Jan
29
2011

How to Properly Use Google Places Business Listing

Among the top free online marketing tools for business owners today is Google Places.  Known as Google Local Business Centre upon its initial release, it has become an essential tool in increasing popularity of a business on the Web to attract local consumers.

And even though millions of consumers are looking for local businesses using Google Local Marketing, or popularly known as Google Maps Marketing, everyday, Google offers the tool for free.

Find out all about Google Places and how you can use it to your advantage in these ten simples tips:

Tip 1 – Use your real Business Name

Other business owners tried inserting extra words in their business name. The move might have resulted to a short-term boost in clicks, but not for long because Google is punishing this practice. That said you can consider adding 1-2 keywords in your name as long as it sounds natural and accurately represents your business. Here’s a good example:

Real business name – Fred Withers Ltd
Google Places listing name – Fred Withers Plumbing Ltd

Tip 2 – Ensure your Business Information is 100% accurate

It’s important that you get your business information right. Give your prospect clients what they’re looking for exactly: the right business information. Here are the information you need to add correctly: business address, email, fax number, telephone number, and website. Always use your real address not a PO box number, and make sure you list your local phone number not a 0800 or free phone number of any sort.

Tip – 3 Choose the right Business Categories and more of them

There are 5 different categories you can list your business on Google Maps Marketing, which affect local search marketing factors. It’s important that you choose your category carefully. You want your potential customer to find your business under the right category. Google will suggest categories; it’s best to use 1 or 2 of them even if it looks unfitting to your business. After that you can write your own (free-form) categories up to 3 more that give your business extra coverage. Ensure that you use all 5 category options available to you.

Tip 4 – Punchy & compelling Business Description

Despite Google’s 200-characters limit on the business description, perfect your Google Places listing. The important thing is to use your most important keywords & service terms in your description. Highlight your credibility by using terms like accredited, professional, trusted, etc. on the description.

Tip 5 – Include Photos & Video

Google local listings lets you publish 10 photos and a short video to add to your listing–take advantage. It’s time to learn a thing or two about shooting a short 1-2 minute video and selling your business to your clients. You might ask why. Well, because local businesses are all about the people who run them; customers love getting a glimpse of your store, your logo, and even yourself before they choose to buy from you. Give your business a face on Google Maps Marketing and expect your listing to standout among your rivals.

Tip 6 – Maximize Google Local Listings with Extra Details

Take advantage of the extra details Google Places will ask for like your opening hours, coverage areas, payment methods accepted, and available facilities. Not only will your customers appreciate the extra details provided, Google Places loves complete detail on the listing too.

Tip 7 – Invest time to complete the Services Section

At the end of each Google Places listing are the services you can enumerate. Use as many as you can without going over the top: 6-10 is a good number to aim for. You can use the service listing area to insert more keywords, but NEVER use location as part of the keyword(s) here. Here is a bad & a good example:

Bad – Heating Services: Yes
Good – Heating Services: gas-safe registered, radiator repair, boiler instillation, hot water problems, fix central heating

Tip 8 – Create a unique Special Offer Coupon

Your potential clients love to receive special offers; Google know this and thus pushing up listings with special offers on the search results. Make freebies or discount coupons for Google Maps Marketing purposes only. These freebies and special offers are calls to action, which should convert browsers to real buyers of your service or product.

Tip 9 – Generate Citations

Citations are articles or words about your business on other websites. These citations are relevant because Google local SEO uses these citations to figure out whether your business is worth people’s time and money or not. Other business owners are concerned about this fact, but it’s a gold mine to those who know the potential behind citations.

Here are 3 legitimate ways to get as many citations on your Google Local Marketing possible:

1. List your business on few more directories

2. Ask your neighboring businesses & suppliers to put your business address details on their site with a link back to your website. You can offer to do the same in return for them.

3. Create a promo for the personnel of neighboring local businesses and put this on a discrete part of your website–make a special page for each offer if you have to. Let the target clients know about your offer through Google local SEO and local advertising campaign and provide them the link to your site. Ask them to put it on their company website if they have one. This will help generate new business directly & help with Google Places.

Tip 10 – Generate Customer Reviews

Google Places congregates online customer reviews from hundreds of online directories like Yelp.com, Qype, Insider Pages, and TripAdvisor. Google uses these reviews as another factor in determining how trustworthy your business is. So motivate your loyal clients to write reviews about your business on these online directories or on your Google Places listing itself. But, know that it’s more effective to have reviews on online directories because not only will you reach their users but Google searchers as well.

Most customers are happy to give 5 minutes of their time; there’s no need to pay clients to leave a review–this could hurt you in the end. Reviews should be genuine. Google Places allows you to reply to reviews right on your listing, so use this to thank your kind clients and respond politely to dissenters.

Everyone knows that Google local marketing is a vital component in business success, and Google Places makes this opportunity even more vital. Google Map’s immense users hold huge potential for drawing new clients and growing a business, if used properly. Astonishingly only a few local businesses that are using tools to help with Google Local Marketing–it’s your turn to try. Claim your listing and get a head start on your competitors before they wise up!

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