Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Before and after a Google Virtual Tour on the web

Now I’m going to show you the search results BEFORE and AFTER a Google Virtual Tour and Photos are added. This is for a business called Number Fifteen. Number Fifteen is a delightful arts, crafts and gift shop in Cockermouth.
On the left hand side (below), is how Number Fifteen USED TO APPEAR on an iPad when searching for the shop.
On the right hand side – this is how it NOW appears after we have completed a Google Tour and included our professional photos.

You can see that there is a tremendous improvement in the business presence and presentation.  Which one do you think your customers would prefer, I know which one I prefer!
In addition to the map, you can see See Inside (the Google Tour), you can go to Street View and you can take a look at the Photos that we produced.
Try Googling ‘Number Fifteen Cockermouth’ now and see what you see.
It will look slightly different on mobile and pc, but the key elements will all be there.
This is one of my favourite tours. You can see it here, why not take a virtual tour?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Other Virtual Tours

There are other virtual tours, that can feature separately or alongside Google Tours. Of course you lose the enhanced web presence that you would get with a Google Tour if you do this, but sometimes people want a different kind of tour.
So here is an example of a non Google tour that we did a little while ago now. The tour incorporates an on screen map. You can click on the map to move from room to room, or click on the points in the image. Scroll around, zoom and have a go. 

Click HERE to open the tour.

This tour is very effective since it has lots of colour and interesting things going on. The gym had just been renovated and repainted and of course that is the perfect time to do a tour.
Again a tour is really important for anyone who wants to show off ambience, decor or facilities.
The link is also found on the Allerdale Borough Council sports and recreation page. Click Here
The reach of these tours can go a long long way…..
Now back to Google Tours.

Monday, 15 June 2015

So you want a 360 Google Virtual Tour?

Remember a Google Tour is a specific Google product.
It goes on the Google system and shows up on your Knowledge Card as See Inside (see previous posts).
(A non-Google Tour will not display on See Inside on your Knowledge Card – so do not be duped by imitators).
For those companies with ambiance or facilities to show off to the world, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have a Google tour. If you have something to share then why not let people see it? You need to compete – cos others certainly are! (Try it on the image above).
Size of Tour
If you have a small premises, then you can have a small tour, simply coming into your premises, moving about, turning around and zooming in and out.
Alternatively if you have a large premises on several floors – you can have the complete works – walking through your premises, zooming in and out and also going between floors.
And of course there is every size in between large and small. Get a tour that suits your needs.
What do you need to do to get a tour?
Well you can contact someone, such as ourselves, who specialise in these tours. We make a date with you, when we can come and shoot the photography for you. We can even shoot on the same day and you can keep running your business whilst we are there.
We do all the technical stuff and hey presto it all appears on your Google+ page and on See Inside on your Knowledge Card. Automatically.
Making your premises neat and tidy is really all you have to do. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect, customers like having a root around.
So if you are a spa, restaurant, hairdresser, shop, beauty parlour, bar, conference facility, gym….or anywhere that prides itself on it’s facilities and look to get business, this really is a very simple marketing tool for you to use.
Next: what else can you do with the Google Tour?

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Google See Inside

Continuing then from previous posts:
Here’s a typical screen shot of a Google knowledge card, which is presented (using data on your business page) to potential customers.
Cedar Gallery Knowledge Card
Google likes to present businesses that are ‘live’ and ‘active’. So the more you do on your business page the better your web presence gets.
Take Google Virtual Tours for instance (aka See Inside). These are just perfect if you want to show the world your facilities, your shop, your restaurant, the list goes on and on. It goes up on Google automatically without any need for you to have any technical knowledge or even contact your web people.

You can move from place to place, or just turn on the spot. You can zoom in and zoom out. Give it a go in the image above or with this link for the Cedar Gallery in Windermere
So if you have one on your Google Business Account (it appears as See Inside) then customers can go straight to your business interior. There is a significant advantage to this.
Feedback on those we ourselves have created for businesses and organisations so far is positive, with one shop owner relaying to us that she has had calls on the phone for particular items seen in the tour and thus has been selling things over the telephone. Customers have not even had to visit in person.
An alternative method to see your tour is to leap from Street View into your tour by following the arrows on Street View. In other words it means that a customer can move along Street View and the click on a business and suddenly they are transported to your business.
An alternative method to share your Google Tour is to integrate it into your Facebook page – stick with us to find out more. (We can do that for you anyway).
Alternatively it can go on your website, which we can also do for you.
A picture paints a thousand words, a virtual tour is even better in this respect.
Next more on how to get the most from your Google Business Page

