Google helps local businesses boost web presence

Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 18:01:02-04
Studio 28 is part of the Wesley Chapel business boom.  Open just nine months, the one stop shop for music, art and dance, just moved into a large space in the Shops at Wiregrass.
"I've never seen a community grow this fast.  I've never seen a population grow this fast," said Steven Morgan, president of Studio 28.
And Morgan says he's noticed a trend in the customers coming to his store.
"Probably about 60 percent of our business is coming from people that have just moved into the area within the last year.  So they're searching for things they had where they lived before and they don't know where to find them.  It's not like there's a big map that tells you where all the different things area, especially for children and families," said Morgan.
So a lot of people will Google what they're trying to find.  But the search engine is changing what shows up when you look for a  business.  The "Put Cities on the Map" project is working to get every company to claim its business page on Google Maps by the end of the year.  If you don't claim your page, it will be erased, thereby limiting potential customers to seeing only basic, and perhaps inaccurate, information.
"If you haven't claimed that page, Google is going to start removing them because they want to make sure all of the data on Google maps is accurate and complete," said Steve Miller, owner of Stephen John Photography and Google trusted partner.
So here's how it works.  First, find your business by searching for it on Google Maps.  Then, scroll down, and click the "business owner" or "manage this page" option.  When the next page appears, request to get a pin number so you can update the information.
If you need help with that, you can contact a Google trusted partner and they'll walk you through it  for free.  (They can also expedite the processs.)  Small business can even get a free website for a year.  And for a small fee, Google trusted partners can also add photos, virtual tours, and more to help build you business' online presence.
"What it allows a customer to do is go directly from street view or from Google Earth or from Google Maps to walk through their business and see what they offer. See what they're all about, take a good look around," said Miller.
Back at Studio 28, Steve Morgan's getting photos taken to add a virtual tour to his Google page and he's convinced it will only help drive more traffic to his growing business.
"I started actually increasing our web presence with Google and difference other organizations and the cool thing about it, is our business has doubled already, and I know once we add this element to it, that it's going to be amazing," said Morgan.
Now Google is hoping every business will get on board, to help put communities like Wesley Chapel, and its businesses, on the map.
It's also important to know there are a lot of scams going around with people offering to help businesses with the Google transition.  Google says it will not call your business.  To get help with the process, contact certified, trusted Google partner Steve Miller with Stephen John Photography at (813) 279-8990.  Miller is based in Wesley Chapel, but is certified through Google to assist businesses across the United States.