Unless you have been living under a rock these past few months you have no doubt noticed that google has moved in a local direction for many searches – especially those with a local qualifier. What Google has done is incorporate “Places” into search results – attempting to help people find businesses in their area that provide the product or service they are searching for.
For example, if you search for “pizza” plus your local area you will get a list of pizza places around you. If you do this search on your mobile device you’ll even get them sorted by geography, with the search giant utilizing your location to help refine your results. As you can see, a places listing can be quite beneficial to a merchant.
So why are there so many listings which remain unclaimed?
Most likely, the reason is that most merchants do not see the value of going through the hassle of claiming their listing. But really, there is no downside and in fact there are even a few upsides.
The most obvious is that, if you claim your listing, you are in control of what is displayed there – the address, phone number, hours of operation and so on. Rather than relying on sometimes inaccurate yellow pages information you can edit your information to ensure that it is accurate. What’s more, if your business moves or has to change a phone number you don’t have to wait until the next printing of the yellow pages, you just log into your account and change your places page.
Plus, as the owner of a places page you can add photo and videos to further enhance your listing in hopes of encouraging visitors to your business.
What other benefits are there?
There are unseen benefits of claiming your places page as well. First and most important is that you get a very important an influential link from Google to your site.
Think about that for a sec – if you claim your listing and add your website to it, you have created a link to your site from Google.com. How important is that?
Even if Google isn’t showing places results for searches now, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. So while your competition may not see the value in a listing now, because perhaps there are no places showing for searches for your market, when Google does start showing more places results, you will have a head start because you’ve claimed your listing long before your competition.
There’s also the added benefit of adding products and services to your listing. Why would you do that? Because this gives you more ranking potential than simply hoping to get found for keywords in your business name or description.
I’ve seen many cases where a business is ranking highly in the places result simply because they added a list of products or services they provide.
What’s the best way to improve your chances of ranking a places page?
In my experience the more information you provide, the better your chance of ranking competitively. Whether its adding products or services, uploading your business logo, or linking to a YouTube video – the more information you provide the better. In fact if you can provide all the above, you will greatly increase your chances of ranking highly.
Later on I will provide information on how to do this – but for now just know that claiming a Google Places page is not only easy, it is beneficial to your business.