Google places for business

80% of success is showing up – Woody Allen

He’s right, don’t you think? So much of our success—and failure—hinges on simply showing up. And the same goes for your business. When a potential customer searches for your product or service, your business needs to show up. How? Google Places for Business. It’s a powerful tool that ensures that your business shows up on a nearby customer’s radar.

It’s all about location. Whenever somebody searches online, Google figures out where that person is located at that precise moment and provides local results. For example, let’s say you’re running a café. Any time somebody in your neighbourhood searches for “café” (or “coffee” or “food”) Google will show them nearby cafés, including yours—if you’re listed on Google Places. And, remember, gone are the days when customers reached for the phonebook. These days, 86% of people in New Zealand and 82% of people in the UK use the internet every day. And perhaps even more importantly, 54% of Kiwi consumers and 64% of British consumers search online before buying a product or service. So showing up online is crucial to your business’s success.

Google Places has several features that will increase your business’s visibility and accessibility when customers search online:

1.     Easily out-rank your competitors

Google Places results appear first ahead of organic rankings. Even if your organic ranking puts you on page two, your Google Places listing will often show up near the top of page one.

2.     Appear across the web

When nearby customers use Google Search or Maps, your business will pop up as a convenient, close-at-hand option. Your business will appear as a pin on the map, showing exactly where you’re located.

3.     Have up-to-date information

You can ensure that your business’s information in the search results is current. It’s easy to update your contact details, open hours and photos.

4.     Connect with customers

These days word-of-mouth happens online. Customers can leave reviews about your business on the internet. Google Places lets you interact with them and respond to their feedback.

5.     Receive reviews

Customers can leave reviews via your Google places listing.  Reviews by customers are a great way to build trust and credibility.

And that’s just the free stuff. You can get extra features like AdWords Express (enables easy advertising online) and Google Offers (allows you to create special deals for nearby customers) by upgrading to their premium service.

You can also enhance your search rankings, making your chances of showing up on a web search even better. We’ve noticed that having a Google Places listing can actually improve your organic search rankings. How? This can be quite a science but a lot of it boils down to the information you provide about your business. Make sure it’s accurate, comprehensive and attractive (i.e. interesting description and photos). Give some thought to how you categorise your business too; broader categories tend to be better than more specific categories. And this is a biggie: when you have a happy customer, encourage them to leave you a glowing review. Reviews will give you a real boost in the rankings. It also helps if you connect your Google Places listing to your business’s Google+ page.

Getting set up on Google Places is quick and painless. Just click here to get started. You’ll be required to sign in using your business’s Google/Gmail account details (if you don’t have a Google account already you’ll be prompted to create one). Once you’ve signed in it’s simply a matter of entering in your business’s information. Bing, bang boom—finished in five minutes!

Google Places for Business means that your business shows up—and that’s often what success is all about.