When was the last time you searched online for a business in your neighborhood?

If you are like the majority of Internet users about 20% of your online searches are localized. From a business perspective, it is important to be found for these localized searches.

People are looking for products and services in close proximity. Often this relates to an immediate action – such as booking a dentist appointment or ordering a pizza.

A Google local business listing is a great way to boost your local online presence. As a business, what are you doing to promote yourself online within your local community?

How Google Local Business Listings Work

Any business owner with a Google account and a physical business address is eligible to create a listing in Google Places. According to Google:

Google Places allows business owners to update and manage their physical business location information. This information can be used to update their business listing so that it appears correctly within Google Maps and associated Google properties and search and Display Network sites.”

Google Places was created to serve two primary purposes:

  1. First it helps you promote your business in your local community
  2. And second it helps Google provide more relevant local search results to its users

A search in Google’s maps from our office returns these results for the phrase, “Pizza Vancouver”:

How to Optimize Google Places Listing

Whether you create your own Google Places business listing or hire someone that provides Search Engine Optimization services to create your account, the elements of a good optimized Google Places listing include:

  • Basic information including your company name, address, phone number and website URL
  • Categories to describe your line of business and provide better insight to Search Engines as to what your business is all about (so they can show your listing to the most relevant searches)
  • Company description which includes the most important and relevant keywords you want your listing to rank for (if your website is fully optimized it is best to use the same keywords)
  • Additional details that are useful to searchers such as hours of operation, payment options and custom details such as parking information
  • Visual aspects such as pictures, videos and company logos
  • Time sensitive content such as coupons, special deals and promotions

For the most part, Google Places incorporates all of the general information a customer may need about your business.

Our Google Places listing for 1st on the List  looks something like this (you can search for us and view our entire listing):

Viewing Your Profile Place Page

It only takes two weeks for Google to verify your account and start displaying your “Place Page” (your business profile). Your Google Places listing can be prominently shown in two ways:

  1. SERP pages – For most businesses whose products or services are location-specific (such as a dentist) the most prominent local business listings are inserted above other organic listings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The businesses are also flagged on a map to the side of the listings.
  2. Google Maps – When a searcher uses Maps on Google and searches for a product or service the local listings will appear in the left column and be flagged on the displayed map.

DID YOU KNOW? Google places an even bigger emphasis on local search results. In late 2010, Google gave priority to localized results for search queries containing a geographic modifier (ie. dentist + city).

Even when searchers do not add a location to their query Google still displays a handful of local results pulled from Google Places before other organic listings. This means more “online visibility” for you!

Benefits of Listing with Google Places

Many of our clients are experiencing the benefits of being listed in Google Places, which include:

NO WEBSITE REQUIRED – Even if you don’t have a website, as a small businesses registering with Google Places is one of the best things you can do for your business. A Google Places listing service will provide searching customers with your contact information and the basic information that they might find on a website if you had one. Google Places also allows your business to be listed in the Search Engines right up there with your competition, leveling the playing field and giving you the chance to win the sale.

SUPPORTS YOUR SEO CAMPAIGN – Google Places is a great way to supplement your SEO in its early stages. It only takes two weeks for your listing to be verified before it is included in local search results. This can be extremely beneficial since it can often take between 3 to 6 months before you begin ranking well in organic listings.

INCREASED VISIBILITY – As mentioned earlier, Google gives priority to localized results, ranking local results before other first page organic listings – which means you can compete against other well established websites even when your organic rankings are not as strong.

INCREASED TRAFFIC – Google Places creates an additional online traffic source that did not exist before. For one of our clients, their Google Places listing made over 3,000 impressions and generated 60 clicks in just one month. That’s 60 visitors more than what they would have had without Places!

QUALIFIED VISITORS – People who see your listing in Google Places are searching for a service in your local area and are more qualified than a query coming from a generic search for your services.

ANALYTICS AND FEEDBACK DATA – Google Places provide analytical data much like the Google AdWords platform. Based on statistics such as the search terms that return your business listing, locations used in searches for your business and even where requests for driving direction originate, allow you to gain insight and optimize your listings for the future.

CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SHARING – Online viewers have the opportunity to write a review about your business and rank your products or services out of five stars. Your rating is displayed right in the SERPs and adds another incentive to click on your listing. Furthermore, customer interaction and views won’t harm you as Google starts to rely more heavily on social cues.

CONTROL – Google uses listings from 3rd parties (such as Yellow Pages) to auto-generate business listings. By creating or editing your Google Places listing you take control over what information is dispersed and can make sure it is accurate and up to date. Furthermore, you can add more relevant details for customers that Google wouldn’t otherwise discover about you.

Be Included In Local Business Directory Listings

Companies and businesses not utilizing the Google Places business tool are missing out.

As Google focuses more heavily on localized search a Business Page can boost your online presence and act as an effective teammate to your search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns.

For more information about creating your Google Places business page please:

Call Toll-Free 1-888-262-6687

Submit an Info Request Google Places Listing Request

Email our SEO Consultants