Google Places can help small businesses or individuals get found and discovered through the use of their Local Search feature. Good search engine results do not only get your business seen on the web, but also in person. As people are able to find out exactly where your business is located with a quick Local Search with Google Places, more visitors and customers may patronize your enterprise. This is only one of the benefits of Google Places' Local Search tool.
Google Places and Maps has been around for a while, but only recently has it seen widespread use in not just computers, but other devices like smart phones and tablets. More and more people who have access to this service can turn them into customers for your business, if that is your intention. Using Google Places to boost your business income through smart and accurate information may just be the chance you are looking for.
Google Maps and Google Places
Formerly known as Google Local, Google Maps is a mapping application that includes many map-based services spanning the entire globe. Some of these services include the Google Transit, Google Ride Finder and other, more flexible features. These features can even be utilized to plan routes for small trips around town, cross-country traveling, international trips, or even just finding a local business near you.
Finding local businesses is where Google Places comes in. Google Places was initially part of a plan called Google Local Search, but did not gain much popularity and was eventually curbed. Google Places is a revitalization of this function aimed at businesses to large corporations, and is currently in its developer preview stages.
Advantages of Google Places
Google lists many advantages to the Google Places' Local Search system on their website:
- Using Google Places is free of charge.
- Businesses without physical storefronts can use it, since businesses only need mailing addresses to operate.
- Multiple business locations can be listed.
- Support for photos, videos and even special offers can be listed on your Google Places site.
- Businesses can also gather data to learn more about customers' keyword preferences on search engines and personal backgrounds.
The Google Places website states that about 97% of people search for businesses and storefronts online. It is true that many people now rely on the Internet, particularly search engines, to find stores and businesses that relate to their needs and interests. For this reason, Google Places and their local search tool may be what your business has been looking for in terms of the perfect online advertising venue.
Another statement from Google states that one out of every five searches made on the Google search engine is related to a business' location. Customers will typically search for businesses near them for the most convenience. Sometimes, convenience wins over the prices they have to pay for goods and services at their chosen store, too.
In addition to Google Places, local searches can benefit from the optional integration with Google AdWords, an easy-to-use SEO advertising tool also offered by Google. AdWords can easily be integrated into Google Places to make local searches even more relevant to your business, no matter how vague search engine terms seem when typed.
If you own a business, then it just may benefit from being integrated into Google Places regardless of how big or small it is. Small businesses can benefit especially from its free, easy-to-use nature, giving you a cost-effective way to advertise on the largest billboard available to anybody in the world today: the Internet.
How to Use Google Places
Using Google Places for customers to see your name in a local search is very easy, even for not so computer savvy business owners. How a not so tech-savvy individual with little computer technology is able to put up whole businesses still remains a mystery, but using Google Places is not.
In fact, it can be done in three easy steps:
- Submitting your contact information
- Verifying your listing through post or phone
- Waiting for your listing to pop up on Google
- Use a local number as the primary phone number, with a toll-free or fax number as a secondary.
- Make sure you are consistent with how you write and list your own company name. Include any suffixes that go along with it, so if your company name includes GmbH or LLC, then write it with the name so your company does not get mixed up with another.
- When your listing is up, avoid keyword stuffing. In addition to being bad practice, it will actually hurt your business listing rather than boost it.
- Google Places can benefit from the use of SEO techniques. In fact, Google also offers AdWords, an SEO advertising tool that can be fully integrated with Google Places.
- Post videos, photos, and reviews, as this may serve a better interface between potential customers and businesses. Customers generally would like to know what they will be getting into when searching for a business.