Google Places is essentially an online directory in which you can enter a listing for your business. Your listing gives potential customers accurate, helpful information such as your location, contact details, opening hours and a description of the products or services that you offer. This listing can show up in local searches for your service or for keywords specific to your service and location.
Featuring your business in the Google Places directory is a quick and easy way to get visible on the first page of search results. These listings often appear above organic listings and experience a high click through rate. Entering a listing is completely free but as there are more relevant listings per search than room on the first page, Google has employed a system to rotate which listings show.
With careful optimisation, you can improve the visibility of your business listing. This will help you get in front of more potential customers, drive more relevant traffic to your site, improve your sales and grow your business. So let’s find out how you can optimise your Google Places listing to harness the power of local search:
Complete and Verify Your Listing
The more accurate information you include in your listing then the more valuable it is to searchers. Be sure to fill out all the required and the relevant optional fields, include a good amount of well-written copy in the description and upload a good few images. As Google wants to give its users the best experience possible, a more complete listing with a wealth of information will take Google’s preference. Also, remember to verify your listing – Google will give you the option to do this when you set it up. Without verification, your listing won’t appear in search results. Aim for a 100% complete listing and no less!
Choose Relevant Business Categories
The Categories you choose for your listing help Google determine accurate information about your business to improve your chances of displaying in the most relevant searches. Plus, they help your potential customers find out whether your business is what they’re looking for. So, choose as many relevant categories that you can and go for a variation of broad and specific descriptions.
Write Convincing Descriptions
When it comes to your Google Places description, best practice is to write a concise snippet of copy that tells your potential customer exactly what you can do for them. Write persuasively and showcase your unique selling point but most importantly, provide your audience with accurate information. Forget keyword stuffing and write naturally, to humans.
Target with Content
Adding images to your listing will help you build your branding and showcase what your business has to offer. Listings that are optimised with images appear much more appealing and credible than others, helping users to choose how they click.
One of the most important elements that Google displays with your business listing is your business reviews. Try to encourage customer feedback on your listing by including links on your website, in emails or across social media. Remember, your customers will need a Google+ account to do so.
Merge Your Places and Google+ Business Pages
Merging your Google Places listing with your Google+ page will provide a better experience for your searchers and potential customers. When your pages are integrated, visitors to your listing will also see all the features of your Google+, including your cover photo and your updates. This allows you to showcase more about your business and gives your audience the opportunity to engage. If you already have a Google+ page then you can simply integrate through verification but otherwise you’ll need to set up your page within the same account.
Improve the Accuracy of your Business Information Across the Web
Google selects the most appropriate listings for search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Entering your business information into other online business directories and ensuring that this information is consistent across all third party sites can help boost your listing’s visibility.
Put these steps into action to make the most of your Google Places listing – boost your business’ online reach, get more relevant traffic to your site and more leads. Find out how to create your Google+ page here.
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