Red dots on Google mapposted May 1, 2010 6:45 PM by David Khorram
Anybody who has used Google Maps lately may have noticed from a few to hundreds of red dots on the maps in addition to the usual place markers. If you want to get a first hand glimpse of this go to Google and click on the Maps tab. Once you are in Google Maps, search "locksmith NYC". You will see the entire island of New York City buried in red dots. Each of these dots represents the location of a locksmith. There must be one on every corner and few in between.
The locksmith dots in New York City is an extreme example. However, you will be seeing these annoying little red circles showing up in almost all of your searches in Google maps. Some people are asking what do these red dots mean and what are their significance.
The red dots are a Google "improvement" to Google Maps. And the idea actually makes sense. Prior to the red dots Google only listed the top ten search results. If you were searching for a shoe repair in New York City, Google would return the top ten search results that Google determined to be the most relevant to your search phrase. Of the top ten search results the closest one might be a couple of miles away across town. So you go out and get in a cab and are whisked away to the shoe repair shop. However, what you may not have known was that there was a shoe repair a block and a half away in walking distance in the other direction.
So Google tried to remedy this by introducing the red dots to show other locations. The place markers are still there to show what Google believes to be the top ten listings most relevant to your search. But the red dots are also there to show other business that may be relevant to your search but just not relevant enough to be included in the top ten listings.
This is a real benefit to Google map users in many searches in which they just might want to find the closest shoe repair shop. However, business owners should look at this development a little more closely.
For some people these days Google Maps has replaced the Yellow pages. They do all of their comparative shopping online and Google is the search engine of choice. Potential customers are searching everything on Google. Millions of them. If they want to find a pet groomer there are going to go to Google web or maps and enter "pet groomer + their city". In either search the top ten pet groomers will appear. The maps will display the red dots as well. The important point, dots or not, in most searches the potential customer is really only going to pay attention to the top ten search results. This is where a business should place in the search order if they want to take advantage of the Internet to grow their business and profits.
The good news is that just like websites, map listings can be optimized so that they appear in the top ten search results. Anybody can do it if they know how. Or they can hire a Map SEO which shouldn't be confused with a web SEO.
Is your Google Map Listing in the top ten search results?
It could be. We can help
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010
We've been discussing the importance of being listed in Google Places a lot lately, particularly since the companychanged the name of its Local Business Center to Google Places and added some new features a couple weeks ago.
How important is Google Places to your business?
There are a number of resources available to assist you in doing so, and Google also launched mobile-optimized versions of Place Pages last week. Bill Slawski at SEO By the Sea points to another interesting nugget, and what he calls a new reason to be listed. It involves Google's Navigation Android App.
First off, features of Google Navigation include:
- Search in plain English (as opposed to address)
- Traffic View
- Satellite View
- Car Dock Mode
- Search by voice
- Search along route
- Street View
Videos demonstrating each of these features, as well as a screenshot gallery, can be found here.
What Slawski points to is a patent filing from Google, which seems to hint at additional features that would use info from your contact lists, Calendars, and task lists. Slawski explains:
For instance, you set up a task list on your smart phone to visit a new client, and then pick up stamps and mail out letters, drop off drycleaning, and go grocery shopping. You’ve also added the new client’s address to your personal information system contact list and calendar.
You have your phone set up to use Google Navigator as a GPS system for your car. The navigation system shows you where your client’s office is located on the map you’re following, and also shows you icons for nearby post offices, drycleaning shops, and shopping centers.
There's no guarantee that this will come to fruition, but as Slawski notes, it seems like a pretty reasonable addition to the app. Google Maps already has the nearby places feature.
If you'd like to take a look at the actual patent filing, you can do so here.
It's something to keep in mind, but really being listed here is a no-brainer anyway. Just think about how many people use Google, and increasingly so from their mobile devices.
On a related note, Google expanded its Tag advertising feature into more cities.