Before talking about what Google Places is and how it helps you feast on Google’s expense, I’d like to present an Example of local business Google listings below. The image given below is a screenshot of the search results obtained by searching for a Sushi restaurant called Sushi Yasuda at MidTown East, New York. The search was performed outside of the United States, with a normal Google.com search settings.
If you haven’t claimed your listing with Google Places (Local Business Center) and Google Maps then you are missing out on an unprecedented opportunity to boost your sale. Google Places and Google Maps are akin to Google of early days, when indexing was equivalent to ranking. Well, these may be a bit more competitive, but still it is nothing in comparison to the effort required to rank in normal (non-map, non-place) Google SERP.
It is not a secret that Google shares as much as 70% of the search market, which hypothetically means that 70% of your customers come from Google. It also means that anything that helps you come at the top of the Google SERP is worth your time and investment. Google Places and Google Maps are two such things.
With Google Places and you don’t even need a website to promote your services. All you need to do is to add your business details, photos, and coupon to set the show. This is how the Internet is Changing Advertising and marketing techniques.
Early this year in January at SEO 2010, where Local Listings was top on 10 SEO tasks, I wrote, “If you own a retail business, you must avail this Free Service from Google. You can add your business details, photos, working hours, and video to your local listings. Also you can Offer a coupon to your prospects to increase your sale.” This view was lapped by some, and was left on table by many.
It is almost the end of the year 2010, and not-so-accidently those who lapped my idea are ruling Google for their local keywords, while those who considered it crap are still running, panting, slipping, but still not even near the top.
What is Google Places?
Google Places has been exclusively designed for small businesses. It allows business owners to claim their business and customize their listing on Google Maps. Just think of the possible avenues that an updated business details that appear on Google Maps, Google.com search and mobile results, and GOOG-411 will open for you.
Advanced features, including coupons and impression statistics, allow business owners to enhance and monitor their online presence. View the detailed video below:
Remember, your conversion rate is always higher when you target local customers with local listings because when a person needs something which is not digital content (let’s say a piece of furniture) he needs it in his locality. For him, a company with national presence has less meaning.
He cares more for a company that serves in his locality. This kind of searches is rising, according to Google, and Google inclusion of such results at the top, for local keywords, is enough proof of it. By using this free service, it’s very easy to showcase your services to new customers in the neighborhoods you serve.
I did some research and would like to share the result in form of videos that I found. These videos, made by Google, will show how easily you can get your free local business listings, get your sales up, and increase your customer base:
Free Service #1. Invite Google Photographer to your shop and establishments.
At present, I believe this is exclusively available for businesses in the United States. Business owners can invite Google photographers into their establishments to take high-quality images of their businesses, which subsequently is uploaded to a website.
Upon searching for the relevant keywords, users can view those photographs and learn more about the company by visiting the Google Place pages of your business establishment is — restaurant, hotel, or whatever it is. To apply for that or to learn more about it, please visit http://maps.google.com/businessphotos.
Free Service #2. Google Places Holiday Webinar: 7 Tips to Increase Your Holiday Sales.
How can you use Google Places and Google Tags to reach more customers during the holiday season? Claim your free Google Places page to uncover the basic tips as well as best practices of Google Places and Maps optimization. You can also make your listing stand out with Google Tags. To learn more visit: http://places.google.com/tags
Free Service #3. Google Places How-To Webinar
Want to learn how to verify your listing on Google? Watch this step-by-step webinar to ensure your information is accurate, so that people can easily find you. No one like sweating on the keyboard, mind you!
Free Service #4. Get help from Google Places Moderators.
Conart from Los Angeles, California, asked, “When I type in my store name Conart and the address of it, I cannot see my listing on Google Maps; however, when I see my account’s dashboard it says verified and 93% complete. What does all this mean, and what do I need to do to complete or submit my listing?” Google’s summer intern, Harrison Lee, lends his new knowledge to answer this question.
I ask you to claim your local listings today and start the ball rolling! I was very much busy these days creating local listings for my clients. I tracked the performance, analyzed the impressions and actions, and asked my clients if things are moving up. To my astonishment they were, and the awesomeness of these free Google tools made me type out this article to share with you my views on Google Places and Google Maps.
If you are a small business owner who needs help with local listings then contact me. I will be happy to offer my consultation for FREE. However, for bulk listing work (Multi-locations) or for above-50 new business listings, I will have to hire a small team of SEO who knows ins and outs of local business listings.
Ask me if you need me and my team to work on bulk listing. In the recent past, the team has helped me get better local listing for the clients who need local listing for many locations.
I personally don’t accept bulk listing work, but I will be happy to manage the same for you. For that, I will seek assistance of some the Local SEO experts at MarkupSEO, The team has worked with me, and I have personally trained some of their employees in the past, so I can trust them completely. They are among the best available people for local listing.