Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Debut: Google Local Listing Ads

The good news: Google’s rolling out something that should at some point help small businesses in a lot of places reach potential customers online. They’re small, text-only ads of the sort Google often displays, only the trick is that they’re shown when people near a company’s physical location search for a specific type of business.

Google Local Business CenterThese ads are shown on Google and Google Maps. The first 30 days are free, you then only need to pay “a flat monthly fee based on your location and business category”. There are no bids or keywords to manage, and you can get a full report on the number of calls, clicks to your ad, requests for driving directions, and clicks to your info window on Google Maps.

The bad news: this service is currently available only in San Francisco and San Diego, California. Assuming it’s successful, look for it to be rolled out nationwide in the future. If your business is in San Francisco or San Diego, here’s where you can learn more and sign up.

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