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Your Google Business Knowledge Card

First, a quick recap on our previous posts:
1 When someone searches on Google, Google searches it’s own index compiled from your data from your Google Business page and all the other information culled from the web to provide relevant results ideally in less than a second.
2 This means you need to keep your Google Plus page updated with your most recent data and any changes as soon as possible.
You do this by first verifying your business and then updating your data on your Google Business Page (Free).
Now, new stuff:
Your data appears on a ‘Knowledge Card’ to the right hand side (different devices mobiles/tablet/pc are slightly different in appearance but the principle is the same)

A Google Knowledge Card to the right hand side.

Not that many people realise what this is. Basically the Knowledge Card is presenting to your potential customers data about you. This data whether it be location, opening times, photos, 360 virtual tours, reviews or posts, can mean the difference between someone visiting you or not.
And get this; the knowledge card is driven from your Google Business Page.
Now I am hoping that the ‘penny has dropped’. In other words the knowledge card is driven by the data you provide Google on your Google business page.
In other words – if there’s nothing on it or it’s incorrect – your customers will see next to nothing or incorrect data. Which one of those is worse do you think?
If you have not realised this until now, then hopefully I’ve just blown your mind, as I said I would at the start of this series. 
So next up, once you have your Google Business Page – how to enhance your page and presence using photos and See Inside (Google 360 virtual tours aka panoramas)…try to get the most out of this, it is an opportunity.

Monday, 8 June 2015

How to move a pin on Google Maps for My Business?

I’m interrupting my original planned flow of posts, since I’ve been asked a few times now, how to move a pin on a Google Map for a Business.

Pins on Google Maps

Some of you have now realised that your pin is in the wrong location on Google Maps, for whatever reason. For instance
  • You might have moved business premises and you just forgot to let Google know,
  • Or your place of work is different to your registered business location now…
Our random (and uncharacteristically unscientific) analysis suggests that around 70% of the businesses we have seen so far (in the UK) either have a pin in the wrong place or have unverified sites or generally contain incomplete or inaccurate information on Google Maps and their business page.
That’s an extraordinary statistic (hence the reason for the blogs) considering your business location is used for local searches (e.g. nearest jewellery shop or nearest pharmacy with night opening hours or nearest plumber etc).
This is your data and you need to fix it as soon as possible. Remember
  1. it’s simple to do
  2. you can do it yourself
  3. it’s free
So here’s how
1 Log in to Google, and go to Google Maps. Find your business on Google Maps.
2 Click on the top left corner on the main menu icon hamburger icon and click ‘Report a data problem’ and follow the instructions.
(Alternatively if you don’t see the main menu icon, look for the help icon help icon  in the bottom right).
It might take up to 4 weeks for the data to be changed.

And that’s all there is to it. Don’t miss the boat. If you want to get the best from Google for your business keep reading….

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Own your business on Google – Google My Business

So if you get the gist in principle of Google Search and the gist in principle of it’s link with your Google+ business page from our previous posts, what do you need to do to claim or create your business page?

It’s simple, go to and register your business.
Once you are done and have verified your business you will see a shield with a tick at the top of your page and it should look something like this.
From now on you will be able to manage what goes onto your page to support Google Searches for your business and also control your business identity across Google. Remember it’s your super duper gazetteer entry on the web.
From here on in, what else can you do to improve your presence on the web? Well, let’s take a look at Photos and Google Virtual Tours (also known as See Inside) on your business page, in our next post.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Even more reasons to take control of your Google+ Business Page

As we have already said in the previous post, Google includes your Google+ business page data when undertaking searches so it really is important to use this real estate wisely.

If you have not claimed your business - who will? This is what the world sees.

