Five Reasons Small Business Needs Google Places
Most small businesses rely heavily on their local community for their revenue, and finding ways to connect with those local consumers has always been one of the biggest tasks that confront small businesses. The internet has changed the way that those consumers make their purchasing decisions and how they find the businesses that supply them. While online retail and internet services have probably taken some of the revenue away from smaller businesses, the real power of the internet, the search engines, has more than compensated by providing new opportunities to make your small business visible in your local community. Google Places is perhaps the most valuable internet service that many of those businesses will use.
1. It’s Free and Your Competitors Probably Aren’t Taking Advantage of it Yet
Google Places is a free service that is a part of Google Maps and which indexes businesses according to their niche and their location. Google has created listings for every business that it has indexed, but to date about 90% or 50 million Google Places listings remain unclaimed and incomplete. Just claiming your business’ listing will probably put you at the top of the SERPs in your location.
2. Mobile Local Searches are Growing and Mobile Customers are More Likely to Spend
Google estimates that 20% of all searches are related to location1 and this number increases for mobile web searches with 63% of smart phone owners regularly using mobile search2. Consumers are now using search as a regular part of their purchasing process, with 58% of consumers saying that they research products online3and a growing number are doing this from their mobile devices when they are ready to make a purchase.
3. Google Places is Good for Your Online Reputation
Even if you don’t have a company website your business is still very likely to have some sort of online reputation, even if it is only a few reviews that have been left on the online business directories. Google Places offers every business the opportunity to take ownership of their listing in order to present their business the way that they want to. Because Google Places listings will turn up in the SERPs whenever your niche and location are used as search parameters, this may be the first place that many potential customers will see your business.
4. Your Google Places listing will Help Your Website’s SEO
If you have a company website then you will always be keen to find new ways to point links to it from other websites. The search engines have all been rating social media links more highly recently and Google must certainly give serious considerations to links from its own services to a website as indicating that the destination page has real value.
5. Google Places Gives You Some Valuable Statistics for Your Business
When you have claimed your Google Places listing you will be able to access a number of valuable statistics via the dashboard. Google Places will tell you how many people have searched for you and what terms they have used to find you and what locations they have come from. You will also be able to see how many people have viewed your Google Places page to find out about you in more detail, and much more.
Your Google Places listing is probably already online, so it makes sense to take advantage of the free advertising opportunity that it offers. Claiming your Google Places listing is a simple process, although it can take a bit of time, and if you would like some assistance InfintechDesigns.com is more than capable of setting it up for you.
2. 5th Annual 15miles/Localeze Local Search Usage Study, comScore, 2012
3. Online Product Research, Pew Research Center, 2010