What this means for LocalMN Interactive is that we’re no longer eligible to offer these services. We’re an agency. From their Business Provider FAQ page:
The proposed partner must not have access to the business listings they are verifying.
Agencies, SEOs, and resellers are not eligible for this program.
I’m not too surprised with this, given the apparent ease to be accepted. A good couple years ago, to apply I believe you needed to be invited to by a friend to take a somewhat-detailed 10-question test. In some forum, the link got leaked, I jumped on it, answered all 10 questions correctly, and bam! I was a Google Trusted Verifier.
No serious leads ever came from it, and it really seemed to be a program ripe for manipulation.
As of now, I proactively updated that marketing page and took out internal links to it. Eventually, I’ll 301 redirect the page to the closet appropriate one. I’m taking out the Trusted Verified icon for future images to it and replaced it with a Theta camera icon shown here and just partially at the top icon on this post.
If you have any questions, certainly let me know.
LocalMN Interactive provides local search marketing services with a specialization in Google 360 Photography.
Foursquare has long-been and quietly turned into a local data aggregator since 2013 Source – moz.com. More on this below.
Foursquare has been evolving in local search ever since they were a social check-in platform in 2009. I did jump on it right off the bat, although haven’t done much with it since 2017. My first 2 check-ins:
For you privy folks, it’s always been a social connection just like you have connections on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. As a consumer, I’ve always been interested in places my connections visit and always consider these places from that trust.
In fact, in 2015 trusted local Foursquare contributor Ed Kohler mentioned a cool fact about Pizza Nea’s wi-fi access that helped turned me into a fairly regular customer. Their wood-fired pizza alone is delicious and worth the visit. This is just one of many examples as a consumer.
Foursquare has slowly but surely come out as not just a social connection, but a beyond-solid local data aggregator along with Infogroup, Localeze, Factual (not sure on the price, it used to be free), and Acxion (retiring local search operations at the end of 2019) source – BrightLocal
In 2018, Acxiom was acquired by publicly-traded advertising company IPG. In order to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which comes into effect on January 1st, 2020, Acxiom will be retiring its directory and local search productsBright Local
Foursquare has been a natural fit for this and I’m sure it’s been their long-term goal. They’ve always had their social game and imagine that they’ve always used this data for their local aggregate data.
Signing up for national aggregate data providers has its pros and cons. A pro is you have the consistent Name, Address, Phone (NAP) information consistently across the web (huge for SEO). A con is you’re more open to unsolicited sales calls from companies who you don’t choose to engage.
In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons. Just watch out for any unsolicited sales calls.
For Foursquare, you will probably find your own business/company/organization when you search and claim yourself. As of now, it will cost you a one-time $20.00 fee to officially claim your business location.
This may also make it easier to acquire the right amount of local citations. A recent Search Engine Land article asks experts whether local citations matter anymore. I’m definitely in the camp where it’s not nearly as important as it was 5 years. Ago. I liken it to inbound linking debates 15 years ago. It’s not the quantity, but the quality. Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, and a company called Factual alone is a really good start (IMO).
My perception is that Foursquare has an upper hand over other local data aggregators when you combine their 10 years of social marketing in the mix. What are your thoughts? And, should we continue to add more social content to Foursquare as users to help with the social aspect?
Google has taken another step to take your local marketing efforts easier and more streamlined this 2019 Summer with their new local marketing kit. This ties in nicely in your Google My Business (GMB) profile.
Create custom posters, social posts, and more from reviews and highlights on your Business Profile on Google. All for free.From the new Google Marketing Kit
In addition, it provides video and promotion options.
This Google-provided video is currently pretty cheesy, yet gives options including easily embedding the YouTube video within your content such as this blog. As of yet, I don’t know if you can customize this.
Another new opportunity is pre-made (social) Google Posts. They also give you the option to share these on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, plus a downloading option for you to share wherever in your content you feel relevant.
The current examples they seem to have are a bit generic, but I see them useful for filler Google Posts. My mind may change tomorrow, although I don’t see these as useful for Facebook and Twitter. I’d rather see updates that tell more of a story. But maybe that’s just me. Example:
If you’re a restaurant, hotel, or any other business prone to potential positive reviews, this is certainly worth filler posts.
At an enterprise level with multiple listings, this opportunity is a must with proper management. For stand alone local businesses, I have a couple reservations.
The best (or worst) part of it is that Google owns all the data. Yep, they still own the local search content you provide. For this, they even own the analytics although they show you an overview in your GMB panel. I only imagine that they use all of this to help calculate your overall authority in the results, and indirectly, your rankings in the local 3-pack.
Google does get info for these based on both content you provide in your own free Google My Business (GMB) profile combined with ratings or your organization.
I was a huge fan of the Small Thanks with Google Site that gave you free posters to showcase the positive things customers say about you, but the site’s now down. There’s no redirect and is now just a broken 404 page. The above-mentioned Google local marketing kit seems to be the replacement along with the other opportunities.
Google has a pretty strict policy regarding obtaining user reviews, and a lot of fantastic articles have been written regarding this. In a nutshell, soliciting positive reviews is bad. Reminding people they can leave honest reviews is good. Google is now showcasing the latter with new window decals.
Have you or your company/organization used the Google Local Marketing kit yet? We’d love to hear your experiences!
Original post is on Streets.mn.
So, it’s time for a Streets walk again and this time I’m in Rochester walking with my niece, Danielle as we went through a couple Rochester Destination Medical Center (DMC) sub-districts. Very short story – it’s where I grew up, studied piano, worked at a Shopko, rented in a 4-plex with a buddy, trekked the pedestrian subways, and fell in love with the (then) RCC music department.
Downtown Rochester changes so much every time I visit. I wasn’t sure where to go so I sent out a Tweet, and Michael Wojcik was kind enough to reply. Discovery walk routes it is!
The discovery walk. There are 6 downtown development sub-districts determined by the DMC made to build public infrastructure, including improving pedestrian safety. I chuckle as I type. Friends and family who live there consider that the whole city is now being taken over by them and the Mayo Clinic. Are these actual city districts, DMC determined districts for their organizational and PR purposes, or somewhere in between? I’ll leave that to the comments for those who are more familiar with this than I.
Heart of the City
We talked photography a bit during this part of the walk and Danielle mentioned a couple alleys around Historic 3rd Street that works well for urban backgrounds. That, and places like the bronze and wooden doors at the Plummer building make compelling places for photographers, visitors, and locals alike. Side note, the carillon bells restoration project is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, 2019.
The determined Heart of the City area is centered around Peace Plaza, including the Chateau Theatre. Over the years the Chateau’s been everything from a movie theater, to a Barnes & Noble, and now an empty theater with a selective DMC-worded plan. Albeit likely delayed by the city council, it looks like this may open up as a slightly higher capacity venue as early as mid-2019. Word in the fam is before my time there was a really nice theater organ inside. Of course, I digress.
I was also hoping to see zebra stripes in the Heart of the City as traffic gets backed up often. Crossings are indeed clearly marked, just not zebra striped.
Creative Crosswalk Painting
The city of Rochester does accept neighborhood permit applications for creative crosswalk painting. A similar example came to the Minneapolis Loring Park area in a joint effort to help celebrate the 2018 Twin Cities Pride Festival in addition to implying drivers know that pedestrians cross right here.
What I don’t know is if these applications are limited to city neighborhoods or open to the DMC determined 6 downtown sub-districts. Definitely comment if you have insights.
As well, kudos to the Rochester Public Works for their help in showcasing pedestrian rights to vehicular traffic! (Note – the torn-down building is the Days Inn to be replaced)
Rochester Nice Ride
I do really believe that the 2016 Nice Ride pilot in Rochester was implemented just to fail from the start, either from opposing councilmembers or more vocal NIMBYs. Originally, there were just two Nice Ride stations. One at the People’s Food Co-op (PFC) and the other at Peace Plaza mentioned above just a few blocks away. For transportation, does anyone ride for just a few blocks? The pilot did had some kind of option to rent for 24 hours to get home and back to a station, but it didn’t really stick. The revised version can only help, especially if more bike lanes and the planned DMC public infrastructure build takes effect.
Now there are 6 revised Nice Ride stations. A quote from the above KAAL article:
The goal is to get people thinking about different ways of getting around town, especially when there is heavy traffic and parking space shortages downtown.
Although closed for the Winter, here’s a Nice Ride station by Peace Plaza.
The DMC determined Central Station deserves a mention. For years, and still is to a point, a somewhat nested area in the north end of downtown. Within it, the Jacobson building now fills a square block hole in the ground deemed for this development the last year or 2.
It also includes the future home of a DMC proposed Hyatt House. They’re going to bulldoze and replace the American Legion which has been here for as long as I can remember. From written sources anyway, the move seems welcome, or amicable, and it’s definitely close to the Mayo Clinic. Although, I don’t know the deets behind it.
We didn’t get to the determined sub-districts like the Downtown Waterfront which could probably be an article in itself. It’s always been one of my favorite areas of town. Nonetheless, 13 months after my last visit, it’s just amazing to see how much downtown has changed (again) in that short amount of time.
With true affordable housing, their planned sustainability practices, and pedestrian safety efforts, they could set a bar for other cities to follow.
Other photos were taken, and here’s a shared Google Photo Album. Of course, let us know your thoughts in the comments!
2018 may be the most opportunistic year ever for local search. With Google leading the way and users and vertical markets working aside or within Google, the user experience promises the possibility to be both high in quantity and quality.
I’m putting Voice Search in right away because it involves probably everything below, local or not. This is changing search fast and companies are busy figuring out how to capture the market.
Here’s a real-time example. I would like to see Soul Asylum play tonight at the First Avenue, mostly because a neighbor or mine won an audition an earned a spot to play bass for them tonight. Yes. Really! I don’t want to miss that! A voice search gave me the Google My Business profile. It has the hours correct tonight as it does close publicly at 7:30 in time for the sold-out 8:00 show. When you tap on Directions, you will get an Uber and Lyft option which will be convenient when the temp is supposed to be below 0.
Score “1” for Voice Search. Just one of many ways this changes all types of search, in this case Local just a bit.
Google My Business (GMB)
In 2017, Google was keeping busy pushing to Claim businesses in Google My Business, and then features within like Google Posts, Local Services Ads and Websites.
In 2018 Google will focus more on continuous new features in Google My Business and push both new and current features. Following these alone can keep professionals pretty busy.
Google Posts grows in 2018, but grows slowly. It was released in June, 2017 to be shown in branded searches and quietly used by few. They can be very informative for end-users and cover more valuable search result space for the branded company name. The Posts provide interest to click and learn more about events, newsletters, new offerings or any other thing relevant to the company. However, Search professionals have been weary of this all. Google owns the content provided and doesn’t pass any direct SEO Love to links that pass through.
Local Services Ads
In a simpler word, Ad. Google pushes this hard in 2018. This is how Google makes money. Originally Home Services Ads, they rebranded it to include and imply Local. Companies won’t be looking at it based on their favorite keywords, but by the quality of leads. Local Service Ads do have a prominent, thin listing up top on both desktop and mobile. Google’s currently pushing it hard enough that even companies that don’t have the “Google Guaranteed” badge sometime appear, most likely because not every industry has enough participants yet. Right now, there are a very limited number of industries this is offered to. Look for this to expand, and expand greatly to cover industries like legal, landscaping and other industries to where people compare companies.
Currently, all three of these companies are probably busy right now with the arctic chill Minnesota is having. Plus, maybe Google is banking on being listed next to Google Guaranteed listings will have some automatic trust.
