We’re all familiar with Google Search. Most of us use it every day to find information and data to help us with our jobs and make our daily easier or perhaps, just more entertaining. However, Google is not only a search engine. It also has a range of tools that provide marketers with social networking and content creation opportunities. Google Places is one of these lesser known tools, but used correctly, it can help your business get found on local search results on both Google Search and Google Maps. In fact, you’ve probably unknowingly used it yourself to find a local restaurant or handyman. So, what exactly us Google Places and why is it important?
Google Places is a free service that lets you list useful information about your business for potential customers to see. It’s sort of like the Web 2.0 version of a Yellow Pages ad, but better. With Google Places you can:
- Gain more visibility for your business
- Attract more traffic to your web site
- Level the playing field and appear higher up in search results
You probably already have a Google Places listing and don’t even know it. Google collects data from multiple sources, some of which may be outdated or incorrect and aggregates these into a Places listing. As an experiment, I checked Google Places listings for several Cisco partners and found the following:
- Only one out of the 10 listings I checked had been claimed and verified by the partner company.
- Some included incorrect address and phone numbers
- Business categories noted within the profile included ecommerce, software company, computer consultant… Not very representative of the value our partners bring to their customers and prospects.
So, if you haven’t done so already, create and/or claim your Google Places listing as soon as possible. When creating or updating your listing be sure to do the following:
- Optimize the listing by using key words that are directly relevant to the products and services you provide.
- Add images, photos, and videos to create a rich and robust listing. The extra information will help Google match your listing to more searches and ultimately increase the number of views your receive.
What are you waiting for? Check out Google Places User Guide to get started.