Google is said to announce shortly a new initiative to help small businesses to be found online. The initiative is called “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” and Google has generated customized websites for virtually every town and city in the U.S. to enable local businesses to learn to improve the information that shows up on Google search, Google maps and Google+.
Studies have shown that consumers are looking for more than just basic information when searching online or on maps, but also expect to find other information – such as business hours – and photos easily. According to research conducted by Google and research company Ipsos MediaCT, consumers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with more complete listings.
Google’s Soo Young Kim, head of marketing for Google’s “Get Your Business Online Program” (www.gybo.com) commented: “”Small businesses have said that getting online is hard.” Thus in 2011, Google began conducting small business workshops in a number of cities. Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map grew out of that program as a way to reach more small companies. “We’re using sophisticated technology on the back end to make it simple for small businesses to get online and create their listing,” said Kim. “Google has created over 30,000 websites to provide every business in every city a fast, free and easy opportunity to help them get found.”
At a localized Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map website small businesses can:
- Learn how to put more information about their business into Google
- Get their company verified for Google searches
- Add information such as location, hours of operation
- Add photos to enhance the listing
- Get a diagnostic tool to see how they can improve their listing and visibility
- Get a one-year free website and domain name from Google partner StartLogic
- Learn about local training workshops and other resources
Google is also working with local partners, such as Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Chambers of Commerce, SCORE chapters, to conduct training programs to assist small businesses in person. Local organizations serving the small business community can sign up to team with Google to host events and workshops in their area.