Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Get Found Online: Four Reasons to Claim Your Google Place Page

Claiming your Google Place Page is one of the most important things you can do if you are trying to reach local or regional customers.  Google Places allows business owners to update their physical business location information so it can be shown in Google Maps.  It's free, it's easy but will literally 'put you on the map'.  Google™ map, that is, which typically are those search results that show up first. 

Online maps are becoming extremely personal.  If you want to get directions online, you can not only get directions, you can look at Google Earth and see exactly where you are going. Searches are becoming more and more mobile so having your Place page will also help when people are searching on the fly and want instant results. 

Search for 'Spokane Restaurants'.
Notice what stands out?
Here are four important reasons for businesses to claim their Place:
1.  Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.
2.  It is FREE!
3.  Enhance your web presence.
4.  Your competitors are.

1.  Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.

How often do you use your cell phone to find a location?  If I had to guess the number of times in the past month I have used my cell phone to find a business, I'd say at least ten.  Actually more like 20 since I was in San Diego over the holidays and relied on it for directions and sightseeing activities.  

According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 85 percent of adults in the U.S. own a mobile phone and 56 percent of them use it to surf online (I've seen other statistics that show an even higher percentage).

Also, mobile is immediate (and imminent?).  If you are in the hospitality industry, there is a high probability that some of your customers could be posting reviews before they have even left the door.  Think Yelp, Zagat, TripAdvisor and Facebook Check-Ins.   

2.  It is FREE!

Need I say more?  It takes a little time and effort, but can reap big rewards.  We have a special opportunity for  5-10 area businesses to get expert training (free, too!) on how to set up their Place page - see more below.

3.  Enhances your Web Presence.  

It is all connected
Anymore, it is not just enough to have a company website; businesses need a web presence to attract new customers and retain existing customers.  It is a holistic approach - an app or social media site drives visitors to your website, which the ultimate goal is more sales!  They are all connected, a business cannot rely on one piece of the puzzle.  

Getting on the map also increases your accessibility to your customers.  Searches are becoming more and more driven by location and Google Maps.  Google uses a complicated algorithm in its search function.  There are numerous indicators that can propel search results including key words, quality score indicators and...a Google place page.  

Have you noticed when you search online, your city shows up in 'suggested' searches?  For example if you are searching for Real Estate, Google suggests 'Real Estate Spokane', since they seem to know exactly where you (or your computer) are based.

And if those three things do not convince you, this might:

4.  Your competitors are already there.

Courtesy of
If your competitor has a Google Place page and a website (and even better, a mobile app), it is likely that they are coming in ahead of your website on Google searches.  This means that if potential customers cannot find you but can locate your competition, there is a good chance that you are missing out!  Here's a great article from Inc. Magazine on how you can gain more mobile market share.

Help local mobile and web users find your business easier.

We have a SUPER EXCITING opportunity for 5-10 businesses to work with a Google Trainer and set up a Google Place Page.  Business should have a physical location and a website.  This will be an interactive class; participants should bring a laptop.  Location date and time is not set yet, at this point we are trying to gauge demand.  The class will likely be offered mid-to-late February and held around the lunch hour or around 4 p.m.

This process can take up to a month - you actually have to submit an application to Google to claim your place, it is not automatic.  Plan accordingly if you are launching a new website or expecting to see instant increases in customers or web interest. 

If you are interested in the Google Place training, please send me an email or give me a call, and include your time/day of the week preference.  We have limited spots available.