Where do you turn when you’re looking for a local business? Chances are you pull up Google and search either by business name or service. Gone are the days when you turn to the big Yellow Pages phone book stored on a shelf.
Google Places is the new ”Yellow Pages.” This is particularly good news if you are a small business owner (especially one with a brick-and-mortar location) because Google Places listings are free. By simply claiming your listing and keeping it updated, you help customers and prospects find your business – both virtually and physically.
Places operates hand-in-hand with Google Search and Google Maps. To see how this works, open Google and type in the name of a local restaurant or retail shop. You’ll likely see the usual Google search results on the left, and a Google Maps view and Google Places description on the right.
If you have not already claimed your free Google Places business listing, consider that your place of business may already show up on Google Places/Maps — but you aren’t getting the full benefit. The only cost to you is the time and attention needed to verify your listing, complete the full profile with accurate information and return periodically to keep the date up-to-date.
Here are some tips for maximizing use of your free Google Places listing:
- Provide comprehensive information in your profile. Include your location, keywords and a link to your website in your “description.” Include applicable operating hours and accepted methods of payment.
- Finalize the verification with Google with the phone call or post card option.
- Customize your listing with photos (up to 10), videos (up to 5), the brands you sell, coupon offers, etc.
- Ask regular customers to post a review of your business on your Google Places profile and to “check in” on social media when they come in to shop.
- Check your listing regularly – ideally, weekly – to update information and look for reviews. If you receive a negative review, address it promptly to minimize any negative impact.
- Follow the Quality Guidelines provided by Google.
2 Internet Marketing Benefits Too Good to Miss
- When customers or prospects link to your website from Google Places, you gain organic links which can improve your search engine ranking.
- With increasing numbers of customers using GPS apps on a smartphone or tablet to get directions, your accurate information on Google Places/Maps will help drive them to your door.
Don’t miss out on this no-cost internet marketing opportunity for your business. Visit Google Places for Business today. Post a comment to let us know how you’ve used Google Places to help customers find you.
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