New Google Maps: What has Pegman done for you lately? [Part 1]

New Google Maps: What has Pegman done for you lately? Have you noticed the new shiny Google Maps? In March the new version Google Maps was released in to the wild; Pegman is back and he has a few tricks up his sleeve. This is a three part series on the features of the new Google Maps. In this post we will talk about the Traffic & Navigation. So let’s open Google Maps and take a spin! Open up Google Maps and let’s get started!

Traffic data on the desktop

Traffic data has been available as a layer on Mobile Maps for some time, but now you can get it on the Desktop version. Look in the upper left just below the Search box. When you click on the map square next to Getting Around the Traffic Layer will appear on the map. You can switch between Live traffic and Typical traffic. If you bike or ride the bus you can get details about transit and bike routes by clicking on Transit or Bicycling by clicking on the links.


Click the traffic map square to show the traffic layer on Google Maps.


The traffic layer shows Live or Typical traffic on the Map

Getting Directions

Your old standby for getting directions is still here. Search for your destination then click Get Directions to show the new navigation control box. There is a lot going on here but it is still very easy to use. If you are driving you don’t need to change a thing, but if you want to walk or take transit just click on your desired mode of transportation at the top.

You can show more advanced routing controls by clicking Route options. There you will see options for leaving and arrival times, tolls, etc.

You can show or hide the traffic layer on the map as well as pick a different route to the same destination. The travel times for each option are listed next to the route.

Google Maps Navigation Controls

Google Maps Navigation Controls

Stree View preview for routes

Now along with your turn-by-turn directions you can get an interactive street level view. After you have selected your route just click on Preview. Click the Street View tile to show the interactive Street View image and use the arrows to get the next step in the directions.

Google Maps Turn by Turn Street View

Google Maps Turn by Turn Street View

Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear what you think of the new Google Maps and how you use it to grow your business or just make life easier. Drop me an email or use my contact form to setup a meeting if there is anything that I can help you with!

Next up in part 2…. Street View and Business View. Interactive images of your community!

Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing

“Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing” says the email from Google. Don’t be alarmed, they are just doing some cleanup to make Google Places and Google Maps a better experience for users that are looking for your business online.

Jade Wang, Google Business Community Manager, says:

We are making some changes to Google Places for Business and Google Maps so we can continue providing people with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses. As part of this process, we’re asking business owners to review and confirm some of the information in their Google Places accounts so we can keep showing it to Google users.

Don’t worry, the worst that can happen is that you will have to re-verify your Places listing by phone or postcard; taking five minutes right now to login to Places for Business can save you some hassle later.

As always I am here to help, send me a note or schedule a meeting through my contact page!

12th Man Discount for Google ‘See Inside’ Tours

I shot this home when I was building my portfolio a few years ago. My personal 12th Man helped me out with this shoot and has been been there ever since cheering me on even when I wasn’t having the best season.

To honor that and to help you by being YOUR 12th Man, I am offering 12% off my regular rates for Seattle Real Estate Photography AND on my Google ‘See Inside’ packages for business through the end of February. What better way to celebrate the return of the Seahawks to the Superbowl!

Seattle Seahawks 12th Man Room

I want to hear about YOUR 12th man! Leave a comment below

Should Lawyers Care about Google+ and ‘See Inside’ Tours?



You are busy taking amazing care of your clients, but do you know where the next one is coming from? In 2014 local search is more important than ever and competition is fierce.

When your prospective clients search for your specialty in a specific area, Google will show them a pack of local map results in your search results page. Yes, this means that you should care about Google +Local!

For example let’s search for a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver, Washington. In the page below you can see that there are three types of results. First the Paid Ads at the top and side. Second, there are a few ‘organic’ results in the middle. Third, the Local Map Results, and finally there are more organic results below the pack of map results (not show here, but trust me, they are there).

Anatomy of a Google Search Results Page

Anatomy of a Google Search Results Page

As you can see, there are not many ‘local’ firms in the organic results. There is not much real estate for organic results, and there is some serious competition for that space. If you want a good chance of being found for your specialty in that local area your best bet is to be in the Local Map Pack. The importance of having a correct and optimized Google Places/+Local profile cannot be overemphasized. If you don’t already have a Google Places for Business account do it now! It is free, takes five minutes, and puts you in control of your listing. Without it you don’t stand to fare well in search results.

Part of having a well optimized Google listing is having amazing images. The office space that you worked so hard to build out should be featured prominently on your Search, Maps, Mobile, and +Local profile. You can also embed the tour and images on your web site (example here!). The one-time fee for unlimited use makes the See Inside tour an outstanding value.



Your prospective clients want to know about you, your staff, and your space. Share with them online for the best chance to  meet them in person.

Thanks for your time! Please call or use the contact widget below to talk to me about your project.

Top 20 Local Search Ranking Factors: An Illustrated Guide
Google+: Should Lawyers Care?


Updating your Professional Online Profiles for 2014

get on the map with and google business photosThe turn of the new year is a great time to check all your online profiles to make sure that they are correct and optimized. You work hard to take care of your clients, but do you know where the next one is coming from? When you are updating your professional online profiles here are a few things to think about: How do clients find you and what makes them pick you over the competition? Do you have a complete picture and plan for your online image? Are you keeping up on with Houzz, Avo, Active Rain, Linked IN, Facebook, Google Places, +Local, and Maps? Are you blogging regularly?  All of these profiles contribute to Google’s sophisticated ranking in search results.

You absolutely must have the correct information in your Google Places for Business/+Local listings; if your information is not up to date or accurate on these listings you risk not being found by your potential customers.

In 2013 and continuing to 2014, you may find that your connections on Facebook are on the wane. Communities that you built are now not seeing much of your content and this may be a great time to focus on other channels. Just another reason to make sure that the rest of your professional online profiles have all of your current and up to date information. can optimize and verify your Google listings as well as help with content. Photos and virtual tours attract the right clients to your business. Call or email today to schedule a no obligation consultation.



Placement of Google See Inside Tours on Google’s Sites

You might be wondering where the Google See Inside tour shows up in the world. When your tour is published you will see on Places/+Local, Search (when the keywords are your business name and city), Maps, Mobile Search, and Mobile Maps. Keep in mind that Google can change the layout of their pages at any time, but Soundview360 will always work with you to get the most from your tour!

Google 'See Inside' tour info card showing showing the tour link below the map.

Google ‘See Inside’ tour info card showing showing the tour link below the map.

'See Inside' tour showing in Mobile Maps.

‘See Inside’ tour showing in Mobile Maps.

'See Inside' tour showing on the business's +Local/Places page.

‘See Inside’ tour showing on the business’s +Local/Places page.

'See Inside' tour showing in Desktop Maps.

‘See Inside’ tour showing in Desktop Maps.