As we trek through the digital age, one thing is for certain. Phone books are out. Gone are the days that your customers flip through thousands of pages to find local business information. They do online searches from their computers, tablets and phones.
Small businesses need to be visible online. The search engines know this, and have been working on ways to improve the local search experience. It is a way to level the advertising playing field between large and small businesses.
Bing and Yahoo both have strong local business searches. They are finding ways to feature local businesses in their search results. Google still has the most traffic, however. With their Maps and Places feature, they bring a lot of power.
With Google Places, you don’t even need a website to have a listing. Start by searching your brand name to find your page. If you have it, go to the page. If not, go to google.com/places.
After creating or claiming your page, you need to verify it. You may get the option for receiving a phone call. Otherwise you’ll have to wait for a post card in the mail, which can take two to three weeks.
Optimizing your page is an important step determining how Google will display your page. Your business name should be the title. You’ll also want to use keyword phrases in your business description. You’ll also want to make sure and choose the right categories for your business, and make sure your profile is completely filled out.
Google Places also looks for citations, or links to your site from other places. These will help improve your business’s rank in the search engines. Make sure to add your own website.
A well-optimized Google Places page can make your business stand out to local customers, which means more business.
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