Launched in 2009, Google Places was developed to serve as an online yellow pages – allowing businesses to park virtual offices in their prospective locations on Google Maps, and then to furnish those offices with everything relevant about their businesses that they would want potential customers to know. Since then, Google Places has completely overtaken the yellow pages market, making that big, cumbersome book all but obsolete. As a matter of fact, statistics show that 97 percent of all consumers use the Internet as their number one source for finding local businesses. In light of these startling numbers, it seems that many businesses are still struggling with the logistics of using Google Places to its maximum potential. How can you get the most out of your Google Places listing? Here are five ways to use Google Places for your business:
Your Google Places listing. The first step to establishing your presence on Google Places is to create your listing. This is done in three simple steps: submitting all of your pertinent business information, providing Google with verification that your business is what you say it is (business card, website, business advertisement, etc.), and then waiting for Google to approve and feature your listing.
Keywords and relevant content. When adding content to your Google Places listing, be sure to make it as relevant and keyword-rich as possible. This will improve your organic search engine ranking. Take time to do ample keyword research when creating your content.
Images. Load your Google Places listing with plenty of photographs, and even videos, depicting your business. Studies show that web surfers are much more responsive to images than to text, and using keyword-tagged images also moves you up in the Google search engine rankings.
Encourage reviews. Your Google Places listing allows for your customers to write and post reviews to your space. Customer reviews are a great way to promote your business, so be sure to ask your satisfied customers to help you out in this respect.
Google Business Photos. Although this free Google service is still just catching on, it can be a great way for you to dramatically improve upon your Google Places listing. Basically, when you sign on with Google Business Photos, Google will send out a photographer to do a 360 degree photoshoot of the interior of your business, so that visitors to your Google Places listing can take a virtual tour.
As you can see, there are a number of ways in which a Google Places listing can greatly benefit your business.