Google recently announced that they are entertaining the idea of charging for Google My Business listings. It was reported that Google recently created a survey for local businesses in order to gauge their interest on paying for certain features, that up to this point, have always been free. Google has never attempted to charge for this service, but has used it to promote paid adverting in the past.
What is Google My Business?
Not sure what Google My Business is? Google My Business was first launched in June 2014. It’s a free Google service that allows you to list your business profile on Google Maps and search. It has helped businesses reach and interact with local customers across the Google Maps and search platforms, while also allowing Google to provide accurate information to searchers. Since its initial launch in 2014, Google has provided countless updates to the service to improve overall performance and accuracy.
The survey that was available when this announcement was first made asked businesses how much they were willing to pay every month for services that are currently free. According to the survey, Google can charge anywhere from $25-$60/month for businesses to be listed in Google local results. This survey also included different feature options to see what was most appealing to business owners.
“If Google decides to charge for listings, my fear is that some businesses would be scared away and Google would miss out on confirming local business data,” Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said.
The reason Google launched this service in the first place was to ensure they were receiving updated and accurate business information.
At one point, Google relied solely on third-party providers for local business information. However, the data was proving to be consistently out of date or simply incorrect and giving the searcher a poor user experience. By allowing businesses to update their own information, Google could ensure that they were providing the latest data.
So why start charging for this service now? What does this mean for local businesses and advertising agencies that currently assist clients with this service?
Why Would Google Charge for Listings?
The first thing local businesses will need to consider is the additional monetary investment when assessing their marketing budget. If Google did decide to charge for business listings, it would be a strong revenue source, especially since this type of listing has become a requirement for most businesses. However, charging for search results is a fine line to walk and one that may cause issues within Google’s internal ethics and support teams.
“Google sees a business opportunity, one that could help local businesses. However, they will need to be transparent to make sure it’s ethical,” Pitzl said.
Pitzl said that even if Google decides to start charging for this service, it should have no effect on organic traffic.
“It should have no effect on organic listings, but it may hurt agencies who manage Google My Business for their clients,” Pitzl said. “Clients should ask questions to make sure that they know what services they are receiving, both from Google and their agencies,” Pitzl said.
Bing Ads recently announced that they will now be known as Microsoft Advertising. Bing officials reported that the rebranding will reflect a larger focus on ad inventory, data and targeting capabilities through their Microsoft Audience Network.
“These days, marketers have more power than ever to identify and reach customers. With data, AI and automation at your fingertips, it’s no longer just reaching more people that matters to growing your brand. It’s about making each connection feel one-to-one, at just the right time and place. More meaningful, more timely, and more valuable — this is how we see advertising evolving,” Rick van de Kooi, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Advertising, said. “We’re evolving, too. We’re changing our name from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising.”
What Does This Mean for You?
What does this change mean for advertisers? Microsoft Advertising says the transition between names will be a simple one since most of their clients and partners already recognize them as Microsoft. The team at Microsoft Advertising says clients and partners can anticipate new features within the Microsoft Audience Network, a targeting option that was launched last year. The Microsoft Audience Network uses AI, rich audience intent, and profile understanding to help marketers reach consumers in brand-safe environments.
“We have deployed product enhancements, including viewable impressions, image upload and management tool updates to make managing images even easier. And second, we’re expanding audience campaigns to the UK and Canada later this summer,” Kooi said.
Addition of Sponsored Products Tool
The rebranding announcement also brings a Sponsored Products option to advertisers. The Sponsored Products tool will allow marketers to increase visibility and drive more traffic to their top performing products within their shopping campaigns. Kooi reports that this new capability will help align marketing efforts between retailers and manufacturers, which will ultimately result in a stronger connection with shoppers. Sponsored Products is currently only available in beta in the U.S.
“We believe in empowering every marketer on the planet to achieve more, and our success is realized in what our partners accomplish. The Bing Ads name change to Microsoft Advertising is a reinforcement of this commitment,” Kooi said.
Have you heard the good news? On October 17, it was announced that not only will Flywheel be moving into the historic Ashton building in north downtown Omaha, but a $300 million neighborhood redevelopment is officially in the works. The Intertwine Interactive team could not be more excited about our new neighbors and the development of the new Millwork Commons. The new neighborhood’s name pays homage to the trades and businesses from a previous era of Omaha’s rich history. The Intertwine team has called the Mastercraft Building, the Ashton’s historic neighbor to the north, home for the last seven years. The Mastercraft Building will be included within the new Millwork Commons neighborhood. Our team has loved working in this area of town and we look forward to watching the Mastercraft Building flourish alongside the Ashton as the area continues to grow.
