The Local Business Center dashboard opens its doors


(
Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog. Editor's note: The new Local Business Center dashboard is only available to individual business owners that have verified they are business owners through the Local Business Center.)

If you're a local content partner, chances are you interact with local business owners regularly. They may be interested in learning about an exciting new tool that Google launched today, to help local business owners better understand how Google users interact with their listing.

If you're a local business owner, it's likely that Google plays a role in helping customers find you. And we're not just talking about your website — thanks to Google Maps and Google Search, you may also be getting a lot of online traffic to your business listing. You've probably seen one of these listings before:



You also probably know how they tend to work: A potential customer does a search on Google.com or in Google Maps, comes across your listing, clicks on it to see your reviews and details, and then gets directions to your location.

Now, imagine if there were a way for you to get a better understanding of how those customers are finding you. Did they search for "pizza" or "pasta" to get to the listing for your Italian restaurant? Do they live across town, but drive miles for your great selection of camping gear? What happens to traffic to your new dental practice when you start advertising in the local paper? With information like that, you'd be able to make better informed decisions on how to drive more traffic to your listing and attract more customers.

Later today, you'll be able to do just that, thanks to a new dashboard feature we're launching in the Local Business Center (www.google.com/lbc). The LBC is a free tool that enables business owners to control the content of their business listings as they appear in Google Search and Google Maps. All you have to do is claim your listing in the LBC and go through a quick verification process to get access to the following kinds of data:

  • Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
  • Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business' website or requested driving directions to the business.
  • Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for "tea" or "coffee"?
  • Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.

The new dashboard will also let you dig into that data using all kinds of lists, maps, and graphs like this one, which measures impressions and actions for a hotel's business listing:





When you sign in to the LBC today, you'll find that we've already populated the dashboards for claimed listings with data from the last 30 days. After that, new information will be added every day, so you can check in often to see how things are going. We're also working hard to add more historical information, and to make this available for businesses outside the U.S. All the data we share through the dashboard will be anonymous and aggregated, to protect the privacy of Google users.

We're really excited to be able to open up this data to local business owners. Before now, you could track usage metrics on your website using a tool like Google Analytics, but data about how customers found you in other ways never got back to you. That all changes today, and we think business owners will really get a lot out of this new information. So if you're a local business owner and you feel the same way, be sure to check out this new dashboard.

To learn more about accessing and using the dashboard, take a look at the video below and then visit the Lat Long Blog for a more in-depth overview.





Friday, June 5, 2009 at 11:08 AM

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