Business directories have been around for a very long time. They are nothing new to anyone who searches on the Internet.
There are business directories for just Doctors or Lawyers. There are business directories for companies in a certain state or city. There are business directories for just about everything, so why would Google want to start the Google Places business directory?
Google’s market share is dominant. They hold 66.2% of the United States search market according to data published by ComScore in November of 2011.
It is amazing that Google gets over two times the amount of traffic that Bing and Yahoo! get combined. All of this makes it easy to understand why the Google Places business directory is so dominant over other business directories, especially when Google accounts for well over half of the total internet searches conducted by internet users.
Here are four reasons why they started the Google Places business directory and why it’s made Google Places SEO so important for your small business.
1) With The Help Of Google Places, You Can Land On The First Page Of Google
According to research 95% of Internet searchers find their answers on the first page of search results. It is rare for someone to continue onto page 2 or page 3 of the search results to find what they are looking for (source: iCrossing.com). Basically, you might as well be invisible unless you are on the first page of Google.
Google Places listings are shown along with the organic search results when Google local search results are displayed. Google gives preferential treatment to Google Places listings that are associated with a website that is optimized and already showing in the organic search results that came up. So, businesses with Google Places listings and an optimized website are at an advantage and more likely to show up on the first page.
If your Google Places listings are highly detailed and well-optimized, it can easily contribute to your efforts to get to the first page of the best resource for finding new customers, which is Google!
2) You Can Get More Traffic To Your Website Using Google Places
It makes perfect sense that if your Google Places listings can get your business to the first page of search results and sometimes even at the top of the first page, than you are likely to see an increase in traffic on your business website as a result. BrightLocal.com recently published the results of a study that showed Google Places directing 33% of the website traffic directly to the websites of local businesses. With the growing popularity of Google Places, this number is likely to increase dramatically over time!
3) The Mobile Ready Aspect of Google Places
Google Places listings are automatically formatted to be compatible with mobile devices. According to a recent study, 95% of smart phone users are searching for information about local businesses from their phone. Those smart phone users are also known to act quickly, with 88% of them taking action within one day.
The information that is found on smart phone local searches tends to convert to actual business at a much higher rate, with 77% of the people conducting local searches from a mobile phone calling or visiting a local business due to the information presented when they conducted their search. – (sources: Google, BIA/Kelsey). The new and rapidly growing mobile search market can be effectively accessed through Google Places listings.
Most of the people using their mobile phone to search for businesses are using Google to conduct that search, and business owners should not overlook that fact. When it comes to searches that internet users are conducting from their mobile device, up to 96.8% of those mobile searches are conducted through the Google search engine.
Your business can obviously benefit from becoming more visible to those searching from a mobile device through the use of Google Places listings that are well-optimized. It should also be noted that mobile internet usage is expected to surpass traditional internet usage by the year 2015.