The Internet is a great equalizer for small businesses and nowhere is this truer than Google Places for business.
Google Places will put your business on the map—literally, on Google’s map. Since most people search online for local businesses, Google Places will drive more customers to your door.
And you don’t have to be a brick and mortar business to reap results. Even home-based businesses in Grand Rapids, Michigan and elsewhere benefit from Google Places.
Best of all, it’s free. But before I tell you how to sign up, let’s talk about how to make the most of Google Places.
Feed the Data Monster. Google loves data. When you sign up for Google Places, you’ll see lots of input boxes. Make the most of them.
But feed responsibly. Keyword stuffing will hurt your Google Places listing just like it hurts your website.
Cookie Monster now says that “Cookies are a sometimes food.” Use Cookie Monster’s new-found restraint as inspiration to resist keyword-stuffing your Google Places information.
Coordinate. You may not match your shoes to your purse or your tie to your socks anymore, but do match your business name and address on your website to the information on Google Places exactly.
Yes, I mean exactly. Use “Grand Rapids, MI” or “Grand Rapids, Michigan.” Then commit to your choice.
Use a listing. Now that you know how to use Google Places for business and the importance of consistency for your business name and address, it’s time to list your business on various directories.
Google will crosscheck your business with other sites to verify your information. The more references it finds, the higher your business will rank on Google Places.
Again, list your business name and address exactly as it appears on Google Places. Don’t forget to update your social networking sites as well.
To sign up for Google Places, simply go to the site and follow the prompts.
Google will want to verify your listing by phone or mail. Phone is the fastest. Mail will take at least a couple weeks.
Hang on to your sign-in information. Check your listing often to make sure a user (or unethical competitor) hasn’t listed your business as closed.
Google Places is great for your marketing budget. All it costs is a little time to learn how to use effectively.
Once implemented, Google Places will help you put your business in the one place you most want it to be: the forefront of your customers’ minds.