Even if your business doesn’t have a website, or use social media, you still need to take advantage of at least one important Internet tool to direct people to your organization: Google Places. Getting your business mentioned on the Internet’s biggest listing resource will make sure that anybody looking for you can easily find you.
Google is the largest network on the Internet and the most frequently used search engine, claiming a 67% market share of all internet searches. Google’s closest competitor is Microsoft Bing with 17% of the market share. As far as Internet search goes, if you want to be found on the internet, you need optimize your web presence so the Google web crawlers can find you.
Google Places is a great tool for any business to take advantage of because Google will display your company information on their map whenever a business, product, or service is searched for along with a specific geographical location. You will notice that Google Places uses little red markers to help direct people to find what they’re looking for. Try it out for yourself, go to Google and search “Computer Support ZIPNAME.” You should see Quikteks shows up first on the map.
As more people connect to the Internet and use smart mobile devices with internet, traditional print listing resources like The Yellow Pages are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Instead, a business looking to connect with potential clients would be better off investing in online marketing and a quality SEO plan. What’s great about certain Internet tools like Google Places is they are are free to use, and your web presence can be strengthened with just a few updates to your listing.
Getting your business started on Google Places is simple. Go to Google’s registration page and use a Google account to sign in, or make a new Google account if you don’t have one. From here, Google will direct you through a sign up process that will take you less than five minutes to complete.
After you fill out the required information, Google will not publish your post it immediately. This Google policy is a security measure aimed at preventing fraudulent entries. . It will take about week for Google to send you a postcard to the address you entered. On this postcard is a phone number that you will have to call with a four-digit code that confirms you received the card. After you call the number on your postcard, your business will now show up live on Google Places page.
Just because you are now listed on Google Places doesn’t necessarily mean you will show up on the top of every search in your category. Unless you are the only business in your area selling this specific product or service, you will see most of your competitors listed before your listing. No worries, with some edits to your company’s Google profile, your business can leapfrog over all the inactive competitors. Here are five quick tips you can do to improve your spot on Google Places.
- Integrate your Google+ account and your friends’ accounts by having everybody “Follow” your company’s listing.
- Make sure every place you list your mailing address on the Internet is consistent. For example, your listed address shouldn’t be divided between “South Orange” and “S. Orange.”
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your company’s Google profile, and professionally respond to negative reviews.
- Upload an attractive photo to your Google account. This photo can be of your staff, office, or company logo.
- Don’t try to fool Google with fake reviews on made up accounts in order to improve your ranking; this will lead to Google penalizing your listing. Fake reviews actually hurt your list ranking.
Google Places is a great place to start when getting your business listed on the Internet. We encourage you to not stop after listing your business on just Google. You will want to take advantage of as many online resources as you are able to, like Yahoo!, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, and much more. Companies like YEXT also can be helpful, they will list your business information across many networks at once.
Consider this an introduction to the complex world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The more effort that you put into being found on the Internet the greater your overall search results will be. Do you know any other successful tips that have helped your business be found online? Share your tips in the comments, unless you know your competitors will see these tips. If this is the case, leave fake tips.