We’ve seen unclaimed Google+ business pages with tens of thousands of visitors – with no pictures, no opening times, no profile of what that business does, no web site listed and sometimes an incorrect address or pin in the wrong location on Google Maps because the business has moved premises and these details have not been updated. These businesses will have the on screen message shown in the picture above.
Even some claimed Google + business pages are not being managed effectively as they could be and we will talk about that later.
With 10’s of thousands of potential visitors each year to your page, isn’t it worth taking advantage of it and using it effectively? Not least to help with Google Search.
Worse still, when a page has not been claimed by the rightful owner we’ve seen sabotage on Google+ business pages. Sabotage mainly consists of someone saying that a particular business is closed or does not exist. That’s certainly not good news for the real owner. 
So if you haven’t done so already, let’s find out how to ‘own your business identity’ on Google in our next few blogs.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Your Business on Google and Google Plus

Continuing from our earlier blog on Google Search, we’re going to look at what is a Google+ business page?
Not everyone realises that your Google+ business page IS your business identity across the whole of Google.

Well, what does this really mean?
* If you haven’t already checked it out, a Google+ page may already exist for your business without you even knowing (Google is trying to be helpful)
* Your Google+ business page works with Google Search.
* What you have on that page helps to increase your presence in any ‘Google Searches’ for your business, appearing in lists of searches, and being effectively a backlink to your web site (if you have one).
* You can and should control what is on your Google+ page to get the results you want.
* You don’t need to have a web site in order to have a Google+ business page (it exists completely independently)
* A Google+ business page has nothing to do with your web site (so be absolutely clear that managing a Google+ business page is not about web design, it is about how you profile your business).
* A Google+ business page is free advertising for you
* A Google+ business page should be viewed as a free business tool, effectively it is a super-duper gazeteer entry which can be searched and indexed by Google and then presented to the world.
Google includes your Google+ business page data when undertaking searches so it really is important that to use this real estate wisely.
If this doesn’t convince you to take action then read the next blog – what do you miss if you don’t and what can happen?

Googling the question?

According to the latest stats, Google is the most popular search engine in the world.
  • It has 1,100,000,000 monthly visitors (yes, that’s 8 noughts), almost three times that of it’s nearest rival.
  • It handles more than three billion (3,000,000,000) searches a day.
It aims to deliver meaningful and relevant results within 0.5 seconds. But how does it work?
It’s simple really – when you search on Google, Google does NOT search the web. That would take way too long!
What Google actually does is search Google’s index of the web. It has searched many billions of pages using spiders, and acts like a book index.
Part of the technology looks for ‘backlinks’ to determine a sites importance. A backlink is an incoming link from another web page or node back to your own web page or web site.
So if you have a web site it’s really important to have as many relevant references (or backlinks) to your site as possible – for instance through;
  • Google+,
  • Google Maps,
  • Google Maps Business Views,
  • regular business gazeteers such as yell, yelp, 192, checkatrade…
  • various social media Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and so on.
Basically the more integrated you are across social media and business listings and in particular Google itself, the more presence you will have on the web when people search for your business.
We’re going to talk about Your Business on Google and How to Own your Business on Google in the next few blogs.
If you are a business owner, do read these, it might blow your mind that it is;
  • fundamentally important for you and your business,
  • easy to do – you can do it yourself,
  • cost effective to do – most of it is FREE.
So just maybe it sounds as though it’s worth ‘getting with the programme’.
Here’s a short description on YouTube of Google Search and how it works

Creating a Tourist Trail Map – Part 4, Printing versus Digital Technology

There are some downsides to printed advertising material:
  • it’s almost throw away,
  • it can’t be updated without reprinting,
  • the quantity to be printed can be an issue (how many is too few, how many is too many?)
  • it uses resources,
  • your customers/target audience have to be sent or be in the area ‘by chance’ to pick up your materials (hence the need to distribute).
The upsides to printed advertising material include:
  • In many circumstances it’s a reliable and practicable method of getting your points across,
  • It’s nice for people to hold in their hands,
  • It’s portable and readily accessible.
So it’s definitely a very useful tool amongst many others for advertising.
 Cockermouth Interactive tourist trail map
More and more people are likely to be holding mobile phones or tablets in their hands – wherever they happen to be. So can you take advantage of that?
Yes. We took the bold decision to put our map on the web and make it interactive – with pop out information and web site links.
Digital technology counterbalances the disadvantages of the print version. And indeed people can plan their visit before they even come to your area and they don’t have to pick up a map. They may even be encouraged to visit, when they would not have done so before.
You will need someone to host the map on the internet of course, and someone to code it up for you. It really is the way to go and we’ve had great feedback on ours.

And finally we also put a QR code on the printed leaflet, so anyone can access the interactive version too on their mobile or tablet.
Happy planning, happy designing and happy trailing!