How to Set Up and Optimize Your Business in Google Maps
Even if your business doesn't have a website, or use social media, you still need to take advantage of at least one important Internet tool to direct people to your organization: Google Places. Getting your business mentioned on the Internet's biggest listing resource will make sure that anybody looking for you can find you.
Google is the biggest network on the Internet and the most popular search engine, boasting 67% of the market share. Google's nearest competitor is Bing with 17% of the market share. As far as the Internet goes, if you want to get your name out there, you need optimize your name so Google can find it.
Google Places is a great tool for businesses to take advantage of because Google will display on their map whenever a business, product, or service is searched for along with a location. You will notice that Google Places uses little red markers to help direct people to find what they're looking for. Try it out for yourself, go to Google and search "Computer Repair 74012." You should see Integrated Business Technologies show up on the map.
As more people connect to the Internet and own mobile devices, traditional print listing resources like The Yellow Pages are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Instead, a business looking to connect with prospects will be better off investing in online marketing. What's great about the Internet is that many tools like Google Places are free to use, and your web presence can be strengthened with just a few modifications to your listing.
Getting your business listed on Google Places is easy. Go to Google's signup page and use your Google account to sign in, or make a new Google account if you don't have one. From here, Google will direct you through a sign up process that will take you five minutes to complete.
After you fill out your information, Google will not post it immediately. This Google policy helps deter fraudulent entries. It will take a week or so for Google to send you a postcard to the address you entered. On this card is a phone number that you will have to call with a four-digit code that confirms you received the card. After you call the number on your postcard, your business will now show up on Google Places.
Just because you are now listed on Google Places doesn't necessarily mean you will show up on the top of the list and your sales will increase. Unless you are the only one selling what you are selling in your market, you will see all of your competitors listed before you that had the foresight to get on the Google wagon early. No worries, with some edits to your company's Google profile, your business can leapfrog over all the inactive competitors. Here are five quick tips you can do to improve your spot on Google Places.
- Integrate your Google+ account and your friends' accounts by having everybody "Follow" your company's account.
- Make sure every place you list your address on the Internet is consistent. For example, your listed address shouldn't be divided between "South Maple" and "S. Maple."
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your company's Google profile, and professionally respond to negative reviews.
- Upload an attractive photo to your Google account.
- Don't try to fake out Google with phony reviews on fake accounts in order to boost your ranking; this will lead to Google penalizing your listing.
Google Places is a great place to start in order to get your business listed on the Internet. We encourage you to not stop listing your business on just Google. You will want to take advantage of as many online resources as you are able to, like Yahoo!, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, and much more.
Consider this an introduction to the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The more effort that you put into being found on the Internet translates to more people finding you. Do you know any other successful tips that have helped your business be found online? Share your tips in the comments, unless you know your competitors will see these tips. If this is the case, leave fake tips.