Last week I found this decal on a store front while in San Francisco. After searching the web to learn about the program, I learned Google is focusing more and more on local business and location-based search as a new revenue stream, and improving how companies advertise their businesses.
Google launched a pilot program where they sent out 100,000 of these window decals to the most popular local businesses listed on their web site. The stickers contain a QR code (short for "Quick Response") so passersby can snap a quick photo of the code and visit the Google Local listing for that company. There they can find business information and aggregated reviews.
This helps people learn more about the businesses they walk by every day. They might find a copy shop or a café, and be able to see what others think about the place before they buy. Or, they could save information about a location for later, or share with a friend, by sharing the local search link that comes up in their phone's browser.
Google Local result for QR code.
What does this mean for small businesses? It means people will be looking up your company more and more on their phones. Here are two excellent ways to ensure they get the best information they can about you:
- Sign up for and update your Google Local Business Center listings to add custom information to your local search listings, including local coupons. Use this also to analyze who is searching for your business and where they are located, to aid in your marketing efforts.
- Make sure your web site is mobile-optimized. The best way to do this is to have your web development firm build a mobile stylesheet for your web site. With a mobile stylesheet, people visiting your site via their phone's browser will see all of the text and images optimized for the small browser. Mobile web sites are specifically designed to present relevant, location- and time-sensitive information to people seeking you via their phones.
If you would like KeyLimeTie to optimize your web presence for mobile, or if you have questions about Google's Local Business Center, give me a call or reach out to @KeyLimeTie on Twitter. We'll be happy to help.
Mike Maddaloni - @thehotiron
Google realizes "all search is local" and is wise to make a move in this area, and businesses must tap into this.
I get quite a bit of traffic to my site with local keywords, like city, state and zip code plus services people are looking for. A Google Local listing is a must-have for a business today.
I received one of these decals, but don't have a window to put it on! It was also interesting they chose QR codes, which I also believe will propel them more into the forefront.
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