What Is Google Places And How Do I Use It For My Small Business?
During these tough economic times for small business, you’ll be pleased to know that you can still advertise, or at least market your business online with a free tool called Google Places.
You see, one thing that keeps going “up” in this economy is Internet traffic and the amount of searches being conducted every day. That’s where Google Places comes in because it’s a free service created by Google for businesses just like yours.
Google Places is essentially a listings directory sponsored by Google that allows businesses to create an informative page about their location, map, services, products, hours, staff, specials, etc., using text, images and even video.
There’s a lot of flexibility in how you may create your Google Places page, but suffice to say the more data you have on the page the better results you’ll get because it’s just better for your SEO or search engine optimization.
Is a Google places page a website? Not exactly, and it shouldn’t really replace your website, but you can link your Google Places listing to your website, creating more credibility and authority for both.
The most important thing you should realize about Google Places is these pages tend to show up on the first page of Google search results, as opposed to the businesses’ own websites. In fact, you’ve probably seen them already if you’ve done any type of local searches yourself. They really stand out visually on the first page because they have these little map markers right beside the listings.
You can see as many as ten of these listings on the first page of a Google search, and they absolutely dominate visually, which gets people to click on those listings. Let’s put it this way, if you do NOT have a Google Places page, you just will NOT show up in relevant local search results.
Did I Mention It’s Free To Create A Google Places Page?
To sign up use your Gmail account and then submit your business in the Google Places directory. This is known as claiming your Google places page, and it’s a simple form-filling exercise and then a mailed confirmation from Google. Your address, contact, and telephone number of course are critically important.
When they ask for descriptive phrases, you need to use common competitive terms that people are likely to search for when looking for your products or services. Those words will help your search engine optimization and show your listing in competitive searches. To get a better idea of the type of content that works, you should do a search yourself and look at competing Google Places pages.
Use Pictures In Your Google Places Listing For Better SEO
Everyone’s got a digital camera these days so before you submit your listing take a bunch of pictures – including your storefront, best-selling products, office space, reception area, pictures of staff, etc. and put them on your listing as well. You should also make sure to have competitive terms in the filenames of these pictures, and do the same with adding descriptive phrases to their tags when you upload them.
Why not do a YouTube video as well? Just set up a free YouTube account and embed that video on your Google Places page. Again, use proper titling and descriptive phrases for this or any other graphical content you add to your listing. If you take two different Google Places pages and compare them for ranking, the one with pictures and video is going to rank higher.
Once Your Listing Is Up, You’ll Need Customer Reviews And Citations
Don’t just wait for your places page to show up in listings, start working on it immediately by encouraging your customers to comment on your Google Places page. Google really likes customer reviews because it shows that your business is legitimate and active in that community.
Another thing to encourage your customers to do is use external sites to add positive comments as well. This could include review sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, or UrbanSpoon, which can provide citations back to your listing that carry a lot of weight as to how your Google Places page will be ranked.
Google Places Allows You To Create Online Coupons
One of the best ways to get people to comment is to offer coupons right from your Google Places page. These can be easily designed online with any specifications you like, including asking users to make comments. When these coupons come into your store, you’ll surely realize how effective your Google Places page can be.
If you’d like more information on our “done for you” solution for Google Places give us a call!