For those of you who came across my column last month, Local Search Convertibility at Search Engine Watch, The overarching theme was that local presence is great but it is what you do to promote and convert at a local level which is even more important. Here is something new from Google to help you out in this arena.
I found a recent change in Google Local Business Center or Google Places as it is now called that is closely related to the message above. There is now the functionality to post short term “tweet”-like posts to your Google local listing. From your Google Places dashboard click on a specific listings View Report link. In the upper-hand section of the next page you will see a box for which you can post up to 160 characters about something relevant to your company or this specific location.
Your post will be instantly displayed on your local listing when visitors view additional information about your listing. There is a date stamp of when you posted the message and the post expires 30 days from the time you post to your profile.
This real-time capability for revising your listings can be a great opportunity. For instance, if your companies location is offering a special or promotion that is time sensitive you may not have the few weeks it often takes for a local listing revision to be approved and posted by Google.
It would no doubt be a greater value for these real-time posts to become visible in the actual SERP listing of your local listing but we should be appreciative of this local listing modification. And on the bright side, if we already didnt have enough postings to manage, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, at least we have something new!