How to Market Your Business Using Google Places
Pretty much everyone uses Google to find local businesses. Here’s how to make sure your company stands out.
Here’s a fact worth considering: 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. Another: 73 percent of all online activity is related to local content, according to data released by Google.
This has huge implications for small businesses, which often depend on Google—in terms of organic and paid search—to generate phone calls, foot traffic, and overall brand visibility. But while most businesses spend time and marketing dollars perfecting their paid search campaigns and SEO strategies, plenty overlook one of the most valuable (and free) resources that Google has ever offered: Google Places.
Places was launched in September 2009, and ostensibly replaced the Google Local Business Center. On Google’s official blog, the service was introduced as ” a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it.”
Two years after its launch, many companies are still struggling to get it right.
“It’s a very difficult and delicate ecosystem,” says Chris Watson, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Everspark Interactive, a full-service SEO agency based in Atlanta. “In the beginning, we spent 12 months thinking we had the variables right only to find that sometimes we got it completely wrong.”
The good news is that Google Places is free and fairly painless to set up. The bad news is that it takes more than just a couple of clicks to start generating paying customers. Watson notes that maintaining the Places account is just like any other aspect of the marketing mix, and should not be left to an inexperienced office manager to set up.