Putting your Business on the Map with Google Places
A study by Pew Internet reported last year that fifty-eight percent of Americans research products and services online before buying. That means it’s more important than ever to increase your business’ online visibility and the chance that local consumers can find it. One simple way to do this is by maintaining a free Google Places page for your business.
Google Places is like a super-charged version of the Yellow Pages. Integrated into Google Maps (and by extension regular Google search results), it not only contains a business’ name, address, and phone number but also its location on a map, pictures, hours of operation, user reviews, and more.
Where does all this information come from? The reviews are pulled from all over the internet, including popular sites like Yelp.com, UrbanSpoon.com, and CitySearch.com. Some basic information can be filled in by the public but most of the details should come from you – the business owner!
To begin, search Google Maps for your business. Once you find it, click on the the light blue “More Info” link to arrive at your Google Places page. To begin editing, click the “Business Owner” link, follow the prompts, and you’ll be able to begin work on your business’ profile. For maximum visibility, make sure you fill out every section possible, including business hours, payment methods, and the types of services your business offers. Also, don’t forget to upload some pictures related to the products or services you offer.
Once you’ve completed your business’ profile and saved all the changes, Google will mail you a postcard with the steps required to validate the information. But what to do after you’ve setup and validated your site? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Send your happiest customers a link to your Places page and ask them to review you.
- Run a special promotion on your Places page using the “offer” feature.
- Purchase Google Tags to highlight your business and make it stand out over the competition.
- Monitor your page to see what people are saying about your business.
- Print a QR code to display at your business to help your customers find and rate you online.
- Check your page’s interaction statistics to see how many people have seen and acted on your Places page and offers.
Have we left anything out? Have you found another way to use Google Places to add value to your business? If so, leave a comment here and tell us about it! Otherwise, check out this article by the Google SMB Blog for some more tips on creating an effective presence on Google Places!