Google Places used to be Google Maps – so if you are a bit confused, that might be one of the reasons. Think of it as a sort of “Trading Places” type of activity minus Eddie & Dan. Google has a way of controlling things, so when they make changes you have to adapt. The Google Places area is getting to be a very important place for business exposure as your eMarketing rankings in this area might be the first thing a customer sees – not your organic listing. And you should still strive for a very high organic listing to be sure to be on that first page! However it appears that the Google Places area is taking over. Google used to show only the top 3 or 4 spots (meaning A – D) but now they are showing A – G and this takes up quite a bit of space on your first page of Internet search results. Customers can review your business here and they want to! Do you have a presence in this area?
Simply go to www.places.google.com/business and make sure your listing is accurate with your Hours of Operation, a description of what it is that you do or sell, pictures (this helps in rankings) and all other pertinent information that a customer needs about your business. The more areas that you participate in – the better for your overall rankings on search engines and on social media as well.
As I was writing this I realized that I had not set up my official Places page yet! I was waiting to determine if I wanted to use my address or not. As it turns out, I decided to go ahead and do it that way so that my Blogsite and google places areas matched. You see that is very important with Google. If your information does not match (between your Blogsite or Places area) it can be just taken down. If they think you are doing anything underhanded – like trying to tweak their system for an unfair advantage – they will just delete your listing. Even though you can set up a places account without an address, it is recommended that you match your website.
Make sure your Google Places description area is very thorough with your hours open, types of payment allowed, description of offerings, and pictures too! Google thinks that the areas with the most information filled out will be the most relevant in searches and they will list you higher than others. If you can gently persuade your customers to give you a review in this area that is a wonderful way to reach a bit higher in the rankings. People don’t realize that they have to be logged into their Google Account and have that tab “open” in their browser while making a review or else the review will not be picked up by Google. If Google does not know who you are – they will not allow a random review. (They might think you are from Croatia in an “Internet cafe” just fooling around giving fake reviews.) So, if you are having trouble be sure to stay logged into your Google Account. Also, just throwing up a Google Account and not filling out any of the information will not allow a review to happen as well. Again, the almighty one needs to know you are a real person, not an automated thing. Patience my friends!
Keywords are important here in Google Places just like in your Blog postings or other SEO driven information. If you only have a few lines of text – be sure to fill them with the keywords relevant to your industry so that you appear in searches. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing a nice site with poor SEO wording that reads something like “we are an awesome company in the Northern Colorado area having a great time and taking care of our customers”. Rethink that statement. Make sure you fill it with awesome words to spur your listing on the front page. More like “Boots Randolph is your experienced shoe repair facility in Fort Collins Colorado offering shoe repair, shoe sales, custom shoe fits, re-soling options, boot restoration and much more.” If I was searching for shoes or boots – you bet I’d find Boots Randolph coming up in the Google Places area with that second description over the first. If I did some Google Keyword Research I bet I’d find that the words “shoe fix” is important, but maybe not – that’s why it’s called research.
Offering a coupon in the Google Places area is a good idea if you have something special happening and want to entice current and new customers. This is a free service – why not take part? Again – keep it keyword rich and don’t forget your phone number – sometimes the coupons appear outside of Google Places and the coupon needs to have all the information necessary for clients to purchase from you and find your Blogsite (make sure it is on there). You can even send your Facebook crowd over here to get the coupon and encourage a Google review in the process! Social Media at it’s finest.
Don’t forget to monitor this page and keep it current. Mention this area to your customers so that they can review your business. Be sure to respond to reviewers too. If there are any bad reviews, it’s a good idea to address this right away with your suggestion to fix a customer’s problem. How you interact on line is very important. Update pictures and add video too as you develop your web presence more to include video.
I hope this information has given you some insight into the Google Places. My title suggests I would talk about “Romantic Places” but alas, it is just a common search term for those who need a weekend away from it all. I’m sure an awesome spot with great reviews can be found on….yeah, Google Places! If there are significant changes in Google Places I will either amend this post or write a new one – depends on how big of a change emerges from Google.
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