Everyone who attended the big event had a chance to view all of the plans and projected layouts for the Ashton building and surrounding area. During the big announcement that drew hundreds of people, Mayor Jean Stothert praised the investment. Stothert said breaking ground on the Millwork Commons was a prime example of how growth and historic preservation can intersect and benefit not only the city, but also companies who call Omaha home.
Our Intertwine team members, Stephanie Hyland and Kasey Ostronic, attended the Facebook Community Boost Session this morning at KANEKO in downtown Omaha. The well-orchestrated discussion revolved around building brand awareness on Facebook and Instagram networks, how to uncover potential growth opportunities within account metrics, and the importance of creating thumb-stopping ad creative.
In a digital world where attention spans are short and the need for information is immediate, it’s more important than ever that the ad copy and messaging within your marketing efforts doesn’t get lost in your potential customer’s news feed. When on a mobile device, most people have the attention span of a goldfish…and Facebook has the research to prove it. According to data from the Statistic Brain Research Institute, goldfish have an attention span of nine seconds, while the average human attention span has gone down by 33% since the year 2000 to just 8.25 seconds in 2015. Even though it may seem impossible to effectively get your branded message in front of viewers that fast, the good news for marketers is that there are new strategies and ad formats available to create effective, mobile-first content.
When it comes to creating a thumb-stopping ad, you do not necessarily need the most expensive camera equipment to construct a unique ad. Your iPhone, with the help of a variety of free video editing apps, can help you create and deliver one-of-a-kind ads, all without breaking your marketing budget for the month. Having these free tools available allow you to create quality ads while maintaining a consistent brand aesthetic.
This event also explored a variety of business-related courses designed specifically for local entrepreneurs and advertisers so they can efficiently create and promote a brand on a local and national level. The speakers touched on how to make the most out of your current audience and how to expand those targeting efforts further to find even more potential customers. The speaker reviewed the process of choosing effective campaign objectives, how to define your target audience and how to calculate the end result within Facebook’s metrics. The speaker told attendees that it is critical for advertisers to understand the “why” behind a specific campaign rather than rushing to the execution. Without focusing on why you’re running a specific ad and what you’re trying to accomplish, advertisers can potentially miss out on targeting and creative opportunities.
According to the Facebook Community Boost presentation:
- 60% of small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook in Nebraska say Facebook has allowed them to find new customers in other cities, states or countries
- 57% of small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook in Nebraska say Facebook has helped their business increase sales
- 33% of small and medium-sized businesses in Nebraska say Facebook has helped them hire additional employees to work at their business
Attending these types of seminars are key for our team members at Intertwine. These events allow us to not only meet local business owners, but to also become very familiar with the latest industry information, formats and techniques so we can continue to provide in-depth advice and service for our clients and their social campaigns.
When it comes to your website, security is key. Establishing a strong website goes beyond a strong password or firewall within your platform. Even if your website does not house sensitive material, such as credit card information, transitioning your website address to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) will ensure you have taken the right steps to protect your website and those who access it. HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the website.
A very common misconception is that websites that house sensitive information are the only ones that need to implement HTTPS. Google encourages webmasters to adopt HTTPS to provide users with the private online experience they expect when using a website. A HTTP website has the potential to reveal information about a user’s identity and online behavior.
Transitioning your website address to include HTTPS will help eliminate potential intruders. These intruders could include those of a malicious nature or intrusive, but legitimate, companies that inject ads onto your website. These types of attackers will try to tamper with the communication system between your website and a user’s browser. Intruders can exploit these unprotected communication lines and will try to trick users into divulging personal information or installing malware. Some third parties will even try to place advertisements onto websites that can potentially break up the user’s experience and open up security vulnerabilities. Images, cookies, scripts and HTML can all be exploited. These types of attacks can occur anywhere within the network setup. A user’s device, hotspot, Wi-Fi or ISP could all serve as a possible target.
To learn how you can obtain HTTPS for your website, review Google’s best practices to see how you can properly obtain your security certificate. Once you obtain HTTPS, ensure that your pages can be crawled and indexed by Google properly. To do this, be sure your website does not block your HTTPS pages by robots.txt.files. Do not include meta noindex tags in your HTTPS pages. Use Fetch as Google to test that Googlebot can access your pages. Google stated that if you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, they view this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers.