Thanks to internet marketing, finding a product or service you want today is easier than ever. More and more businesses – both big and small – are ensuring their presence online and are vying for the top slots in Google search result pages, so that their potential customers can find them easily.
According to Google, one out of every five searches is related to a location and Google Places is an improved search facility that focuses on this aspect. If you are a small business targeting local customers rather than a global audience, using Google Places is one of the best things you could do for the growth of your business. If you aren’t already using this service from Google, it is high-time you considered it for your business.
Understanding Google Places
Google Places is a service that allows you to be listed on Google Maps, so that your clients or customers can easily locate you. Business owners, who are listed with Google, can use Google Places to manage the information regarding the physical location of their business. This means when a potential customer searches for the service or product you offer, your business would be listed under the organic web listings as well as in Places. Considering the fact that Google usually blends the Google Places’ page and Maps along with the organic results for location specific searches, listing yourself in Google Places can be an excellent way to create brand awareness.
Getting your business listed on Google Places is easy and can be done in just three steps. The first step is to set up an account and submit the relevant information like the address, phone number, email, hours of operation, payment method, mode of service, images and even videos to Google. Once you verify your listing through phone or mail, you would receive a PIN from Google that allows you to claim the specified listing. Once this process is complete, your listing would get accepted by Google and can be viewed on the site.
The best part of it all is that Google Places is a free service and it is upto you as a business owner to make the best of it.
Why every small business needs Google Places
Google Places is a straightforward service from Google to help small business make themselves visible and searchable on the internet, by people from a particular locality they cater to. Google Places is free and allows businesses to put themselves on the web with little effort, which makes the service and excellent marketing option for small business owners.
Google Places is the local Yellow Pages – With the internet at hand, there are very few people who still search for a service using the traditional Yellow Pages directories. So besides being listed in the traditional Yellow Pages, businesses should also consider getting listed in online directories and in Google Places, especially if the business caters to a local audience. The advantage of using Google Places is that all the relevant information about your business is available and can be accessed by your potential customers through the internet, even when you don’t have a website. So if you are a small business owner and cannot afford maintaining a website, Google Places is the viable solution for you.
Improved search engine page ranking – Google Places focuses on local searches, which means that the competition for a local business o Google Places would be restricted to the other business only within the locality and not the entire region, city or state. This means that there are better chances of your business being at the top of the search engine page results for your category and location.
For example, a search with key terms – ‘Italian restaurants in Somerset, NJ” would only get results for Italian restaurants within the region and not the entire state of New Jersey. So, the possibility of your Italian restaurant being found is much better in Google Places.
Your business is easily found on Google Maps – Another advantage of getting listed in Google Places is that your business would also be marked in Google Maps, giving the exact location of your business to a potential customer. When you allow your business listing to be found through relevant keywords used in Google Maps, which also works on mobile phones, customers on the move, who are looking for your service, would be able to find you without much hassle.
Cost-effective local marketing – The obvious reason for a small business to use Google Places is that it is a free service. Spending huge amounts of money on billboards, television, radio or print ads is not a practical option for small businesses. Google Places on the other hand allows small businesses to advertise to their potential customers in a given locality and costs much lesser than traditional advertising options.
Making the best use of Google Places
Now that you know about the benefits of Google Places, here are a few tips on how you can make the best use of this service.
Use keywords – Use relevant keywords properly to create an impressive product or service description that appeals to the customers. But avoid overusing or stuffing of keywords, otherwise your search engine page ranking could go down drastically.
Add Images and videos – Business owners listed in Google Places are allowed to add upto 10 images and 5 videos for free. Make the best use of this and upload images of your business establishment, so that it becomes much more easier for customers to find and identify you.
A Google Places page for every location – If your business has different branches at different locations, make sure that each branch has a separate Google Places page with the location’s address and phone number. In case you have just one branch but offer services in different locations, you can create a single page and list down the areas in it.
Encourage reviews – Ask your pleased customers to review and rate your services on Google Places. The higher your ratings, the more number of customers you can get. Try to get as many reviews as possible, but only from genuine sources. However, avoid having too many just for ranking as this can cause Google to push your listing down.