Local Business: Why Should You Set Up Google Places

More and more people are using the local search function in search engines to find products and services to purchase. The Yellow Pages are dead.  Google, Bing, and Facebook have become the go to sources to find local commerce.

Lets take the search engine Google. Google has changed their Places listings a lot over the past 2 years. Most recently, Google has programmed itself to detect if a search is for some kind of local business, and the search results are displayed accordingly. The end result if it is a local business search, is that the majority of listings on the first page are associated with Google Places. These listings have a red pushpin next to them and reviews associated with them as well.

The bottom line is, having a first page ranking in Google Places is the way to get your business found for a local search. The fact is, 85% of people use Google to search. Smart phone use (mobile search) is skyrocketing. Nevertheless, most business owners don’t even have a Google Places listing. Worse, they haven’t even claimed the one that Google already has listed for them!

So what does it mean to have an unclaimed listing and why is it important to claim it? Claiming your listing is a simple verification process that confirms your identity as the business owner.

Here’s why you want to claim your listing:

– Claiming your listings gives you control how the search engines index you

– Prevents spammers from high jacking your listing

– Will improve your search engine rankings

– Will increase your website traffic

– Will increase the phone calls you receive

In addition, by claiming your listing, you will have the ability to add content to your listing, such as images, videos, and coupons.

The most important feature of Google Places is the ability to rate and review the business based on a patron’s personal customer experiences. Not only can customers come and leave their ratings (1 to 5 stars), and reviews directly at the listing itself, but Google Places will list the reviews on other review sites, such as Yelp, Citysearch, etc. as  well.

Why are reviews important for you as a local business owner? For one, the more reviews you have, the greater the chance your listing will be showcased in the top 7 results, giving you a first page presence. Too, customers base their choice of patraonage in large part on the reviews given by others. Better reviews, good reviews, means more business for you.

There are many other factors that contribute to having your listing shown in the top slots. One of the most important is making sure the listing is claimed and completely filled out. In addition, using appropriate keywords in the listing title and description can be the difference between getting shown or not.

Creating and claiming a listing is FREE. But it is recommended that you seek a professional to help you set up your Google Places listing. More importantly, an SEO professional will have the knowledge to optimize your Places page to increase the chances for a high ranking. This assistance also includes helping you take a proactive approach on how to encourage customers to share their experience by rating and reviewing your business.

Having an optimized, first page ranked Google Places listing, is the single most important thing you can do to increase your business visibility. And more visibility means more sales!

For more information on how to set up Google Places, visit LinkLocal Internet Marketing Service.

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