As the online world evolves so does Google and its products and services are being developed to help small businesses. When you think of an online search engine, most of us will probably think “Google”. Whether you are searching for a local business nearby or researching for a certain topic, we all know Google is a powerful tool that helps us find exactly what we are searching as consumers. Even though this can be a powerful tool, learning each thing about Google can be time-consuming and intimidating for business owners.
We are all familiar with using the search box but many are not aware of what other tools Google provides and how they can positively impact a business’ online presence.
Here are a few Google products you might recognize: Google Maps, Google AdWords , Google Places, Google Drive and Google Plus. Which one of these products are you using for you business? In the following paragraphs I’m going to focus on Google Places and how your business can benefit from it.
What is Google Places?
Based on a Google search, Google Places is the local listing result of Google. In other words the search engine uses the information that was included in Google Places to show the user local results. When you create an account with Google Places it allows you to include a description, address, hours of operation, images, videos and contact information. You are totally in control of the type of information you want Google to show the searchers. If you need to edit or update any information you can easily manage this through Google Places dashboard.
What are the benefits of Google Places?
Improve Brand Awareness
When your Places for Business listing is fully complete with all the information needed it will boost results and help users find your company. Many businesses do not recognize the benefits Google Places will have toward their website traffic. Remember to add value to the searcher by providing a description of the business and include real-time updates. Be clear and precise about your business to engage the right audience, and don’t forget to let them know how they can contact you! A map with cross-streets and directions will also be display for instructions on how to find you.
Increase customer relationships
Want to connect with your customers? This is the perfect opportunity to understand your customers through their feedback and reviews. Join the conversation and let your customers be aware you have read the reviews and comment and care. Learning how your customer relates to your brand is crucial for any business. Your customers influence others to take action and learn more about your brand. Great experiences are always shared so engage with your customers and connect with them on a personal level. Another great feature that is also missed if you are a retail store or eCommerce you can also promote special offers with coupons, so customers can print out and bring in. This will help delight your customers; better yet this will boost user experience for local search results.
How to get started on Google Places?
So, now it’s time to get your business on Places for business. There are three steps you need to take before your business listing will appear on Google. This will only take less than 5 minutes so let’s get started
Step 1: Go to Google Places
Submit all the business information you want your searcher to know about your company. Include contact information, address, website, photos and videos. Make sure to give your audience a great first impression.
Step 2: Verify Your Listing
Google only requires verification for a new business listing or to verify phone number and address changes for an existing listing. You can choose to verify a listing by phone or by mail (Google will send you a postcard providing you with a PIN). It’s important to Google to make sure you are the correct person to verify your business, so make sure the contact information is correct to ensure you receive your PIN. Be aware the PIN requested can only be mailed to the physical address of the business that was submitted to Google Places. The purpose of the PIN is to verify ownership of your business.
Step 3: Verification Completion
Now, it’s time to wait for Google to processes the information and complete the verification. This will take up to two weeks, so be patient. Once the listing has been approved it will appear on Google for searchers to find your brand.
What are some takeaways about Google Places? Google Places is a powerful tool to get your business in front of relevant searchers in the local area. Use this tool to build your brand by including a clear description of your business, hours of operations, photos, video and any other details your searcher will value from. Google Places will also help you gather reviews and comments so you can have a better understanding of what your customers think of your business.