Are you currently a small business looking to increase your sales and online traffic? If so, have you claimed your free Google Places page? More than likely the answer is no, considering only 10% of businesses have taken advantage of this great online marketing and advertising venue!

Google Places allows small businesses to add a listing to Google’s local search database. By ensuring that basic information is up-to-date and providing additional details, such as photos, hours, and coupons, business owners can stand out and attract more customers through online marketing. Adding your small business’ listing is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways that a business can make their products or services more visible online.

Online search is moving toward more personalization, local, and focusing more on reviews than just simply answers. Google Places has had a big impact with online marketing agencies because the new local database now tends to place local results accompanied by a map ahead of the traditional organic search results. Due to the integration of the listings within the main search results page, the importance of online search engine optimization is more evident. With less organic listings being showed on the results page, this places a larger emphasis on marketing through SEO. Title tags, website page content, site architecture, and inbound links have become the most important pieces of a good online marketing campaign.

You might be asking yourself, what does Google use to rank the local businesses shown on the Google Places search result page? Although no small business marketing consultant knows Google’s exact algorithm for indexing search results, the number and quality of local business reviews seems to play a significant role in optimizing a company page. To have success, business owners must use relevant keywords, add extra information such as pictures, video, or coupons to the listing, and most importantly maintain a consistent marketing strategy. Additionally, it is always a good idea to encourage satisfied customers or clients to review your business online. Not only do web surfers actually read this commentary, it will also help your search rankings!

With the newly developed Google program more people are turning to search engines to find products or services locally rather than relying on traditional marketing directories such as the Yellow Pages. “The way that customers are finding products and services is changing, and businesses have to keep up with this trend. There are enormous opportunities for those companies which take the initiative and set up a simple listing on Google Places, especially if their competitors have not yet cottoned onto the technique.” SEO Specialist Pete Goold stated. It is clear that Google Places has already had a tremendous impact on online marketing for small businesses and this trend will only increase drastically down the road.

Source by Matthew R Dixon

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