How to Get the Most Out of Google Places

Travis Van SlootenSmall Business SEO

As a small business owner, one of your primary objectives is to stretch your marketing dollars as far as you can, while gaining the maximum return for your buck. For years, small business owners relied on word of mouth advertising and a thick, yellow phone directory to attract customers and stretch those marketing dollars. The Yellow Pages has now morphed into a concept called Google Places, a free service Google offers to business owners.

The Yellow Pages and Google Places share a common objective: getting your small business noticed. With the Yellow Pages, you add color and large font to your ad, so it stands out among your competitors.

To get your business noticed in Google Places, you need to implement slightly different, yet equally effective, steps. You want your small business to rank high on Google’s search engine results page, preferably in the top seven. Google commands nearly two-thirds of all local business searches, so you need to know how to get the most out of Google Places.

Like your business’ organic website, the key to ranking high in Google’s search engine is optimizing your Google Places content. This is where we can help you.

We will identify the keywords that customers use to find your business. Once we identify the keywords or a string of keywords, we will strategically integrate them into your Google Places information.

While keywords certainly enhance your small business listing, you need to follow additional steps to ensure your small business lands on Google’s all-important first search results page.

Business Information

The first, and most important step, is to complete the business information page. You must accurately input information such as your business name, local phone number, physical address, and website URL.

The physical address is especially important, since many a searchers add geographic modifiers to their searches. You also choose up to five categories to list your business.

Additional Information

Once you fill out the general business information, Google Places prompts you to provide details about your business. This is where you can maximize your search engine optimization (SEO).

By listing the products and service that your small business offers, you make it easy for prospective customers to find your business. For example, if you sell golf equipment, you want to list the brand names that your business carries.

The adage of “the more the merrier” applies to the Details section of your Google Places listing.

Visuals

Content ruled search engine optimization, until YouTube came along and changed the rules of the game. Google now includes video and photograph keywords in its search engine rankings.

Google Places provides you the space to upload ten photographs and five videos. Pictures of your products enhance your local business ranking. “How to…” videos are an especially effective way to bolster your business listing.

Reviews

Google culls all of the reviews about your business from myriad third party sources, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. Google also incorporates its own consumer reviews. Encourage your loyal customers to post reviews online. Engage reviewers with responses to their reviews. Be proactive when it comes to negative reviews.

Third Party Directories

Google does not monopolize your business listing. In fact, your business listing ranks higher in Google’s search engine when you list in third party directories.

Make sure your business lists in the Yelp, Bing, Foursquare, and Yahoo! local business directories. You can review how effectively you have utilized these directories by going to www.GetListed.org and checking out your score.

Many small business owners believe they have to make a substantial financial investment to implement a compelling Internet marketing campaign. Shrewd small business owners understand that by using Google Places (and practicing Google Places SEO), they can accomplish a high search engine ranking, without spending the money that is required from PPC or other types of costly Internet marketing strategies.

The process to get your small business noticed is not complicated. You just need to devote a little of your time to get the most out of Google Places.