Small Business Marketing Strategy – How Google Places Marketing Can Grow Your Business

Consumers searching for various products and local services may account for more than two-thirds of Internet searches, according to studies. With this statistic in mind, programmers at Google have adjusted the way results are presented. There is now more emphasis on local parameters. Google Places marketing is proving to be effective for many owners of small business. Listings are free for business owners and sites have been designed for millions of businesses worldwide.Many of these sites have already been indexed so they show up on page one automatically. In some cases, a business may be listed without the owner taking any action. Many people are probably wondering how this can happen. Since information for Places pages is gleaned from business directories, yellow pages and third-party websites, Google automatically populates the page with content.How to Determine if Your Business has a Places PageSimply enter your business name and zip code or phone number into the Google search box and open up the Maps tab found at the top. Your page will automatically appear if it exists.What it MeansThis is a good start because Google has already created the site. The downside is that the information may not be up to date or totally accurate. There may be a name change or new address or phone number. Claiming the page is the only way to gain access to verify and edit the information.Benefits of Claiming Your PageThere are two main advantages to making the claim on your page. The most important thing is it keeps anyone else from claiming it as their own. This may sound crazy, but it can happen. You should protect your business interests by taking control of this information. Once the page has been claimed, business owners are encouraged to supply other helpful information potential customers may be looking for. There is space to add discount offers, brand names, hours of operation and more. Photos and video demonstrations may also be uploaded.After you have taken the time to claim, verify and update the data, it will be possible to work on improving the page ranking. Of the 50 million pages that have been designed, only three percent have been claimed by their owners. A page that has been claimed can attract more people because the non-claimed page of competitors can be bumped off page one.Improving Your Free ListingHere are some things to keep in mind when filling out the listing:
– Use the proper business name, exactly as it appears offline.
– Provide a complete street address and be sure to add identifiers like north, south and suite number when appropriate.
– List your website URL and a valid local phone number that connects directly to your business so potential customers can gather more information about your company.
– The form offers suggested categories for your listings. Select at least one that is brief but detailed enough to describe what you do.
– Additional data that is not covered anywhere else on the page can be listed in the custom attribute and description fields provided.Explaining CitationsThe business owner is prohibited from adding citations but it is possible to seek them out. The citations are listed under “More About This Place” near the bottom of the page. Citations are culled from listings found on other sites and include name of the business, physical address and phone number. This may sound similar to link building and, in certain ways, it is. Instead of dropping your link on various sites here and there, simply search for websites that are dedicated to business listings like those seen on Online Yellow Pages.How to Encourage ReviewsThe review section of the page is a valuable addition because it gives potential customers an idea of what to expect if they do business with you. Offering excellent customer service and selling only quality products are the most effective ways to garner good reviews from past customers. Encourage any and all satisfied customers to post a review on your Places page. Reviews may also be posted on sites like CitySearch, Insider Pages, Judy’s Book and Yelp.Your page will move up in rank as you accumulate more reviews and citations. As the rank goes up, more visitors will be attracted to your page. By providing lots of helpful information, those visitors can be turned into leads and eventually sales.Adding CouponsAnother helpful tool business owners should take advantage of is the ability to create coupons on the page.This is strongly suggested.Seven Ways to See Success with Google Places
1-Claim your listing and verify the existing information.
2-Make sure your listing is optimized with appropriate keywords.
3-Choose the categories that best fit your business.
4-Upload suitable videos and images to the page.
5-Create customer coupons.
6-Gather as many citations as you can.
7-Set aside time to update coupons and information on a regular basis.Discover Other Options for Local Business MarketingThere are a variety of local search directories that can be helpful to the small business owner. Yahoo Local, Merchant Circle and Bing Local are three such directories. Each has its own rules. It can be time consuming to optimize each listing. If you do not have enough time to do it properly, hire someone who is familiar with these types of listings to do it for you.Give Your Listings the Attention They DeserveMarketing through search directories should be an ongoing process that needs to be monitored carefully. It will be more difficult keeping your listing on page one as more listings are claimed and optimized.Google Places marketing is something that should be addressed from time to time. You will need to devote enough attention to promoting and updating your listing to get the most out of it.