Claim your Google Places Page, Now… Today!

by Joanne Steele on August 19, 2011

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a google doodle Several years ago I introduced you to Google Places and encouraged you to set up your local business page at Google Places.

This is such an important and useful marketing opportunity, I’m teaching about it in the first lessons in my soon to be opened membership site, “Take Contol of your Internet Marketing.”

Do it now! Here’s Why…

When preparing the step-by-step lessons for creating a local business page, I googled many small towns and rural communities and looked at the Google Places pages to see how many local small businesses are taking advantage of this opportunity.

I was shocked and dismayed! In fact I was so shocked, I decided I couldn’t wait until the membership site is up and running to encourage you to set up your local business page  – that may be another month.

If you’re like many small local business owners you are feeling overwhelmed about internet marketing. So you are doing little or nothing, waiting until you have time and money to update your website. Don’t wait!

If you’re a local small business owner and a regular reader, you know that many if not most of your customers are looking for you online, especially if you are a rural tourism business.

You also know that with smartphone sales overtaking home computer sales, many local customers are accessing the internet on their smartphones rather than via computer. They aren’t using their computers and they certainly aren’t using paper telephone books and paper guides to get information anymore!

Don’t wait until you have a great website or understand more about social media! Get yourself visible online immediately by creating your Google Places page.

Here’s why…

Try searching for your industry and town on Google and see what comes up at the top of the page. There’s a good chance it is a list of businesses with little red icons next to them that correspond to places on the Google map to the right. Those are Google Places listings.

For some reason that is being madly tossed around the blogesphere, Google sometimes shows those lists of 7 businesses, which are known in the industry as a 7-pack. (I’ve also seen a 3-pack.) Sometimes they don’t show up at all.

Regardless,  if you look at the top listings on page one, they will have the little red icon, link to the Google Places page and in many cases an expanded listing with all sorts of additional information about the business taken right from the owner generated content on the Places Page!

I studied one little town, typing “restaurant” and the town’s name into the Google search box. There was a 7-pack, with seven local restaurants listed right at the top. I looked for the website listing of top restaurant in the 7-pack and didn’t find it until I reached page three of the search results!

So that restaurant, which had a claimed Google Places page, fully filled out with reviews, sits at the top of PAGE ONE, even though it has an old, static website in great need of attention!

Does this say you can ignore your lousy website forever? NO. Remember, you eventually want a comprehensive internet marketing strategy and that is your homebase.

What it does say is a few small, simple and doable steps like setting up your Google Places Page can get you started.

Go to google.com/places and get your places page set up. Shortly, Take Control of your Internet Marketing will be up and running and I’ll give you some help optimizing your listing.

But what you probably learned when you checked out your town is that some of the businesses in that 7-pack hadn’t even claimed their page yet! Claim yours and you have a jump on everyone on that list!

If you are receiving my regular email updates, you’ll be among the first to know when the Take Control membership site is open and ready to accept members. If you haven’t signed up yet for my email newsletter, get busy! The form is in the sidebar on the right.

Here is a past post about Google Places:

Small Town Chambers of Commerce, Mobilize Your Businesses and Showcase Your Town For Free On Google Place Pages

Photo on Flickr by Kevin Jarrett

 

1 Jessica September 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Sadly, it looks as though it’s open the the U.S. only. It doesn’t like it when I enter ‘Canada’.

2 Joanne Steele September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am

Keep checking back. With Google now in a serious battle with Facebook after Facebook’s big announcement yesterday, I expect to see things open up worldwide a little faster.

3 Herb Lawrence August 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Great post Joanne and absolutely correct for local businesses not claiming your site on Google Places borders on inexcusable but so many haven’t claimed their businesses let alone tweaked it out I read that around 10% of small businesses have claimed their sites so did a couple random tests in my area on Chiropractic clinics, insurance agents, real estate agencies in our town (approximately 80,000 pop) and of the three groups ranged from 9% to 13% had claimed and the ones who did even less had buffed it up (loading extra pics, videos, etc even adding additional categories let alone sought out additional reviews or citations). Such a big gimme to stand out from competitors in local search am really surprised more aren’t leveraging this tool

4 Joanne Steele August 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

Let me know if you come up with a way to encourage businesses to use this. I hope my soon to open membership site (about a month away right now) will help.

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