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Support Local Businesses with Google Maps

Google Map Review

Do you like supporting local businesses? Most people do. We should all take pride in the unique things that make our neighborhoods home. But did you know that you can use Google Maps to support them?

No more yellow pages

I keep trying to convince my wife that we can throw out the paper phone books. With Google Maps and its awesome local results, yellow pages are simply obsolete.

Why should I dig out a huge book and thumb through the pages looking for the crazy category that somebody decided to stick the business in? I can just type a keyword and zip code in Google (like “cafe 22407″) and find exactly what I want.

As one search industry expert wrote,

My gut feeling is that the Google Trends graph for searches for “yellow pages” is likely representative of a broad behavioral pattern of Internet users who are going to traditional Yellow Pages sites less and less. If we project the pattern out in time, we can see that searches for “yellow pages” might reduce down to nil by as soon as 2011

What are local businesses to do?

Get on Google Maps

Does your local coffee shop have a Google local listing? If not, encourage them to get with the program. The owners can add the listing, or you can even add it for them.

Now when people search for that business type in your area, they’ll find the mom & pop places. But there’s still more to do!

Review businesses!

We can all influence what businesses people use. That’s what the reviews are all about. When a Google local listing has reviews, the listing gets a little “X reviews” link next to it. Searchers can check out the reviews to see which business will best meet their needs.

I’m not saying that your review of a sandwich place will make their business soar. But if everything else is equal, a review will definitely tip the balance. And if several people review the business, that could really mean positive results.

Of course, the same applies to businesses that suck. Just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s good. I’m a capitalist at heart. If the local print shop ruined your letterhead order, post a constructive and frank review in the Google listings. Don’t be rude, but provide your thoughts. The business can then hopefully learn from its mistakes.

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7 Responses to “Support Local Businesses with Google Maps”

  1. Ryan
    May 9th, 2008

    Hey Andrew

    I love Google maps and cant wait to be able to add businesses or create mashups etc but I live in South Africa and Google maps sucks here. There is not much detail except within major city centres and that is only a small part.

    I have emailed Google on this and they replied saying that it will happen but when is unknown.

    So until then…

  2. Eric S. Mueller
    May 9th, 2008

    I haven’t used the yellow pages in years. When they show up on my walk, my wife puts them right in the recycle bin. We’ve been using Google to find local phone numbers for years.

  3. Andrew Flusche
    May 10th, 2008

    @Ryan – I’m sorry for my typical American short-sightedness. I forget that not all services work the same around the globe. We’ll all hope that you get better Google Maps features soon!

    @Eric – Recycling bins. That’s what we need!

  4. JBourne
    May 13th, 2008

    You can also help the business out by linking to reviews of it on other sites. Last I checked, Google let you add links involving to the maps listing. Helps a lot because positive reviews from popular and reputable sources are better than the from the average joe.

  5. [...] From Legal Andrew [...]

  6. shobbs
    May 27th, 2008

    FYI, last year U.S. consumers used the printed YP 13.4 billion times, small businesses still rely on them for ready to buy customers (it has a great ROI). And much of the content you find on a Google search for local businesses is provided by online YP publishers (SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com, etc.) so you may be using the YP without knowing it. Full disclosure, I’m the VP of Communications at the Yellow Pages Association.

  7. Andrew Flusche
    May 27th, 2008

    @shobbs – It’s definitely true that the paper yellow pages still get used, but I’m sure you guys have seen a downturn in the industry. My point is that consumers don’t need to pull out a yellow pages book to find small businesses. And businesses have many ways of advertising these days, where the YP might not be the best choice.

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