Remember the days of scouring the current Yellow Pages to find a local service or business? It's now a fact that a high percentage of people looking for a local company or service perform an online search. According to Google, this percentage can reach as high as 97%, so it appears that any business who wants to keep its head above water must be highly visible online.
For every business owner, from the largest down to the smallest, or for anyone offering a product or service, the name of the game is Online Visibility. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as an SEO optimised website, active participation in social media networking and taking advantage of the numerous digital promotion avenues, but the two-fold goal is always to maintain a strong and positive Internet reputation while being highly visible in an online search. Google Places provides excellent tools to help achieve both of these goals and is one of the simplest ways of attracting local customers. Even an individual or small business that doesn't have a website can attract attention and customers by a listing on Google Places.
Business owners can begin using Google Places effectively by checking their own listing. Most businesses already appear, so it's important to verify the information. Check that the details are accurate and that the listing is correct. Then, to make sure your company stands out, begin “dressing up” the listing by adding photos, videos and custom categories. These could include your service area, specific brands that are sold through the business and parking recommendations. Going one step further by offering online coupons or special promotions to first time customers is another way to ensure increased business. Once this is done, check Google Places regularly to add notifications, update information and to gather data on the number of people who have viewed your listing.
As a free and popular service, Google Places is one product that can and should be used by anyone who wants to increase and strengthen their online presence.