Google announced today that its “Get Your Business Online” (GYBO.com) initiative is expanding to a city-by-city program with the slogan, “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map.” The GYBO.com URL that previously re-directed a user to a statewide message, now redirects users to a version that features the name of the community of the user. And rather than focusing the resources of Get Your Business Online on a wide array of services, the new focus is on the importance of having a completed listing on Google maps.
Upon the first click, the business owner is greeted with Google’s powerful “geolocation” technology as he or she encounters local messaging (30,000 different cities and towns are included in the program).
For example, if a user is in the town of Abbeville, Alabama (the first town in the alphabet of the first state in the alphabet), the message is, “Let’s Put Abbeville on the Map.” Google uses other data to generate local messages like how many local businesses are listed on Google Maps.
How important is this to Google? As we’ve shared before (including a how-to for listing your business on Google), the long tail of local businesses represent a major segment of Google’s advertisers (national brands being the other). Seeing threats from Yelp and TripAdvisor.com (and Facebook) for local advertising budgets, Google knows it can’t stand back and watch that marketplace erode.
So it commissioned research that shows the power of filling out the complete business listing (PDF). Findings included:
- Four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses.
- Businesses with complete listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers.
- Consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings.
- Only 37 percent of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine.
“If we want to help every business in the U.S., we need to reach businesses where they are,” said Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online.
Another part of the strategy is to form partnerships with local organizations—like chambers and small business development centers—and equipping them with free trainings and customized city materials to run workshops. “These local partners know the challenges for local businesses more than anyone—and they recognize the value of getting businesses online,” Soo Young Kim said.