We work with a lot of businesses to help with SEO and marketing here in NH and each one would like to be at the top of Google results for certain search terms. But one of the easiest ways to get there is the free, local search tool Google offers called Google Places. It’s the first step for being found by local searchers.
Google, Bing and other online tools are rapidly replacing the yellow pages as the preferred search tool of your potential customers. Many companies are missing these free, public listings (Local Listings on Bing) which allow you to to reach thousands of local users.
Google is already collecting your data from sources like the phone book to create these listings so take advantage of that and claim your business’s listing by adding descriptions and photos and making sure your information is correct.
And neglecting your Google Places listing can hurt you. When I needed to find the church where my cousin’s baby was being christened recently, I Googled the church name. The second result – and the first with an obvious address – was a Google Places entry, which I clicked. I got Google directions to the address and sent them to my phone.
I followed the directions and arrived in a residential neighborhood because the Places listing was actually the parish priest’s house where he received parish mail. I had a word with him about the importance of filling out his parish’s Google Places listing after the christening and why it’s so important to take control of your Places listing. He asked me why a Catholic boy like me didn’t know where the local church was to begin with. Touché.