That sounds REALLY nice. Who doesn’t like to connect…particularly with things they love? It’s a fairly warm and fuzzy description for dominant search giant Google to list under their Web page describing Places, yet there it is.
This phrase is especially attention-grabbing for small businesses because those customer connections are what keep your doors open and the phone ringing, whether through good old-fashioned word-of-mouth or online search. And this attention is deserved, because Google Places should be a key part of every small businesses online strategy. Why? Because Places listings appear near the top of Google search results. That said, Google will not guarantee that a Places listing will always show up in search results. Similar to their search engine results in general, Google simply states that ranking of listings depends on a few key factors*:
- Relevance – Google will determine if your Places listing matches what someone is searching for. How do they know if you’re a good match? Their technology will make a determination based upon the available information in your listing. Based on this, it is critically important that your Places listing be complete, and include well-written, concise, and keyword-rich information about the products and services you offer.
- Distance – Google will determine how close your business listing is from the location someone specifies in their search, or if no location is specified in the search itself, by what they know about the location of the person searching (for example by the address their computer broadcasts, or IP Address). For businesses with a brick and mortar location, you need to be sure that your address listed is correct and that there is additional location-based information included in your listing, such as which counties or areas in your community that you focus on serving. For businesses that serve clients at their location and do not wish to display your business address, make sure your location city and mileage radius is set to ensure your listing shows up when a search is in your area of coverage.
- Prominence –Google’s search technology is monitoring content from all over the Internet and will determine if your company is represented in other locations such as directories, articles, or if there are links to your company online. Well-known brands tend to rank well in Google. To achieve the sort of prominence that will make a difference, it’s important that your company is well-represented across the Web through a variety of listings and sources. To determine how well your company is doing in this area, simply type your company name into Google search and see what type of results are returned. Are you listed in popular online directories, or is your company linked to from other credible sources? Access other top search engines like Yahoo! and Bing! to see how, or if, your company is present to help you get a complete picture of your online footprint.
It is quite possible that your company already has a generic Places listing, because Google gathers content from all over the Web to present in their search results. If not, it’s time to sign up for your free Places listing! It is important not only to get that listing created, but also to make it a rich and effective source of information about your business, and get verified by postcard with Google.
Once your listing is verified and in “Place”, ongoing updates to your content are important to ensure that your listing remains in sync with any recent happenings or changes in your business. You should also periodically monitor your listing to ensure there are no problems and you are still showing up under the keywords you would like to be found under. And don’t forget to ask your customers for reviews because they are very influential when new customers are researching your business.
Google Places Listing Management is just one of many services available from Web.com; one of the largest providers of online marketing for small businesses nationwide. For fast, expert service to help your business get verified and represented effectively in Google Places call (800) 884-5354 today.
*Source: Google Places for business – Help Resources
Written by Lisa Anteau, SVP Partner Marketing at Web.com (A leader in Web Marketing) in partnership with Discover Network. Web.com (Nasdaq: WWWW) is a leader in web, social, and online marketing services for small business with over 1 million customers. For more information, visit discover.web.com or call (800) 884-5354.