Google, SBA form online partnership

A new partnership between Google and the Small Business Administration aims to raise awareness of free online tools that can help small businesses.

In a joint press conference Wednesday, the groups launched a series of videos, available at google.com/help/sba, designed to educate local businesses about how to succeed online. Google has also produced a booklet on the topic that is available through the SBA’s Development Centers.

As an example of how business owners can take control of their Internet presence, John Hanke, Google’s VP of product management, talked about the new Google Places service, which allows business owners to create listings online.

“You can claim your place on Google. You can go there and register it,” Hanke said during the press conference. “And once you take control of it as a business owner, you get to verify that all the information is correct, you can make sure the right phone number is there, it has the right opening and closing hours, that it’s accurate information about the products you sell.”

Hanke said once businesses update their information, it will appear wherever people search for the business and automatically be formatted for devices like mobile phones.

During the press conference, he offered three pieces of advice for business owners. 1) Claim your online listing, 2) Engage in social communications, and 3) Experiment with online advertising.

To learn more about the partnership and to see the video tutorials, go to google.com/help/sba.

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