Offline Bricks and Mortar Businesses
Claim Your Google Places Listing
As a bricks and mortar business you may wonder what would be the point of being on the internet.
The answer is that it is becoming even more important to have some sort of presence on the internet and the good news is that you don’t have to have a website to achieve it.
The days where people pick up their local edition of the Yellow Pages or Thomson Local when searching for a service or product are numbered and potential customers are more likely to switch on their computer and search online.
Online search has grown massively in terms of searching for local businesses. Google states that 73% of searches are made looking for local content.
Google soon realised the potential of local search and as a result launched its Local Business Center which enabled any business to get a free listing regardless of whether they had a website or not.
Just over a year ago Google introduced Place Pages. A Place Page is a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. To tie in with Place Pages Google recently improved and re-launched its Local Business Centre under the new name of Google Places.
The new version includes all the features of the old Local Business Centre and a host of new options.
A Google Places business listing provides potential customers who are performing a local business search with valuable and relevant information such as opening hours, payment methods, photos, videos, reviews, special offers and real-time updates. Businesses can also include extra incentives for customers to choose them by offering coupons, including ones specially formatted for mobile phones.
It is important that local businesses claim their Google Places listing to give them a chance of attracting local search traffic specific to their business type and location.
To claim your listing you must first of all have a Google Account. Once you’ve opened your account and signed in you need to go to Business Solutions then Business Information. You can then add a new listing.
It’s not however just a case of entering in your business name, address and telephone number. There’s much more to it than that. If you don’t optimise it correctly then you won’t appear in Google Places.
Here are some of the options:
1) Specify the geographic area you service.
2) List your website and email details.
3) Choose your business categories – you can list up to 5 and one has to be from Google’s list.
4) Business Hours.
5) Photos – add up to 10 photos per listing.
6) Videos – upload up to 5 videos.
7) Payment Types Taken.
8) Coupons: Create online coupons to give people an incentive to visit your site. There’s a separate “coupon tab” that appears on your ‘View Report’ page.
9) Privacy: If you work at homë and have no storefront you can choose to make your address private in your listing.
10) Reviews – get your customers to write reviews about your business.
Google will tell you how much of your listing is complete as a percentage. Obviously if possible you should complete it 100%. You are also given assistance with completing your listing fully via the following help pages:
Once you are happy with your details you have to verify that you are the business owner. You can do this via mail or telephone. Once verified your listing will go live.
You can view how your listing looks to potential customers by logging into your account and clicking on ‘See your listing on Google Maps.’
Google also offers a new ‘View Report’ dashboard which gives you important feedback on the number of impressions (how many times users saw your business listing as a local search result) and actions (how many times users showed interest in your business listing) recorded for your listing. This is very useful information that can be used as part of the search engine optimisation of your listing and website if you have one.
If you’re a Manchester based business and want help with completing your Google Places listing then simply get in touch.
If you’re not listed there’s no better time like now. Local business online search is only going to increase in importance and the sooner you grab your position the better. It can attract targeted, free traffic to your business.
People are searching for businesses like yours online and Google Places makes it easier for them to find you.