Google announced changes to its popular Local Business Center and Street View services in April, describing them as the first steps in helping make Google more local. The changes are aimed at making businesses more searchable and the results more informative. One in every five Google searches is related to location; with between six and seven billion Google searches performed each month, a robust online presence is to your bakery's benefit.
Google's Local Business Center, the 21st-century, online version of the Yellow Pages, is now Google Places. The free service allows business owners to create listings for their business, including their address, contact information, a brief description and business hours, among other information. Businesses can add photos of their storefronts, and those in select cities can request free photo shoots of their interior from Google — an opportunity that could benefit attractively stocked bakeries. Google also enabled businesses to make real-time updates to their page in order to list current specials, sales and coupons. Additionally, customers can post reviews of a business and award it a starred rating, both of which are visible to other users.
Businesses using a Places page can track how many people have found their business on Google, the keywords used to find it and their visitors' geographic area. For added visibility in search results, businesses can pay $25 per month to have their listing highlighted.
Google Street View
New annotations to Street View, Google's popular location service, have helped make businesses more prominent. When a user clicks on a business' location in Street View, a dialog box will pop up, displaying the business' name, address, phone number and website. If the business has a Google Places page, other information the business has added to its page also is visible. Previously, Street View users were only able to view the actual image of the business and no additional information.