By David Kendall on 14 August 2012 @ 1:13 PM.
Gone are the days of finding a local business through your large book of yellow pages. Most consumers use the internet to track down a local business, whether they are looking for a website, phone number, or physical address. In fact, according to Google, 97% of consumers search for a local business online when they want more information about it. While other forms of marketing are still important, an online presence is pretty essential to bringing in new customers and staying relevant. Google Places is one tool that will drive people to your website and create a healthy brand awareness.
When someone searches for your business name on Google, or even the type of business you run and your city name, up to seven local businesses show up in the 'Places' section of the search results. This section is usually near the top of all results, accompanied by a Google map showing pin drops for the street addresses of each top business. The first local business to show up in the 'Places' results are the ones that have the most relevant Google Places listing. By creating a Places listing for your business, you can therefore create brand awareness by increasing the likelihood that Google users will see your business near the top of their search results.
One of the major benefits of Google Places, on top of the fact that the tool is free, is that it only takes three pretty easy steps to get your account up and running. Just provide your physical address, fill out a description of your business and the category in which it belongs, and then verify your listing over the phone or via post card. Once you’re officially verified by Google, you’ll be up and running on Google Places. Be sure to include your website in the business description, so people can easily click through to your site and find out more about how to contact you or make a purchase. It’s also important to have your phone number on your website – Google will crawl the website you provide to see if it provides a phone number.
OK, so you have a Google Places account – now what? You want your Google Place listing to show up in the top map results for relevant searches, so it’s vital to add some details to your listing. If your account has merely the bare bones of information, Google won’t give it a high enough score to be listed among the top search results. Add photos to your account, like a shot of the storefront or menu items, and tag the images with the keywords that people are likely to use when they look for your business on the internet. It’s also helpful to have positive reviews of your business in your Google Places listing, so encourage customers or clients to search for you and then leave your business good reviews. Finally, be very specific when you create a description – providing a unique description that doesn’t include general statements will help you stand out among the other listings and show up first.
With the advent of Google Plus, a social networking site, it’s even easier for people to find your Google Places listing on the internet. Google Places listings can be found in Google Plus, and Plus users can not only write a review for you, but also share that review and your business with their social networking connections. This may help your brand awareness grow exponentially – and best of all, you won’t have to spend any more of your own time or money spreading the word about your brand. Encourage your customers to find you on Google Plus and write a review to share with friends -- like Google Places, Google Plus is totally free to join and use.
Another key to keeping your Google Places listing relevant is by staying engaged. Always keep your address, website, and other details current so that your customers can find you easily. You should also stay on top of the customer reviews, because Google gives you the opportunity to respond to feedback, both positive and negative. Build positive a positive brand image by responding promptly in a professional way to any comments that are left on your Google Places listing. Use these opportunities to drive people to your website for more information.
Google Places can be a great tool for driving people to a website and letting locals know you’re open for business. By taking the time to fill out an accurate and complete listing, people in your neighborhood can more easily find you, love you, and start to spread the word.
This content was published by an author that has no affiliation with Clubnet Search Marketing, we will sometimes publish content from guest bloggers and the views, opinions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of Clubnet Search Marketing.