How you can use Google Places to get the word out about your business

Google Places Lebanon Ford

In 2009, Google launched Places, an offering designed to take the place of its Local Business Center. Though it delivered dramatic improvements from day one, it focused on the same general goal of helping local companies increase their visibility. Today, the service is still going strong and arguably better than ever, yet few local marketers are using it to its full potential.

Fortunately, we have compiled a few tips on how to use Google Places to spread the word about your business.

 

SEO your page

When leveraging Google Places to increase visibility, it is important to understand that the “page” is your most valuable asset. It is this page that will be displayed prominently in the search results when a user localizes their query – that is, when you optimize it. In addition to contact details such as a phone number, email address, website URL, and hours of operation, you will want to optimize your business description and other input areas with relevant keywords.

At the same time, you need to be cautious of overdoing it and committing the dreaded act of keyword stuffing. Basically, you want to treat your Google Places page the same way you would a page on your website.

 

Interact with your local audience

There are things you can do beyond optimizing your business page to get the word out. You can also use Google Places to engage your audience in dialogue and encourage them to spread the word on your behalf.

So for example, if customers are raving about the great experience they have when visiting your location, encourage them to pass that praise along through a review. Google Places makes this incredibly convenient with tools that allow you to reach out, while enabling them to easily respond and take action.

You may also want to give consideration to getting them to be advocates for your business on similar sites like Yelp and CitySearch as some SEO experts believe that it can help with rankings on Google Places.

 

Measure your efforts

One of the best ways to improve your marketing efforts is to measure them and get a clear picture of where you stand. Google Places offers basic analytics features that give you the ability to track the performance of your page. Keep in mind that this is not anything remotely like the detail you get with Google Analytics.

On the bright side, you can review reports that show you how many clicks you’re generating as well as what queries are driving impressions for your listing. So even though this is just basic information, it can be useful.

 

Conclusion

Search is increasingly becoming an important tool for local businesses. The fact that Google is  such a dominant force makes tools like Google Places indispensable. However, it can’t do anything without the proper attention, so keep an eye on your listing and make sure it stays updated.

Written by Aidan Hijleh

Aidan Hijleh is an SEO specialist, marketing expert and blogger for Benchmark Email. An accomplished writer and former nonprofit organization liaison, he works with numerous top-tier blogs to deliver valuable intel to the small business owner. Get more from Aidan on Twitter and Google+.
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