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Put Your Business On The Map With Google Places
Bob Martel, President, JMB Marketing Group

Have you discovered Google’s Places pages when you search locally? If getting found locally is important to you, and it should be if you consider the lifetime value of a customer and your new customer acquisition costs, you need to go claim your listing and make sure the information is accurate, complete, and gives you a local search advantage!

Local search is a completely different animal than traditional Web search, and while traditional SEO methods remain critical, local search marketing (and the rules for Google Places) are different yet equally important. We all know that Google is the dominant search engine and, in the minds of most, Google is the Internet! The statistics change daily but even Google is amazed, according to (outgoing) CEO Eric Schmidt, at the speed of the shift to mobile searches. According to one report, Google estimates that one fifth of the searches include a geographic parameter, and the searches from mobile devices are dramatically increasing.

What does this mean for your business? Well, the Google visionaries have recently rebranded their local mapping and search capabilities. Yes, they certainly see (or are starting) a new search war and thus, ad revenue opportunities such as Google Tags and Google Boost options. The boon for you is that local search marketing is evolving into a strategic tool for you to build your brand, educate and attract new prospects, and to easily out-smart and out-market your biggest competitors.

When it comes to ‘being found,’ ask yourself whether you want to be a dot or a pushpin on Google Maps, or how high or low you want to appear on the Google Lucky Seven Pack, or blended search results. Here are a few tips to get you started on the road to adding Google Places local search to your marketing repertoire.

  • Find your Places page in Google Maps, and claim your listing! You need an owner verified listing. You will find a page already populated for you by Google. Sign in with your Gmail account.
  • Keyword research applies to your traditional search strategy for your Web site. Think like a prospect looking for your business from their phone. How would you find yourself?
  • Your company name, business address, and primary phone should be correct. Referred to as NAP, this information must always be consistent across the Internet; in Web directories, on other sites, and on your own Web site.
  • Choose at least one business category from the list of choices offered by Google. This will help Google legitimize and properly list your business.
  • On your Google Places dashboard, add a couple of Internet coupons. I suggest unique offers so you can track results. Equally important, Google’s algorithm supposedly gives your listing a boost if you have coupons.
  • Citations and reviews from Web sources across the Internet will automatically feed into your Google Places page and give you a boost in landing in Google’s Lucky Seven listings, or in their blended listings in a Web search.
Want a real life example? Go to Google MAPS and search for coffee shops in Marlborough, MA. Starbucks has claimed their Places pages. Dunkin Donuts has not, and you can see the difference when you look at their pages. Some are marked as pushpins, others as dots on the map. Some well known local haunts such as Main Street Café or even Panera Bread don’t even show up!

We have prepared a special report for you entitled Seventeen Local Search Marketing Keys To Optimizing Your Company’s Google Places Page. Available by email request only, with “Get Found Locally” in the subject line, and from valid business email addresses only.

It was Woody Allen who said that eighty percent of success was showing up. It’s time for you to show up locally and prominently on Google Maps with a smart Places page. Inbound local search should be added to your own outbound direct marketing local search efforts! Start with a good target list and, of course, you know that the people who produce this newsletter have all the tools you need for your outbound local search!

Bob Martel is a direct marketing consultant, copywriter, and the president of JMB Marketing Group, located in Sterling, MA. His firm offers local search marketing optimization for businesses that rely on being found on-line by local shoppers, ready to make a purchase! Reach him at (508)481-8383 or at bobmartel@jmbmarketing.com
 


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