They’re nice, they’re free (unless you get a customized domain – recommended), it’s almost built for you in GMB. They also show maps, custom photos, fill-in-the-blank hours of operation. With that said, don’t look for this go grow in 2018. At least, not in the U.S. This is certainly meant to help Google, and that’s fine. In my view, they can have the data. Google Websites are probably best for businesses who are just looking for a 1-page brochure about their business.
Google will either develop or buy a company who can provide real-time transit in 2018. Both Uber and Lyft obviously have this, and Metro Transit MN just came out with this feature on a mobile app or their website as well. I’ll bring up the arctic chill again. When a bus is late, this feature makes it handy by not having to stand outside quite as long when it’s really cold. The concept fits in perfectly for usability, placing inside the Directions and Bus tab in Google Maps.
Local Guides Grows and Grows
2018 promises to be a big year for Google Local Guides. For Google, they get data. The Local Guides at Connect are passionate and happily contribute photos, reviews and knowledge to Google and GMB. Just look at the 2017 World-Wide Food Crawl Meet-Up. Main incentives for Local Guides aren’t rankings-based. Rather it’s points and levels obtained-based, sometimes meaning perks provided by Google. The other incentives are really satisfaction-based to bring positive awareness to make local communities better. Google knows and appreciates this all, and they even provide a yearly Local Guides Summit.
Ratings and Reviews
Google cleverly builds on reviews in 2018 while Yelp confuses people. While Yelp is telling us to absolutely not solicit reviews but go ahead, Google just goes on and removes paid reviews. And now, it’s also against Google’s guidelines for ex-employees to leave negative reviews. With that said, Google highly encourages honest reviews. Albeit often indirectly, they highly encourage them. Here’s one way they do this and also reach your customers online and in person.
Local Guides now get extra points if their Google reviews are 200 characters or more. Perhaps this increases the level of quality and reduces the number of 5-Star ratings with no reviews below it for the purpose of gaining points only.
Reputation management companies have been around for years to encourage reviews and consulting when negative reviews happen, just to mention a couple services. There are good companies who offer this and have become trusted because of it. Some companies like Get Five Stars go further by developing more of a comprehensive platform. It’s built to acquire customer feedback, encourage online reviews and other features mentioned above. I see services like these all growing in 2018, albeit mostly with companies who already have a head start. It’s a growing and demanding opportunity, but also a comprehensive one.
Local Videos and 360 Photos
DIY or Pay Professionals?
2017 may have been the year of making more videos. 2018 will be the year of making more videos, smarter.
DIY video can certainly be done on the cheap. Have a smartphone, tripod or monopod, lapel mic, iMovie app, and you can make an adequate one… or not. Companies may start with going the DIY route because it is rather inexpensive. Many of them afterwards will go towards independent companies, or agencies who specialize in videos.
2018 will be a really good opportunity for independent videographers. They know everything about video strategy and creation, as well as being search savvy. Some are confident enough to provide you free tips as well. Here’s Erica from Puke Rainbows on 2018 Video Marketing Trends to watch for.
360 Degree and Street View Photography
Street View photography will certainly grow in both supply and demand in 2018. Per Google Street View:
Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest.
To become a Google Trusted photographer for this is a trial and error process. There are a number out there, coming from backgrounds from photography to marketing. Right now 360 photos for businesses are somewhere between the “this is really cool” stage and “this is really useful for our customers” stage.
Only time will tell how accurate my predictions will be. I suppose another post will come at the end of 2018 to see. What do you think? Am I spot on for these or am I out of my tree?
LocalMN Interactive provides Local Marketing services and we are beyond excited and very confident to see what comes in store for 2018. Let’s get together! We look forward to customize a local search strategy customized just for you. Skol!
The Twin Cities, some people call it, as well as “The Cities” to Minnesotans out of the metro area. Mill City, City of Lakes in Minneapolis, and Hockeytown in St. Paul are others. Each nickname holds its own merit, we’ll visit some of these in this piece as well as numerous other places to enjoy during your stay in Minneapolis/St. Paul. There are just so many local places to see with a story to tell and many of them are free or low cost.
You’ll most likely fly into the MSP International Airport. Fly into Terminal 2. Sun Country, our “hometown” airline flies in and out of there, and it’s a much smaller terminal so the lines are shorter resulting in less time spent at the airport.
There are different options for leaving the airport including shuttles, car rentals, car-sharing companies like Uber or Lyft, buses that leave Terminal 1 or a favorite, Light Rail Transit (LRT). For convenience, the Light Rail is free of charge between the 2 terminals and they run as often as every 10 minutes.
The Light Rail is also the easiest option to get to both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, although there’s no direct line to St. Paul and it will take longer. As in 90 minutes. Then, it’s all the better as you can often connect to wi-fi signals while riding. Either way, you can take the Blue Line all the way to Downtown Minneapolis or switch trains at the U.S. Bank Stadium station to catch the Green Line into St. Paul.
Mill City District
In Minneapolis, Mill City is an unofficial district nestled against the Mississippi River. While there, consider taking in your favorite ice cream treat at the local Izzy’s and a walk up or down West River Parkway. The lights are pretty, the people are engaging and the bridges are a work of art.
The Parkway area is an urban planner’s dream. A street with a slow speed limit, separate walking plus biking paths, public art and precise landscaping make this both beautiful and functional. When walking around this neighborhood, it’s hard not to say hello, engage in short conversation or wave. It’s a Minnesota thing to do. And of course my new friend wanted to give me a smile and peace sign.
You’ll find captivating streets throughout the whole Twin Cities area, perhaps none more present than one you can’t drive on. “The Nicollet” up until November 2017 was called Nicollet Mall. After a 3-year reconstruction project and rebranding exercise, the city changed the name. It’s beautiful, modern and worth the walk up and down to have food and drink, shop, or see areas of interest.
Toward the South end of The Nicollet lies The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. The Dakota has been a really well-known and respected fine dining and jazz club since 1985. It’s somewhat of a secret to even locals, but Prince used to sneak in a back door and move around at his own free will and just enjoy the music on stage.
Take a selfie with the Mary Tyler Moore statue on 7th and Nicollet. Yep, even the locals do it. It’s back at its prime location.
A must is to head off The Nicollet a couple blocks to First Avenue and see Prince’s star. He’s a local hero, put Minneapolis on the map musically, and the set and settings of the movie Purple Rain was at this venue. It’s humbling to look at his star and just think. Think as if nothing around matters. Just think.
A 360 view of the venue:
A true, local and engaging neighborhood is the Northeast (Nordeast) Minneapolis Arts District. You can find all you need right on or off 13th Ave NE. Pick your place:
- Dangerous Man Brewing Company – A craft brewery in a customary neighborhood is a total Minnesotan thing to have. Their story is compelling and their beards are out to get you.
- Northeast Social – Continental cuisine and exceptional mixologists. Tip: Have the mixologist create something with dill aquavit. It’s a Scandinavian and Minnesotan treat and your palate will leave happy. Last July, I couldn’t help but head to Twitter to mention a delicious scallops appetizer.
- 331 Club – Divey, vintage club with live music 7 days a week. Favorite Google Review quote: “To our amazement, it was the best nerd party we had ever seen and had to quickly join.”
- Bunny’s Bar & Grill NE – Nestled by the Mississippi River, it’s a newer sports bar. Tip: The Walleye Fingers is a total Minnesotan thing to try. While you’re there, take a few steps to Sheridan Memorial park, take a selfie by the metal orb and share for social proof. The park itself is on a trail with great neighborhood views of the Mississippi.
- Gumball Boutique – A hidden gem, Gumball is a cozy consignment shop with locally-made everything.
