If you’ve got a local business, it’s time to get on Google Places, claim your listing and start optimizing it. Google Places isn’t just a passing fad. It’s the future of how we’ll search for local businesses. Let me take that back – it’s not the future; it’s already happening now.
A Look At The Numbers
In 2011, the number of businesses that either claimed or listed themselves on Google Places doubled. It’s expected to do more than that each year. This means that they’re grabbing up those keywords fast. Right now, Google Places is still a Wild West of opportunity. Now’s the time to get on it.
According to Google, 20% of searches are now local. That’s around 3 billion searches per month. As more people use their mobile devices to search for local businesses, this percentage is going to climb. It’s estimated that there are about 500,000 new smartphone activations each day.
Climb The Google Results
Have you noticed that Google Places listings show up at the top of Google search results? Your business could be here too. If you optimize your listing well with good keywords, complete information, and some pics and vids, you can easily get it onto the first page of Google’s search results.
One of the great things about claiming your business on Google Places is that there’s a good chance your competition hasn’t done it yet. Lots of small businesses don’t have any idea how important this is yet. You can be the first business in your area to jump on it and get an advantage over your competitors.
Reviews Give Your Rep A Boost
Google Places is a little different from a usual website because it has customer reviews. Few businesses realize yet how helpful these reviews are. When someone is searching for your products or services, and they see your listing full of good reviews from other customers, it works like magic. This is called ‘social proof,’ and it’s like getting a recommendation from a friend.
It’s even helpful if you’ve got a few negative reviews there. First of all, they can offer you constructive feedback about areas where you can improve. Some companies pay marketing firms tens of thousands of dollars to get information like this. You can get it for free here.
Negative comments and reviews also offer a great PR opportunity if you know how to deal with them effectively. You can do this by addressing their questions, complaints and concerns. It shows other customers that you’re a business that listens when they speak, and that’s great for your reputation.
What this means for your business is that there’s no time to waste. It takes just a few minutes to create or claim a listing for your business, and it’s completely free. If you don’t claim your listing, you’re not taking control of your business’s reputation online.
Local Business Marketing Strategy