Free Technical Training for Local Businesses

Is your Pine City area business listed online for Google Search?

Can your business be found on Google Maps?

OntheMaplogoIf not, you may be missing potential customers or not have all the business traffic you could have.  Current statistics on Internet usage show that presently 97% of consumers look online for goods or services, and most are using Google Search or Google Maps.  However, nationally only 37% of businesses have ‘claimed’ their listing on a search engine – a process which involves working with the search engine company to validate your business and to gain access to own and change or upgrade the results people see when your business pops up during a search.

A local partnership in Pine City is working to improve the results for all businesses in Pine City and to improve how local businesses appear when people – particularly visitors – search here for goods and services.  The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Pine County Office of Economic Development (PCOED) are spearheading a project this summer to provide one-on-one technical assistance to local businesses with that goal of improvement in mind.

The project, using grant funding from the Greater Pine Area Endowment, will use a combination of paid technical expertise and volunteers to reach out to area companies, go to their places of business, and walk them through the process of claiming, validating and upgrading their results in Google and Google Maps – at no cost to the business.

“We scanned search results for our member businesses in the Chamber,” says Chamber Executive Becky Schueller.  “We found that, out of 215 members in the Chamber, only 70 businesses had claimed their listing on Google Search and Maps.  59 more showed up on a search but had not claimed their listing.  The rest couldn’t be found at all. So two-thirds of our members either have no presence or perhaps incomplete and inaccurate information.”

While the summer project is not limited the Chamber members, Schueller feels that the same percentages apply to non-members as well.

Pine County Economic Development Coordinator Robert Musgrove dug into some of the inaccuracies and incompleteness on those businesses that did have a listing but hadn’t claimed it.

“We had a convenience store listed as an auto repair shop,” Musgrove explains.  “We had retail stores showing up on the wrong side of town on Maps.  Many didn’t list their hours of operation. These are the kinds of problems you see when a business hasn’t claimed their listing.”

Musgrove noted that search engines also aren’t used just by visitors to find restaurants or hotels.

“They’re searching for auto body shops and medical clinics and pharmacies and local attractions and attorneys – you name it,” he stated.

Beginning in early July, the partners will be reaching out to area businesses to schedule sessions with the technical expert when they can set up a listing or claim and correct a faulty one.  The only limitation is that, because of the conditions of funding from the Greater Pine Area Endowment, the business must be located within the boundaries of the Pine City school district.  The project will begin in early July and last into the Fall.

To begin with, an online signup sheet for technical assistance is available at  businesses that want to jump right in.  Businesses who want the service may also contact the Chamber Office – even if they are not members – at info@pinecitychamber or at 320-322-4040 or by contacting the Pine County Office of Economic Development at 320-591-1625 or