Cathedral Hill, St. Paul
Across the river sits St. Paul, a trip worthy all in its own. After all, it is called the most livable city in America. If you go to the Cathedral Hill neighborhood and take a James.J. Hill House tour, you’ll know more area history than many locals. The family were railroad pioneers, or “empire builders”, responsible for the majority of railroad that went out to the West coast. A couple fun facts are that the Hill family were very similar to the Rockefellers with one exception. The Hill family didn’t put their name on stuff. The second? The house is built on the top of Cathedral Hill. Guests would enter in the front, and leave in the back which is twice as large looking down the hill to leave guests with one, lasting, prestigious memory.
While on the hill, walk down Summit Ave. You’ll pass the Governor’s mansion as well as hundreds of other homes that are considered Victorian mansions. You’ll see regular folks working on their lawn or shoveling their driveway in the winter. Give ‘em a friendly wave and they’ll always wave back. It’s just a Minnesota thing to do. We joke about being called “Minnesota Nice”, but it’s true. We are.
People here are born with skates on, and of course there is the Wild. In addition to professional hockey games, they do have organized scrimmages for adults. There’s not much better of a feeling than playing hockey on that big sheet of ice, albeit in front of about 12 fans making up of spouses and children.
Now, think hockey meets obstacle course meets skiing and you have Crashed Ice. They have a professional course every year that starts on Cathedral Hill and ends down the hill towards downtown. Literally the best in the world qualify to compete in this event with over 100,000 celebrated fans in attendance lining the course. It’s exciting, thrilling and admittedly impossible to get home as everyone leaves at once.
Here’s what it looked like a week before the event after a rainfall. Yep, the temp did drop in time.
And during the event.
Around the Capital City
- Go to St. Thomas and catch a Div. III football game at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in the perfect environment and cheer amongst the most loyal of fans.
- Catch a Juicy Lucy at The Nook. Everything about this place is Minnesotan, including the burger with cheese oozing out from the inside.
- The Minnesota State Fair. Technically, Falcon Heights. It only happens once a year, but if you’re here during that time, just go. Go and naturally create your own wonderful story to tell. My favorite treat? Snowii Shaved Ice. It’s Minnesota-based, and it’s sweaty-hot in August.
Getting Around the TC
Take a Nice Ride bicycle. The Twin Cities is one of the most friendly bicycle cities in the U.S. Take a bike for an hour or a day at one of over 200 local stations. Here’s a station full of bikes on St. Anthony Main.
On your way back to the airport, hop off the Bloomington Central Light Rail stationand take the walkway to Urbana Craeft Kitchen and Market, inside the Hyatt Regency. Ask for Nick the Bartender and have him serve you up a locally-sourced bison burger, house-made chips and a local, craft beer.
That’s a perfect end, and you’ll now leave happy. Wave as you leave and thanks from the Twin Cities for sharing your experience with us!
Two months ago, I wrote about Google Maps in Elliot Park. It was a #mspwalk and then blog post inspired by a coffee chat I had with Dan Collison, Director of so-many-things Minneapolis at Moose & Sadie’s. He mentioned and implied how Downtown East and Elliot Park (East Town) was growing and he’s right, more than I could have imagined! It’s really positioned well for it.
On the west edge of Elliot Park and East Town, Kraus-Anderson (KA) is in the middle of re-developing an urban city block which features their new HQ that opened in October, luxury high-rise apartment, a Marriott, Finnegan’s new digs among others.
What’s interesting isn’t that they’re building a square block, but where they’re building it. It’s technically in Elliot Park which was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Minneapolis 150 years ago. Now, it’s starting to become gentrified to bring back some of the old charm and prestige to the combination of Elliot Park brownstones to the modern Minneapolis skyline view. It’s a block away from the skyway system, and quick walks to both the Downtown West neighborhood and East Town, home of U.S. Bank Stadium.
