If you are familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you should become familiar with Google Places and Google+ Local. In terms of promoting your website online, Google Places for Business and Google+ Local fall under the heading of SMO (social media optimization) which directly ties into SEO (search engine optimization). We have been approached by several companies, which while they have a nice website that is put together well, they cannot figure out why they do not appear within the Google Places section of a search query.
Organic SEO can help you get into the organic listings, however, there are several other steps that are required for you to appear within the Google Places section. Below, we share with you why exactly you need these accounts and what you are most definitely missing out on if you don’t already have this completed.
Google Places for Business
Today, an amazing 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Let us repeat that in case you didn’t read it correctly. 97% of consumers search a local business online prior to purchasing. Trust us on this one. Think back to when you were looking for a specific product locally or maybe you had a repair that needed to be completed on your house. People even research a restaurants now, prior to making the drive to go visit, even if they have heard in person a good review from their friends. If you are not within the Google Places listing, you are missing out on a big chunk of business.
Google Places for Business (a free local platform from Google) makes it possible for visitors to find you online when they’re looking. It helps your business stand apart from the competition by allowing you to add photos, update your address and hours, or promote your business with advertisements. Filling out a Google Places account should be on the top of your list to grow your business. When activating an account, be sure to fill out all the information in it’s entirety and include the maximum amount of photos required. As an Omaha SEO Company, we have learned that taking the time to complete the sections will give you a little bit of a bump over your competition.
Tip: Be sure to update pictures and promotions every three weeks within Google Places. We will explain more of why in a blog down the road.
Benefits for All Omaha Companies in Google Places
Places for Business lets you make the most of your listing and shows customers why they’ll want to choose you. It helps people find, share, rate, and recommend your business to their friends and people across the web. Places for Business also lets you see what people are saying, and respond to customer reviews. Customer Reviews are very important when you have an account. Be sure to address any customer reviews good or bad in a timely manner. As an Omaha SEO Company, we are approached weekly by companies looking to remove a negative customer review off their Google Places account. Unfortunately, this is not possible due to the Google Places rules. However, you can attempt to provide a solution to the negative review. Addressing it in a professional manner is better than leaving it unattended.
How to Register for Google Places
Adding your listing to Google Places for Business is free, and Google doesn’t accept payment to include particular listings or sites in their search results. However, they do offer locally-targeted advertising through Google AdWords Express. Many of you may be familiar with Google AdWords as you have used them in the past. If you feel like you wasted money in this area or are confused on how to get started, contact us and we can help you down the right path.
To take advantage of Google Places for Business, every business listing must have a mailing address. If you work from home or you are a mobile business you can specify a “service area” in the sign up process and choose to hide your physical address. To get maximum results in search engines it is recommended that you have a physical working location, not a home office. You are only allowed one listing per physical location. Even if you cover multiple towns, you should instead use the description of your business or categories to explain the different services for your business. During the registration process you will be prompted with a verification process in which you can select to confirm location by phone or mail. If you select phone you will receive a call and be required to fill in the pin during the call. The most common verification process is by mail. You will receive a postcard in the mail and login to your Google Places account and populate the code within the postcard into the authorization section.
Your local listing, such as Google Places, can now be found in Google+ making it easy for people to review and share your business with friends and around the web.
Contact Big Red SEO Today!
Do you have questions about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Get in touch with a successful Omaha SEO Company such as Big Red SEO (402) 522-6468, or fill out our contact form. Our mission is to help businesses be found where their customers are looking. More than ever, potential customers are searching for services in their local area. We can help you get the results you deserve.