I hope you’re familiar with Google Local Maps & Google Places, because it is is an extremely important online business tool which can literally drive customers to your door. Using the power of Google Maps and Google Places tells your customers your location, the services you offer, and provides them with directions to location of your business. Using Google, anyone can search on the internet and find your business organically, but using Google Maps and Google Places, searchers with find an actual map with a balloon representing your business (and your competition) along with your business profile underneath the map. Customers can easily locate your business, no matter how big or small you are, get driving directions, see pictures or your products and services, watch videos, read reviews, and even go to your website.
Millions of People Search for Businesses and Services Using Google Places Every Day
If your business is local and caters for the needs of local customers in your area, a free placement on Google maps will make it easy for them to reach you. Google allows any business to create, edit and modify their business profile for free and and millions of businesses have already taken advantage of this free opportunity.
The importance of Google maps when it comes to a local marketing strategy cannot be underestimated. Whether your business is a big florist shop or small plumbing service, you should start thinking locally because it is where your potential customers are searching for help. Google’s local maps and Google Places are extremely important to your small business. They add more exposure in the search engines, thus generating more leads and traffic to your business. Each local business listing contains all the essential business information needed for a customer to pick you over the competition; information like your business name, addresses, website URL, phone number, pictures, videos, and reviews.
Why Aren’t You Showing up on the Front Page?
This isn’t always an easy answer, but it may be more obvious than you think. Most businesses still haven’t even claimed and completed their listings. This includes adding keywords, photos, and other essential information. Those that do have the upper-hand over those who don’t. If you haven’t claimed your listing, what are you waiting for? Google Maps and Google Places also have mobile apps for the iPhone and Android Phone, which give location specific results for your business. They help potential customers find your local business listing information while on the go. Google’s Mobile Apps will help clients find your business locally, targeting customers that are traveling in the area of your business. Many business owners want to market themselves online, but have little knowledge or understanding about Google Local Maps and Google Places. Frankly, they are losing customers and money everyday they don’t have their business on the Map.
While some businesses have claimed their listing and even ‘optimized’ it, they are still unsuccessful at getting their business to the front page results. That is because Google is looking for very specific things and most people don’t know what those things are and they aimlessly fiddle around with their settings in frustration. Additionally, some businesses have a good understanding of Google Places and may have even had some success with their listing results. But then Google shifts their algorithms and the rules suddenly change. One day you’re on top and the next day you’re no where to be found. How do you keep up with all the changes? Aren’t you supposed to be running a business and not becoming an expert on Google? If your business relies on Google local maps for its success and your listing disappears, you’re probably losing a lot of money. We know that is accurate, because it is estimated that 87% of online users search using Google for services, merchandise, and information. In anyone’s world, 87% is way too much to leave on the table, so your business better get a Google Places listing setup.
Setting up a Google Places Listing
The first thing you’ll need to set up a Google Map or Google Places listing is a Google Account. The best part about Google accounts is that they are free. You may find that your business already has a listing, but it is unclaimed and void of any important content. These are created by Google and they are just waiting for you to claim them and optimize them. Once you have your Google account created, do a quick search for your business listing using your primary phone number to see a listing already exists.
Remember, your phone number is like a Social Security Number to Google and it is the easiest way to find your listing. If a listing exists for your business, you need to claim it. While logged into your Google account, go to your Google Places listing and Click the ‘Business Owner?’ link in the upper right hand corner. Follow the instructions for claiming the listing and be prepared to verify that you are indeed the owner. Google verifies by either sending a postcard with a pin number on it to the address of your business or with an automated phone call from Google with a pin number.
Now that you are the verified owner of the listing, you can make changes to it. Start by filling in, and correcting if necessary, all the fields in the listing. Business name, address, phone, website, pictures, hours, etc. Optimizing your listing with keywords and accurate information will put you ahead of the majority of businesses that haven’t yet claimed their listing, but it won’t get you on the front page if you have any amount of competition. Getting on the front page is difficult. Google has specific expectations, but they don’t tell you what they are and if you do it incorrectly, you may even be penalized without knowing it. This is frustrating to a lot of businesses, but it is the reality of playing in the sand in Google’s sandbox.
Do You Have the Knowledge, Skills, and Time Required to Have a Front Page Google Local Maps Placement?
If not, you’re not alone. It is probable that 99% of the business owners are more interested in running their business than figuring out Google. Those who can, turn to professionals for help. Using an expert, someone who knows what Google wants and expects, will save you a lot of time and money. So, if after completing the above procedures to claim and optimize your business listing, your still not showing up where you’d like to be on Google Maps or Google Places – consider speaking to a Google Places Professional . Doing so may help you regain your lost 90% customer base or bring you 90% more customers! Already, millions of small businesses are using Google Local Maps and Google Places, but very few of them are using it correctly. This leads to poor placement results, fewer phone calls, less sales, and more headaches. If after you’ve done all you can do on your listing and you still aren’t getting the results you desire, consider contacting a professional service; they may be able to help your business get proper page placement on the front page of Google Local Maps.