Phonebooks, while handy for stabilizing wobbly tables and swatting flies, are becoming increasingly pointless. Following yesterday’s launch of new features on Google Local, the Yellow Pages and print directories will become even more useless (for their intended use).
The Google Local Business Center now provides businesses with a free Web dashboard similar to Google Analytics, and it goes above and beyond a map listing found on Google Maps. The dashboard provides important stats, including: how many times their business comes up as search results, how often people click through, the top search inquiries and how many people get driving directions to their business using Google Maps.
The stats will even breakdown starting points on Google Maps by zip code. The Lat Long blog details how it works and how Google will protect customer’s privacy.
Google Local will help businesses strategically implement and track their marketing efforts. They’ll know what their customers are searching for, and what areas they are driving from. This kind of information will help the business owners decide how to better reach their target audience and drive traffic to their sites. While not associated with Google AdWords yet, Erick Schonfeld from Tech Crunch says, “you can see that one from a mile away.”
Yesterday I listed local clients in Google Local. The process is quick and easy; all it requires is basically claiming listings that were already on Google. Google follows up to verify, providing a pin number via phone call or postcard. The pin will give the business owners access to the stats.
Google Local is another rock star move by Google, and another sign that basic (paper) functions of day-to-day life are becoming extinct. The real success story, however, will be if small businesses take advantage of this useful, free tool.