Local Business Listings & Google Places
Local Business Listings & Google Places – What are they?
Local Business Listings & Google Places is the first internet marketing area that ALL local businesses should focus on. I am sure you already know, people are rarely using their phone books and newspapers any more to find local businesses. They are most frequently looking online, so it is critically important that you be found there. The most popular place for local search results is in the Google Places listings. In most cases, this is the first place your local business should stand out. It is prime online marketing real estate!
When you search online for a product or service in your area, you’ll often notice that the search engine (most often Google) shows a map of your local city along with a list of businesses in the area, referred to as the local business results. Local business results show businesses located in or near the city that matches the city entered in the search. Often when you search for something near your home you’ll see a map appearing on the right showing local businesses in red pins. The ones with a red pin including a letter from A to G are Google Places optimized listings. They stand out from the crowd and have a detailed listing on page one of Google to the left of the map. This area is called ‘Google Places’. For local businesses it is the most important place to be. Being in this Google Places “7-pack” on page one of the Google search results is where you will get the most traffic to your website and it is where you have to be!
> 43% of all searches on Google are related to searches for local services or businesses (comScore Networks)
> 97% of consumers use the Internet to find and research products or services in their local area (The Kelsey Group)
> 82% of people performing an online local search follow-up via an online inquiry, phone call or visit to an offline local business (Local Marketing Source)
For example, if I am looking for a restaurant in Chicago and enter “Chicago restaurant” into the Google search, the first thing I will see is the local business results:
Google displays only seven businesses in the Places listing on page 1 of the search – the ‘Google 7-pack’. There is also a ‘Google 3-pack’ and once in a while you’ll find single listings (a ‘one-pack’). In the detailed listing, you can see the name of the business, the number of reviews that the particular business received (if any), a link to their detailed Google Places page, their website, address and phone number.
The Google Places page itself will publish your company name, address & phone numbers, a map & directions, photos, videos, hours of operation, payment methods accepted, coupons, reviews and more.
Most local businesses can have a Google Places listing. You need a physical address or office. If you are running a business from your home, you will need to use your home phone number and address in the listing. You can hide your address from showing, but it may hurt your rankings (i.e. whether you rank in the top 7 for the keywords being searched and therefore receive a detailed listing on page one of Google).
Why is Local Business Listings & Google Places Important To My Business?
Ahhh, “Location, Location, Location”. Having your business shown on page one of a Google search is a very valuable and profitable piece of internet real estate. For the first time, local businesses have an incredible opportunity to get ranked on page one of Google without pay-per-click costs and time-consuming SEO (search engine optimization). Heck you don’t even need a website (although I highly recommend you have one, since it should be your online home and gathering place to educate and sell to your prospects and existing customers).
Your Places listing is also “Mobile-enabled”, meaning it has been formatted to be viewed properly on a mobile phone. More people do a local search on their cell phones than looking in the Yellow Pages.
Becoming highly visible for keyword searches related to your business is becoming more critical each day. To get the most from local search, your goal is to become one of the top businesses in the 7-pack through proper optimization of your Google Places listing. These listings are placed above the normal search engine results. Having your website displayed here can bring you a high volume of qualified leads and new customers.
It can also be one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing you will ever find.
This is one of the best ways to dominate your competitors – get started!