First of all, if you haven’t claimed your Google Places listing, do so now, and then come back and read this article!
As you probably already know, Google Places is a great way to get your business ‘found’ in online searches, giving viewers accurate information about your location, specialties, and services, and even showing ratings and reviews from past customers. Savvy business owners have claimed their Google Places page and make sure to keep them updated.
And now, thanks to Google’s latest announcement, claiming and fully utilizing your Place page is more important than ever. As Google has explained, the new modifications mean that certain queries about brands and the people who manage them will now show Google Places data next to the search results.
In other words, the next time someone goes to Google.com and types in the name of your company, the usual website information you have made available will show up, and now on the right hand side next to this information, there will be Google Places data as well. This change also affects Google’s Instant Preview – when a company with Google Places information comes up in search results, arrows on the right hand side of the listing, when clicked, bring up the extra information the company has provided, in addition to what was there before – a preview of the website listed.
Furthermore, if your Google Places page is not fully optimized (that is, all Google Places information filled out, pictures included, reviews posted, etc), only the bare bones will be shown – a map with your business’s approximate location, and a few keywords to describe it. Not very good for business!
Most people, when given a choice between two or more companies offering the same service, will click on the company that is most enticing – the one with reviews from customers, pictures of the staff or building, hours of operation, maps and directions, and other helpful, personable information that makes that business seem authentic, professional, and capable.
Try looking up a company that is well-represented online. Google results should show that their Place page is fully optimized – all pertinent information is filled in, and the images and reviews included entice viewers to click their link and learn more.
A company that is only partially optimized, on the other hand, has only a ‘partial’ listing – sparse information, no engaging content. Someone who comes across this page will most likely not feel inclined to click through to the company’s website. In an age where potential customers can shop online and research extensively before investing in a company, the details make a big difference. Your Places page could bring in customers, or drive them to other more attractive sites.
Bottom line: Make sure your Places page is fully optimized!
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