So your business predominantly operates offline and doesn’t necessarily have a roaring website, that doesn’t mean that you can’t exploit the massive reach and availability of the internet. In fact, more people carry out searches online, using search engines like Google, when looking for businesses in their local area than anywhere else. Google even puts this figure at 97%, so you can really see the importance of having a Google business listing online. Having said this, can your business afford not to be benefiting from appearing in these search results?
With your Google business listing, it will show up in Google Places like the Google Maps and in Google search results. No worries -- you don’t need to be a tech genius to start taking advantage of this handy tool. Let’s have a look at the 5 key features of Google Places where in your Google local business can be promoted:
Online Yellow Pages
Nowadays, people don’t use a phone book or Yellow Pages when searching for a local business – they use the internet. That’s why it’s so important to get your business listed in this online directory, particularly if your service offerings are limited to your local area only. However, unlike a traditional phone directory, Google Places doesn’t just contain a short address and telephone number. In fact, it can contain a wealth of valuable information relating to your business, which is why it’s important that you get your listing right.
Higher Search Engine Ranking
Having a Google business listing that can be found in Google Places is designed for people searching for businesses in their local area. That means that the competition to rank high in Google search is dramatically reduced. This is because you’re only competing with similar businesses that are located close to your geographic location. Therefore, if your listing is detailed and complete, there’s a strong chance that you’ll rank highly, if not at the top.
Google Maps Integration
Google Places integrates beautifully with Google Maps, which makes your business listing even more prominent. Individuals can not only see your business’s address and telephone number, but they can also see exactly where you’re located on Google Maps. This is especially great for people conducting searches while traveling. They’ll often search for keywords on Google Maps and, if optimised correctly, there’s a strong likelihood that your business will appear in their search results. Don’t forget that Google Map download is available on nearly every smartphone and so your business suddenly has a massive reach when it comes to local searches.
Showcase Your Customer Reviews
Do your customers love your products and services and do they keep coming back for more? If that’s the case, why not showcase what your customers’ think through reviews. These can be placed directly on your Google business listing and will obviously encourage other people to avail your services and buy your products.
All you need to do is direct your customers to your Google Places listing and ask them to submit a review. The more positive reviews you get, the more trusted your business will become. Just ensure that you really are providing quality service every time as negative reviews will obviously harm your business’s reputation.
Google Business Listing: Cost-effective Marketing Strategy
Like social media channels, Google Places listings are extremely cost-effective forms of online marketing. That’s because they’re free! This is especially beneficial to small local business who cannot afford to spend large sums of money on billboards, TV campaigns, radio adverts, print ads and the like.
There is also a premium offering, which includes Adwords Express ad Google Offers integration, but this is something that should be investigated once your Google business free listing is completed as follows:
1. Claim your business – this adds authority to your listing and prevents anyone else from editing your info.
2. Reflect your brand – in your business description and details. For example, ‘Westlake Car Hire’ is better than ‘Westlake Cars’.
3. Include quality images – these will bring your Google business listing to life and allow potential customers to see your product offerings.
4. Categorise yourself correctly – take time choosing your business’s categories. After all, you don’t want to show up in sandwich shop search results if you’re a swanky bistro.
- Google Places is the new Yellow Pages – start utilising it
- Request reviews from your loyal customers to boost your brand
- Optimise your listing with detailed descriptions and information
- Use high quality images to bring your listing to life
- Ensure the categories that your business falls under are totally relevant
**Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net