Last week Google changed the Local Business Center to Google Places, and along with that change came some new features for local businesses. We looked at those here.
Among those changes was the addition of Google's tag advertising. For $25 a month, businesses (in certain cities) can use Tags to highlight their listings on Google.com and Google Maps. These are yellow markers that let you promote important aspects of your business. They can be used for things like coupons, photos, and other select features. They don’t affect the rank of search results, but they give customers more information and may prove beneficial.
Google promised that while the offering was starting out in a limited number of cities, that number would be expanding. The expansion process is underway. Google has now announced the addition of 11 new cities.
The new cities are: San Jose, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, Washington DC, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder, Chicago, San Francisco and Mountain View.
"You'll notice that we’ve added Mountain View, CA to the list of cities participating in the trial," says Product Manager Shalini Agarwal. "Because we are still tweaking the product a bit, we thought we’d make it available in our hometown so we can get quick feedback as we work on new features."
Businesses in the available cities can sign up for Tags from their Google Places accounts.
In a couple weeks, Google says it will launch a new tag type: "post to your Place Page". This will be a freeform text field that will let business owners highlight custom messages announcing sales or events.
The company did not indicate when more cities will become available, but I would expect the feature to make regular expansions in the not-too-distant future.