So far, the Kraus-Anderson block has their headquarters, Finnegans, HQ Apartments, and the Elliot Hotel, a Marriott upscale Autograph Collection either completed or under construction. All of these should benefit from quality Google Maps information including their respective, fully-populated Google My Business (GMB) pages.
The Google Maps cars should be kept fairly busy in the near future as well as opportunities for Certified Google Trusted Street-View photographers to help fulfill Google My Business pages with quality photos.
With products like Google Home and Google Assistant, the use of voice search is continuing to rise, and rise quickly. To the left is a voice search for the new HQ Apartments on the block.
You then have the options to tap the bottom options or anywhere up top which takes you to their respective Google My Business page. There, you have more of the same options plus the ability to see all photos, ratings and reviews and anything else that HQ or the public decides to populate in the HQ Apartments GMB page.
The mixed-used block is something that can at least help bring vibrant and tech-savvy consumers to the area. In addition to KA headquarters, here’s a bit about the mixed-use block and their post regarding the block’s components.
*The KA headquarters is the first completed component of the master-planned, mixed use block development in the vibrant Elliot Park neighborhood of East Town Minneapolis.
*Source – KA Block Update: November-December 2017
US Bank Stadium is arguably the anchor of the East Town neighborhood with businesses, organizations and areas of interest being built or already present around it. The area’s easy to get to by car, bus, pedestrian and bike, but is probably easiest via the Light Rail as the US Bank Stadium station holds both the Blue and Green Line trains.
In addition, nearby blocks are often vibrant as local destinations. Here are a few GMB pages full of ratings and reviews, photos, directions and other items that uniquely fit in them.
Note – Three of the above are in the Downtown West neighborhood. Between this and the Kraus-Anderson block being short and easy access to both I94 and I35, their block could be in a perfect location and local destination. This development of urban city blocks in Minneapolis isn’t the first, but it’s certainly not the last, either.
Initially called Home Service Ads in the Summer of 2015 to select-only metro areas, Google now re-branded it to Local Service Ads. For locals who do not know, Local Service Ads are designed to provide quality leads at pre-set prices and at the top of search results without you having to do the legwork. It’s still relatively new, so time will tell the value in them. Currently, these are the services.
- Garage Door Pro
This will be available to Minneapolis and St. Paul by years end, and just as of yesterday, a partial one for locksmiths showed up.
Side note, locksmiths have been known to use shady techniques to achieve local placements like providing fake addresses, spammy business names, and blatant review spam. This happens in Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as nationwide and can make it more difficult for legitimate local businesses to claim these top listings.
An edge for you is Google helps ensure company legitimacy when setting up local services ads. 1, the service costs money and 2, you have to be willing to provide insurance and let Google run a business background check on you.
Similar to directory leads, inclusion includes directory placement in a particular niche, location or category. Some can be found in search results, too.
Different than directory leads, Google in general lets you provide more superior information in front of searchers. Just part of information you’ll be able to provide, partially taken from Google My Business. From the mobile:
You can also build trust with the Google check marked guarantee while also being at the top of their search results.
If you know you’re good at closing leads, this could be really beneficial, and really measurable. If you close half of your quality leads, you can assign that incoming call a value to your leads in Google Analytics, making you more confident when providing your reports. In closing half of your leads, you would approximately close 5 out of 10 leads at $140.00, or $28.00/lead.
There does seem to be a positive sliding type scale, costing you a little less per lead the more money you spend. When I checked, it costs $50.oo for anywhere between 2 and 10 leads. Yesterday in the Minneapolis area, locksmiths were 10 leads for the $50.00.
Whether this is good for you is your call and budget. A plus is that Google does the work. A minus is Google does the work. As the service program becomes more used, the more information and specific examples we can give you as we’ll have all the latest info.
LocalMN Interactive provides Local Services Ads consulting in addition to our search marketing services, or as a service alone. Contact us through form, email or your preferred social media portal to chat and we can collectively get things started.
LocalMN Interactive Marketing
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Minneapolis, MN 55401