Google Local Pack May Be Your Best Online Marketing Asset

Have you noticed how localized Google search results are these days? Search for a plumber and you get listings of businesses nearby. A lot of that information is derived from Google Business listings that are featured in what is known as “local packs.”

A local pack is a list of businesses that provide a product or service in the area that the searcher is locating. There are two major types of local packs:

  • Local Teaser – displays three listings beneath a map. Results have a photo and business name. Clicking on the name takes the user to a map with more businesses and a link to the websites of each of the businesses.
  • Local Pack – the most common. Lists several businesses with their contact details under a map of the area. Information can include the name of the business, address, phone, and reviews star rating.

Google gets the information for all types of local packs from Google business listings. To be featured in a local pack, you first need to claim, verify and complete a Google My Business page for your business.

To get your business featured in local packs:

  • Create and verify your Google business page. Be sure to complete all the fields, select the most accurate category for your business, and include pictures.
  • Make sure your website information matches your Google business listing for name, address, phone and hours. These must be an exact match or Google will consider the information suspect!
  • Know your keywords. Use the words and phrases that people use to search for businesses like you on your business listing and on your website. You don’t need to worry about local modifiers, Google has that covered for you with its location sensing technology. So “lawyer” will give the user listings of lawyers near their location, regardless of whether they include “near me” or a specific location in their search.

15 Great Things to Tweet About

Looking for Twitter content ideas for your digital strategy? Here are 25 ideas to consider. Any of these should be able be used in ways that support your online goals.

Remember that Twitter users expect a stream of content, so plan for more than one post each business day.

  1. Respond to something someone else says about you
  2. Follow relevant hashtags and participate in the conversation by adding your take
  3. Thank a customer, partner, etc for something great they did to support your biz
  4. Recognize a customer or partner for something they do well
  5. Share a photo from the view from your office today
  6. Share your agenda – where are you headed next and why
  7. Ask a question to learn more about what your followers (and the twitterverse) thinks
  8. Share something that made you laugh
  9. Recommend a person or a brand to follow
  10. Celebrate a business or personal milestone
  11. Discuss a book you just read and why it matters
  12. Share insight into one of your products or services
  13. Take inspiration from a current event to illustrate where your business fits in
  14. Share something you just learned
  15. Dig out a photo from the past

Lessons Learned as a New Author

Guest Post by Donald Furrow-Scott
 
At a very early age, music began to affect me quite profoundly. I adored music, loved it actually, to the point I consumed it. AM radio was my most significant source of music in the 1960s, but my older brothers got record players, and then the living room got a big quadraphonic stereo system, seemingly as important as the television in the late ’60s.
My parents and brothers taste in music exposed me to everything from musical show tunes to Simon & Garfunkle to Classical to the Beetles. My older brother Robert played in folk and bluegrass bands as well as school musicals. I remember crowded bearded mandolin players frequently playing in the living room around tape players, and long hours wandering theater backstages during his rehearsals for shows like Auntie Mame. Classical music, however, intrigued me the most.
 
In 6th grade, I tried to learn to play music. I wanted to play the flute, but it was too “feminine” an instrument for a boy. They gave me a saxophone instead, probably because the school band needed another saxophone player more than a flute player.
To my honest shame and puzzling confusion, though, I had no real musical talent. As a very late bloomer, guitar necks and saxophones were too big for my small hands and body. I could play notes, understood chords, but making music did not come as freely, or so easily, as listening to music.
The talent eluded me. I left Band in Jr High, despite boot-camp threats from the Principle that I would have to stay and learn anyways. Ah, no.
 
My classical music and show tune album collection were joined by Walter/Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach. Wow. That began an electronic vibe and connection that is still one of the core musical values of my soul to this day.
Alan Parson’s record Tales of Mystery & Imagination was a gift from one of my brothers to the other, and grass mowing money earned me my copy to wear out. I Robot followed, as did every other album they made ever after. Vangelis’ Pulsar came next, and then Larry Fast’s Synergy albums. I still own the vinyl of all of them, as well as the mp3s now.
 
I grew almost a foot after high school (I said I was a late bloomer!), to the point that teachers did not recognize me a year later. I took up the guitar again, which fit my hands much better now, and employment let me buy Stratocasters, amps and then a Tom Scholz “Rockman” so I did not explode my neighbor’s patience. I padded the closet of my apartment into a sound studio, and reel-to-reels and twinkling equalizers drove my nights and weekends.
 
My music still sucked. My failing talent was not a question of devotion to practice; I played daily for years and took lessons from pros. Every copy song I tried would never surpass “almost” to my listeners. Every original song I tried to write sounded the same. For a decade.
 
Long periods with an acoustic trying pure classical guitar did a little better, but I could never break through some magical, professional-sounding barrier. I added a big Aspen bass, which I enjoyed but lacked the natural rhythm to pull off. Then in an attempt to find a deeper connection with my electronic love I got a synthesizer and discovered I was even worse at keyboards.
 
I sold off and gave away all the equipment at the end of the 1980s, from reel-to-reels to spare strings, and gave up on playing music. My only reminder of that whole long experience is a bamboo flute my brother gave me eons ago, which I play in the vineyard when I’m feeling sentimental, and the vines ask for a song.
 
By this point, you probably believe you misread something and have rechecked the blog title at least twice. Neither of us is mistaken.
 
You see, parallel to my musical journey was my writer’s journey. Reread the above paragraphs. Every time you see the word “music” replace it with the word “writing.” Then; song with story, guitars & basses with fantasy and sci-fi, reel-to-reel with word processors, and keep all the same stupid teenage angst, then long hours of practice and the effort over the decades.
 
After giving up playing music, my purer enjoyment of listening returned. My depression began to subside. By focusing on my writing, while listening to music, my art improved, and
I broke that mysterious elusive “bubble” where the people who were reading my stuff began to compliment me. I wasn’t just “almost” anymore; it was the beginning of talent. It sounded good to them and me. Online cooperative fiction was like being in writer’s garage bands, and my growing ability encountered encouragement, correction, envy, and praise from peers and then older pros. I got a lot of excellent guidance and had to process a lot of tricks, advice and style choices.
 
Ten years of such daily writing practice honed necessary skills to the point I could write for the public and folks enjoyed it. This was my “copy band” phase as a writer. Then came another decade of intense focus, finding my own voice for stories instead of fan-fic based on other author’s fine works. Long hours in the quiet, peaceful vineyard fueled my imagination like endless epiphanies.
 
To crescendo this musical journey metaphor blog about my writing; I’m self-published now. I’m “out there” with my art, and it is advertised to those who seek its various topics. Will I ever be on the radio? Doubtful, but like a lottery ticket, at least there is some tiny chance over the solid “no” that accompanies not trying.
Will I ever attract the attention of a publisher? If my writing is good enough, yes. Will I ever be known as a local author and entertain friends and family? I’m already living that glorious dream. My books on wine history are for sale in the tasting room and are the subject of questions, inquiries, and discussion with strangers every day. My new books flow onto the screen every morning with the sunrise before I take to the vines.
 
Do I have talent? Your clapping will let me know if that’s true. 
Do you have the talent? I can only encourage you to get over your stage fright and try and then applaud your efforts. 
The metronome of your art life is already ticking for you…