So What is Google Places and Why Does Your Business Need to Claim it!
Google is the largest search engine in the world with nearly 70% of the market share. This single fact alone makes it vitally important that your business claims its Google Places Page. It’s the most important directory listing you should have and it’s free. Secondly it should be correctly optimized so it will get found on the first page of Google. Then when prospects are looking for your products and services from their desktops or smart phone it’s you they are find and not your competition.
What is Google Places?
If you have gone to a Google Places Page that is empty or has little information on it you will notice how unprofessional it looks. This is a poor reflection on the company you don’t want, so ensure your Google Places Page is filled out completely with all your companies’ information and you will attract more customers.
You will need to add your company name, address, zip/post code, telephone, fax and website. Also include your opening times, payment methods, category and lots of photos and videos.
‘People don’t do business with businesses they do business with people!’
Use photos and videos on your Google Places Page to show customers that you are real, personable and trustworthy. Also show photos of the inside and outside of your shop, restaurant or office so people can easily recognize and find it.
Videos can be like your own TV commercial but hosted online and available to see 24/7. They can also be FAQ’s or customer testimonials that will help win over new customers.
Getting all this right will give you the edge over your competition so you get the business you need not only to survive but also prosper in today’s market.
Still not sure if you need to be on Google Places?
Lets look at some interesting local search marketing facts and figures about Google Places and the future of local search:
* 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. (Google)
* Google dominate as the primary site used to search for local businesses with 74% market share.
* 59% of consumers report using Google every month to look for a good local business.
* 71% of searchers report they value the information provided in local search results.
* 60% of online searchers report that they notice images and logos on local search results more. However less than half the businesses that have claimed their Google Places Page haven’t included them.
* Only 20% of businesses have added a video to their local Google Places listing
Google have now integrated Google Places listings into organic SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages) but when your Google Places Page is optimized correctly you can still reach the top spots.
The Future of Local Search is Mobile
According to a 2010 Google study, 1 in 3 mobile searches are local, and 61 percent of those users actually called the business. So it is vitally important that your Google Places Page is optimized for mobile with your company name, address, website and telephone number.
* 33 percent of mobile users are looking to access local content relevant to their GPS positioned location (eMarkerter, August 2011).
* 77.1 Million mobile subscribers use local content on a mobile device accounting for 33% of all mobile subscriptions.
* Only 5% of business who have claimed their Google Places Page have added a mobile coupon to their local listing
There is a huge opportunity for your business to jump ahead of the competition. More and more local searches are now being conducted, not on desktops but on smart phones. So as technology moves forward we have to stay ahead of the competition to. The release of the iPhone 4S is the game changer, here’s why…
The iPhone S4 comes with Siri voice recognition integrated into its operating system. This in short means it can answer questions and perform actions across multiple Apps. With a single voice command, Siri can control Apps and search Google Places Maps.
This will revolutionize local mobile search, making it both simpler and user friendly. By simply speaking a command like ‘florist near me’ Siri uses your geo-targeted location to perform a local search of florists in your immediate area leveraging the Google Places Maps database of local businesses. It will also search for listings and reviews from other sites like Yelp and City Search.
It delivers a list of results from within the App, then allows the smart phone user to speak another command ‘get directions’.
So to ensure your local search listing gets picked up by Siri it is now more important then ever to ensure your Google Places Page is fully completed with your company name, address, telephone number and website.
You should be in the correct categories and include the keywords your customers use to find you such as Orthodontist or Florist. The description field should also be SEO friendly and include your keywords, photos named with your keywords and videos have your name address and telephone number in their description (and hosted on Youtube).
It’s important to maintain your other listings on Yelp and City Search etc and encourage reviews for all your local directory listings including Google Places.
So there’s no doubt that the smartest business decision you can make today is to claim your Google Places Page and get it completed correctly and fully optimized with your essential business information.
Blend Local Search Marketing can do this for you and will even make you a video to promote your company online. For more information of what Blend can do for you click here.
Summary: Claim your Google Places and other online local directory listings ( Yelp, Yellow Pages, Qype, City Search, etc.) ASAP. Complete them with relevant information about your businesses and its physical location.
Blend Local Search Marketing Ltd.
Overseas House, 66-68 High Road, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, WD23 1GG
Tel: +44 203 114 5119
Perry Stevens is the founder and CEO of Blend Local Search Marketing Ltd. He’s a tea drinker, cocoa grower and a frequent traveller.
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