Free Online Marketing Part 1 – Google Places

This is the first post in a series covering FREE online tactics for marketing your business. Need to give your Google rankings a boost? This series covers some Do-It-Yourself methods that can help!

Part 1 – Google Places

Google Places homepage

www.google.com/places

Is your business on Google Places yet? If not, sign up for a free business listing at www.google.com/places RIGHT NOW. If you’re not getting found on Google, not having one of these listings could very well be part of the problem. You’ve got nothing to lose — it’s 100% FREE.

While “bricks and mortar” businesses can really take full advantage of all of Google Places’ features, including its integration of your listing with Google Maps, home-based businesses can also benefit. When setting up your listing, you are able to specify how you do business — either from a location that customers must go to, or by traveling to customers’ locations in specified regions. This way you can either display your physical location, or you can display the areas that you service.

Having a Google Listing not only puts your business on the map, so-to-speak, but it also helps make you a bit more prominent on Google’s search radar. Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) often feature Google Places listings prominently at the top of search results, if the search was for something location-based. One of my clients here in Columbus, GA, Staffing Connections, a staffing and recruitment company, recently completed their Google Places listing, and this has boosted their visibility on Google.

Staffing Connections in Google SERP

Search Results for "temp jobs columbus ga"

The above image shows page 1 of Google’s search results for “temp jobs columbus ga”. Staffing Connections ranks 7th for this keyword phrase, and users must scroll down to see the result. However, Staffing Connections also shows up in the Google Places listings displayed at the top of the page, even before regular results are listed. Within Google Places results, Staffing Connections ranks 4th. This gives Staffing Connections excellent visibility on the search results page, as users do not even need to scroll down to find them.

Clicking on the map takes you to a Google Maps/Places hybrid page that displays all appropriate listings on the large map, with the actual business listings on the left. Again, Staffing Connections is displayed towards the top of results:

Google Places Map

Google Maps/Places

When you are filling out your listing, make sure you’re as complete as possible with information about your business – description, services offered, hours, contact information, photos and website URL. A listing filled with helpful content will help your listing’s visibility. In addition, once your listing has been published, you can mention it to your customers, who can then submit reviews of your business – creating additional content.

Get on Google’s radar and give Google Places a try.