Google Places Scam

September 10, 2012 · Filed Under dLook Blog, Online Advertising Australia · 1 Comment 

Google Places is Free. Don’t be caught unaware, ensure you know what you are paying for.

Last month dLook announced to its registered users that the Australian market is being inundated with scam calls, particularly targeting the elderly and small business. (Log into dLook dashboard for more).

A major online scam currently doing the rounds of small business relates to the Google page one guarantee using Google Places (Google+).

This article details more information on:

  • Google page 1 guarantee
  • Google Places is free
  • Claim your listing
  • If you need help

Google Page 1 Guarantee

There is only one way to guarantee page 1 of Google and that’s by paying Google.

Page 1 is only guaranteed when you use Google AdWords and by allocating enough budget for a pay per click model.

There is NO guarantee for any other method – we are all subject to Google’s ever changing search algorithm.

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.”

Posted on the Google Webmasters Forum, last updated March 15, 2012.

Using Google Search

When you enter a search query into Google, the search engine results page (SERP) contains a number of key sections.

Google Search Engine Results Page

  • The sponsored ads or the paid advertising using Google AdWords
  • The “map listings” often displayed at the top of the page known as  Google Places (recently merged with Google +)
  • The “free search” or organic search that are deemed the most relevant by Google

Google Places Small Business Scam

For many months Australian businesses have been targeted by numerous overseas scammers offering the Google page 1 guarantee.

The core offer is that by paying hundreds of dollars your business can feature in Google Places, highlighted on the Google map. Worse, some “scammers” then charge a monthly optimisation fee to keep you there.

 

Google Places is Free

 

Google Places is free.

Google provide a free online places search which is available to all businesses who wish to appear in Google Places.

In fact only you can claim the Google Places listing and it must be verified by a postcard sent to your nominated address.

Set Up Your Google Places Listing

Claim your Google Places page today by setting up a Google account and creating your business profile.

What You Need

First you need to create an account via the Google sign up process.

Once logged in visit Google Places and claim your listing.

Most of the information is straight forward; company name, address, phone, email, website, trading hours, a short 200 character description. Also you need to classify your business by entering related categories that best describe your business. Uploading images and videos are also helpful.

Obviously the more you complete your profile the better it will perform.

The expected time frame for setup is around 2 hours.

On completion Google will guide you through the verification process sending a postcard to your registered address. Once received and entered, your listing is activated.

Need Help?

Maybe you don’t have the time, or the skills to create your own listing? Or you are trying to and have run into a stumbling block.

There are numerous videos on YouTube, forums, blogs and free advice on how to compete your profile. Try searching YouTube, or read the help sections in Google Places.

Of course, if you’d prefer to outsource it and use someone else then shop around. For dLook customers email us and we can assist with content, video creation and keyword suggestions.

Changing Habits of Google Search

June 3, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog, Online Advertising Australia · 1 Comment 
Article by Mande Crnjak, dLook Account Manager – Like dLook on Facebook

How do you use a search engine? What are the words you type to find your page match? This article explores the world of Google search.

Google search. Searches in Google. Google Searching.

Everybody searches differently, especially when looking for a particular product or service.

The question is … are you searching your capital city? Your local area? Your local suburb?

All too often advertisers want to promote themselves as “Plumber Sydney” or “Painter Melbourne” when their real service area is just the Hills district or Mornington Peninsula.

When business owners are looking to promote themselves, they see the Internet as the opportunity to immediately tap unforeseen markets, hitherto unavailable customers – one’s who are just waiting to come across a Plumber in Penrith who will travel 45 minutes to service their emergency repairs in North Sydney.

As a business owner talking with your SEO company, web designer or online directory provider what are you asking them to optimise your page around. What are the keywords that you are trying to be found for and in what geographic area?

Keyword Searches and Suggestions

With the development of Google Places, the Google map and Google Instant (suggested search phrases as you’re typing), a search query is often being generated while you type and predictive results popping up to direct your thinking.
So while you are looking for a specific business or a particular product / service, you’re search words are being made up for you.

Are Google’s words really what you’re looking for?

For example, assume you are in a suburb in South Sydney and are looking for a carpet cleaner.

You go into Google, start typing in “Carpet Cle”… and before you even finish typing the rest of the word, Google has given you the options, “carpet cleaning, carpet cleaning Sydney, carpet cleaning Newcastle, carpet cleaning Wollongong, carpet cleaners, carpet cleaners warehouse”.

So you then click “Carpet Cleaning Sydney” as this seems the most relevant. But the results don’t meet your needs as “Carpet Cleaning Sydney” generates search page listings that are located on the North Shore, Western Suburbs or the Sydney CBD.

Are you going to choose one of these businesses? Or are you going to refine your search? So how often are we refining our search terms?

When searching for businesses which provide us with our desired product or service, we are all refining our searches because:

  • We want to support our local community
  • Our local suppliers often provide a quicker and more reliable service
  • It’s easier to return the product or call back someone regarding the service if it wasn’t quite right
  • We don’t have to pay travel costs like tolls, fuel, or be inconvenienced by the time to travel.
    Extra delivery costs – additional postage & handling fees particularly when buying from online stores

You may be here in front of me, but how do I find you?

Depending on the type of product or service you are looking for, once you’ve done a local search to find a business do you make the call? Would you go in store to see their range of products for yourself?

So how, as a business owner, do you know if your customer has found you online via your website, your directory listing or social pages? How do you measure the success of your online brand?

Are we searching cities at all?

If you live or work in the city, you are most likely searching that city.

But let’s say you are searching for a restaurant. Are you searching “Melbourne”? Or would you type in “Melbourne City”? Or “Sydney CBD”?

Or would you even go as far as typing in “Italian Restaurant Lygon Street”? Or in Sydney “Thai Restaurant Oxford Street”?

These are the types of keywords people do use to search … so why aren’t business trying to optimize their pages, whether they’re websites, directory listings, advertising campaigns, around these words?

From the North to the South to the East to the West

When looking for a plumber I don’t need to know that it takes 45 minutes to get here – I want you down the road. Well I want you in my house asap and fixing my leak, my burst water pipe or whatever emergency has beset me.

If I’m booking you over the phone following a web search and then you explain that it won’t take long, but I will have to charge you for tolls … hey, give me a local plumber anytime. I don’t want the extra costs or the extra inconvenience.

More and more people are understanding how to use search engines and how to generate the results that suit their needs. It is becoming more specific in keywords and more local in geography.

CompassIf people live in the service area then they know how to search it … whether that’s the Hills district, north shore, Southeast Melbourne or the Valley these terms and specific suburbs are showing up with increasing regularity in search engines.

The development of cities which are now moving out in every direction, North, South, East and West, has not only urbanized search terms in relation to these areas, but also keyword searches like “Sydney metro” or “Adelaide Hills”. Are you using these types of keywords to gain customers from these areas?

If you own a business and are advertising online, whether it’s your own website, a directory listing or an online advertising campaign, consider where you want to service and the suburbs and areas that surround it and use these linked phrases and suburbs / areas as your primary search terms to get the best clicks for your buck.