelling, and the #1 thing people look for? Directions. Here’s an description example of cross streets to give customers a visual on where a business is.

The NE Bulldog Cross Streets

Before looking at the photo above, did you have a general idea where the NE Bulldog is? And after reading the description, do you now know EXACTLY where the NE Bulldog is?

This is just one example of how you can use your photos and descriptions in each photo to help entice visitors to come to your door.

Tip: Anyone can add photos to your business and most of them are customers, not photographers. This is fine. Showing “real” photos shows people being social and most of the time, that’s what we want. Combine these with the quality photos you take and describe, the photo presence in your Google listing enhances that much more.


At LocalMN Interactive, we specialize in local search and are listed in Google as a Trusted Street View Photographer. Contact us for services and mention this post when you do.

 

LocalMN Google Photos 101

Many people have photo tools they use for their business. Some are for Photos for MacOS users, some are Windows-based. For this series, we’re going to stick to Google Photos. One, it’s really easy to set up and organize, and it’s sharable either one-on-one or to the public.

Getting Started

You should have this anyway, but create a Google Account. If you already have a gmail address, you’re good to go.

The YouTube video below is 20+ minutes. You’re busy doing what you do so I’d recommend chopping away at it here and there.

Or, if you want the short and sexy version.

This covers Google Photos (and videos) as a consumer, or, your customers. The next two posts cover how to upload info you learn to Google Maps and other local and social portals.

According to Wikipedia

Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. It was announced in May 2015 and spun out from Google+, the company’s social network.Google Photos gives users free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution.

Setting this up is like putting together the umbrella. It looks like a lot of work, but everything in the next two post will fall from it.

A few final notes for this post. As mentioned in the YouTube video, Google auto-detects some of these and creates relevant albums for you such as your spouse, home, favorite ski area, etc. I would then recommend creating albums (either with photos or just shells) of photos you think your customers would find interesting.

Google Photo Albums

Example of Google Photo Albums

By now, you may have a visual list of all your albums, editable to you. Create a duplicate of these and place them in the same labeled albums but under their “shared”. At a later date, you can then allow/disallow other folks to edit these.

All three of these posts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding photos and how to use these on your business maps, but it’s a really good starting point. Next, we’ll talk about how to use these photos for Google and other mapping solutions.