March 15, 2015 Michael Bickerton
Google, you know the name, but do you really know the company? Did you know that Google controls more than 78% of all searches in the US, and Google controls more than 87% of all paid search, and 88% of all mobile search in the US? Have you heard of Google Places?
What does this mean to you the marketer and small business owner? Well, Google determines where your site ranks in their organic search results, how the results are displayed, who can advertise on their search pages, and how much a marketer has to pay to be displayed through paid advertising. The point to acknowledge is that Google is a central force for your business and marketing tactics.
Google Places (we’ll use this term for Google Places and Google+ Local) allows you to be listed on Google Maps and also in the organic search results. Google Places is not only a great way to locally list your business; it’s a mandatory marketing initiative for each and every business in North America.
Google has put a great deal of focus on local advertising and mobile marketing. Why is this important? Local is the number one way for consumers to find your business in search, and mobile is fast becoming the number one device for all Internet and Social based activities. If you want to be found, Google Places will ensure that happens.
Google’s primary objective is to ensure that you find what you want, when you want it. Additionally, it’s useful as it allows you to position yourself as a leader in your business niche in a specific location.
Since Google Place’s priority is local, and the local sphere is smaller and has less overall competition, it means that consumers have a much better chance of finding you, when they are looking for you or your service. Give it a try; you’ll see exactly who in your area is using Google Places. Google must be a priority for any company who wants to take advantage to enhance their online presence.
It’s actually quite simple to get started and it takes less than five minutes to get your listing set up and running on one of the largest search engines out there. Follow these steps to get yourself started:
1. Click this link, agree to the terms, and begins adding information about your business in the blanks. The site will prompt you to enter in you email address (use a business email that you want associated with your listing), and after that you will be taken to a screen where you will fill out any other necessary information about your company.
2. You will than verify your business by mail. This will ensure that your business is actually located where you say it is. See, there is still a use for the printed postcard.
3. The final section of your Google places listing has several opportunities that advertisers can utilize in this section. Visit the series of tabs located on the page where you can click fill out a variety of information. We recommend you complete all the information, providing as much detail as possible (this is extremely valuable to retailers). Once all of this information is filled out, you will have to verify that you are the owner of the business for the changes to take effect.
There are many features on Google Places that will make your listing consumer friendly. The opportunity to review your listing is there as well. The ad can be changed and updated.
Marketers can optimize a business listing that it shows up at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Here are a couple of quick and easy ways to make sure your listing is optimized:
Here is a great video on YouTube with simple steps and tips by Simple Biz Support. (Less than 5 minutes).
Before you get started, we recommend that you review this video as well, as for some users, this is a key issue on integration with your Google+ account and your Google+ local page (users with a previously added Google Places account).
In summary, Google Places is one of the most effective ways a small business can engage consumers and get your website in front of the eyes of relevant and local users when they are looking. It’s a very effective tool. Try it a few times, and note how other retailers are taking advantage of Google Places. Just getting started? Put your Google Listing on your website and in your email signature.
Integrating this with AdWords (we’ll cover this another time) makes it easy to create an ad for your audience. Remember that it is extremely important to optimize your Google Places listing by filling out all of the information you can by injecting high res photos and utilizing keywords through out the listing and engaging with reviews.
Google Places is a truly an amazing tool, a small business and marketer dream. The most effective tool you may use when dealing in search. The best part of Google places? It’s Free; you can’t do better than that most days, that’s right FREE!
Interested in knowing more? Check out these tips for getting found.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd March 2015