Google, in its infinite wisdom, provides businesses with free business listings called Google Places. Business listings claimed or created with Google Places are displayed on Google Maps.
What does Google Places Listings do for my business?
Google Places is today’s yellow pages, accessible at the click of a button and is an embedded application in smart phones and tablets throughout the world as a super online directory.
Listing your business on Google places puts you on the map for local customers to find you.
Claim your Google Places Listing
Millions of people everyday turn to Google Places to locate small or local businesses that can serve their needs. It should be a top priority for businesses to claim their Google Places listing(s).
It is especially significant for small or local business to claim their Google listing. Such businesses predominantly rely on local or regional clientele. This limit their searches for products or services based on their physical location.
Those unfamiliar with Google Places should be aware that Google Places is an offshoot of Google Maps, the two are now separate though interlinked. Google Maps is the end of the line where users search for geographically based solutions and where the majority of Places listings are displayed. Google Maps is one of the most searched online directories by internet-traffic looking for products or services.
Local Online Advertising
Further, Google Places listings can be advertised through AdWords and Adwords Express. AdWords is the full version of Google’s advertising platform and requires more in-depth knowledge of the system, while AdWords Express is the simplified version and is less difficult to use.
AdWords Express uses the Google algorithm to automatically pick keywords based on the business category selected in the corresponding business listing.
In order to advertise using AdWords Express, a business must first claim its Google Places listing.
AdWords vs. AdWords Express
AdWords Express, although less robust than AdWords, is no less a benefit for both online users and online business alike. Users are able to better assess and locate the businesses associated with their search term(s), while businesses are able to better present themselves and their products or services to their online audience.
As mentioned, both AdWords and AdWords Express deliver pay-per-click advertisements on search engine results pages. AdWords is more feature rich of the two PPC platforms, while AdWords Express is Google’s automated advertising system designed to simplify online advertising for small business.
Therefore, AdWords Express has a limited number of simple features, such as:
- monthly budget setting,
- adcopy creation, and
- limited reporting.
Ongoing Improvement of Google Places
Google has tested and continues testing how Google Places listings are viewed in search results. Google will change the location of the map displayed on the search engine results page. Increase or decrease the number of listings that show up. Even change the parameters of the listings, and so on.
A recent change implemented by Google is that business listings information is now displayed via Google+, where a significant amount of space has been designated for display of customer reviews, not seen before.
List your Business Online
Google Places listings offer businesses the opportunity to share key business details. A brief non-exhaustive list of information that a business can input into its Google Places listing is as follows:
- Name of business
- Business address
- Hours of operation
- Type of payment accepted
- Up to 5 business categories
- Up to 10 pictures
- Up to 5 videos
- Additional business information
- Brands carried
- Availability of parking
- Better Business Bureau info
Importance of Google Places listings
Business owners faced with the task of properly entering information they deem pertinent to their business listening are frequently dissuaded from completing this task.
Unfortunately, for those businesses that fail to realize the importance of a Google Places listing being done right miss out on a huge opportunity to capture free, high quality online traffic.
Google Places Tips
In short, if you opt to have a Google Places listing as a business, make sure it is 100% complete and accurate or it may have the opposite effect desired and actually hurt your business, rather than help it.
As mentioned previously Google Places is designed to be compatible and add value to other Google advertising programs. These advertising options are: Adwords, AdWords Express, and Google Offers.
Google Offers: A free tool that enables businesses to create coupons and online offers that can be printed out or used on smart phones. It is highly recommended to implement Google Offers as not only is it free to setup, but it can really help set your business apart from the competition.
When PPC marketing is used with Google Places & Offers, businesses can experience significant online growth.
- Ads that are shown to online users within the business’ selected geographic service area will feature the business’ address and phone number.
- Second, the local listing that is shown on Google Maps will use a blue pin rather that a red pin, which further differentiates the business listing from its competitors’ listings.
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