Alexandra Hagler - June 4, 2010
In today’s world people are using search engines to perform research on businesses before they step foot in the door.
Google has enhanced its Local Business Center platform into “Google Places.” Google has noticed that people want to better connect with public pages so they have changed some of the features of their local listings. These new features allow business owners to manage their own pages and enhance their business listing.
The more complete your Google local profile is, the more potential it has to rank organically. The key is to populate fields with the best “straight forward” description of your company. Personally I have found that I feel more comfortable visiting a business with a few of the fields listed such as, store hours, pictures, and the website listing. This provides a sturdy framework for a good first impression of the business.
Available Listing Categories
- Business Hours
- Photos (Up to 10 photos)
- Videos (Up to 5 YouTube videos)
- Customer Reviews
- Specialties or certifications
- Forms of payment accepted
Enhanced Listings Introduced by Google Places
- Service Areas — You have the option to make your address private if you do not have a storefront, office location, or you travel to “serve” an area.
- A new, simple way to advertise — For a fee of $25 per month, businesses can have their listing stand out on Google.com and Google maps, using “Tags” in their listings to enhance the terms they would like their business to show up. This feature is currently only available in select cities.
- Business photo shoots — In addition to uploading photos, Google is now offering a “photo shoot” in select cities and countries. For more information please see Google’s Business Photos page.
- Customized QR Codes — Businesses can now download a unique square “bar code” and place it at their business. These bar codes can be scanned by supported phones, such as iPhones, and it will take the user directly to the mobile website of the establishment.
- Favorite Places — This is a new program where Google has sought out and researched the most searches performed on Google.com and Google maps for a business. They have sent out window decals with a unique QR Code. Google’s blog has more information about these QR Codes.
- Real-time updates —These can be used for businesses to post promotions, sales or other special events.
One out of five searches performed on Google are related to locations. Keeping that in mind, you want to put your best foot forward and create a positive first impression for your prospective customers. There are other popular and free tools used for local searches that you should use to your advantage.
Business Listing Sites: