Finding your customers has always been the most difficult task that new businesses face when marketing their products and services. Getting traction within the local sectors is one advantage you’ll have if you take advantage of Google Places (formerly Google Local Business Center). The newly presented Place Pages from Google offer a lot more detail than in the past and will quickly increase your position if effectively optimized.
If you haven’t already begun any local SEO strategies, create yourself a Google account, login and search for Google Places to set up your business and get verified. The verification process is quite simple, and eco-friendly nowadays, with an automated phone call or text message. That’s it – you’ve got yourself a Google Places account. Now let’s start setting up your Places Page.
Once you’ve been logged in you’ll find it pretty straight forward as to what is required. This includes your company information, hours, payment policies and images. At this point you really want to explore the reviews section. This is a great opportunity where you can post a link from your site to your local Places Page and ask your site visitors to post a review of your company.
Reviews have become quite important within SE algorithms, especially when dealing with local service providers. Not only does aggregating your reviews globally effect your search rank and position it also influences your prospects opinion of you. What good is that desk drawer full of reviews unless people read them?
Some newer updates include tags (paid deals appearing within the local map) as well as street view annotations which allow your sites Places Page to appear within the street view window. These are two examples at the expanding market within local search and Google’s focus at improving their offerings within the market. This focus from Google is one any local business owner should consider.