Google Places has been upgraded to more seamlessly integrate with Google+ (Local) Pages. This tool can significantly help your business be found by your local community.
When customers visit your business, online or in person, what devices are they using? Knowing this gives you the insight to know what matters to your business and what you need to monitor.
It is important to know what devices visitors to your website are using to ensure the site displays properly. See an earlier post on How to Test Your Website on Mobile Devices for details on that. Also, check your Google Analytics settings to see what devices are already accessing your website:
In addition to knowing if your site displays on all these devices, it’s a strong suggestion (read: demand) that you check if people are rating, reviewing, and recommending your business on location-based apps. Check for your business on sites like Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Google Places, and any other rating and review sites.
Next, do a search for people replying to your business in Twitter. You can see what apps they are using to post to Twitter. Some apps may actually be different websites and computer software, while others will reveal what mobile systems a user has.
Finally, ask your customers, visitors, and tech-savvy friends what devices they are using. It is important to know your target audience and existing client base to ensure your business is best represented online.
Google Place Pages have once again made some massive changes without making it clear to business owners what they can do to help their ratings. Since the YellowPages is quickly becoming outdated, and people are instead rapidly turning to searches either on their computers or mobile devices to find business contact information, it becomes important to be discovered in the dominant search engine. The new emphasis in the most recent changes is on reviews, while eliminating citations. Citations are simply directory listings across the internet that were aggregated into your business’s Google Place Page. However, sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor were not thrilled with Google scraping the reviews and listings into the place page. As a business owner, whether brick and mortar or servicing a local region, it is important for you to claim your Place page and complete the information. It is important to still be discovered on many directory listings across the internet, but it is unclear if Google will still factor these citations into the search ranking algorithm. It is still important that you encourage happy customers to review your business on Google especially, as well as also Foursquare, Facebook, Yelp, and a few others. In the meantime, I’m hoping Google can give business owners a bit more direction on best practices for Place pages (and hopeful that somehow this could integrate to Google Plus).
Want to learn more about what your business needs in Local SEO marketing? Learn here.
- Google Cans Third Party Reviews From Places. Now What? (businessinsider.com)
- Google Places: What Else Went Missing on the Places Page in the Update (blumenthals.com)
- Google Overhauls Place Pages, Emphasizes Reviews & Kills Citations (searchengineland.com)
- How to Research Local Citations After Google Removed them from Places (seomoz.org)
- No, Local SEO Isn’t Dead … But It Is a Wee Bit Harder (smallbusinesssem.com)
Why should you claim your business listing on Facebook Places, Google Places, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, or a number of other social media outposts?
Chances are high for business owners to already have a presence on these sites. Often these outposts are generated by users or using directories.
There may already be reviews of your business on these sites, and while you can’t control how users interact here – you can monitor your engagement and create special offers. In addition, you may find higher search rankings for your business. This is especially true when claiming and completing your Google Places profile.
Get started by claiming your business on:
A great advantage with Google Places is for local business owners that service a particular region rather than having a physical store front can still participate. Other geo-location social media services, such as the earlier ones mentioned, require a physical address to “check in”. However, if your business office is not where business is conducted (such as housekeeping services), Google Places is service to focus on.
Once you’ve claimed your business listings, the next step is knowing what to do on these services. Ideally, you’ll learn which visitors are checking in and review your business. You’ll need to review your visitors at least once per week. Engage with them where appropriate – such as responding when visitors publish their check-in to Twitter or on your Facebook Places page.
How to promote your business listings:
Claiming your accounts is the first step in this process. Interacting with existing visitors is second. Finally, you want others to discover your profiles. You can do a variety of things, such as:
- Put a “Like us on Facebook” message or other services on your print materials
- Hang a sign on the door with links to the services
- Create an account on Snappd.it, use a QR code to list all your accounts
- Talk to your in-person customers and share your appreciation if they’d review you
All elements of geo-location check-in services are a part of mobile marketing. Visitors are pulling out their mobile phones to check in at your business. Know what existing visitors are doing, create incentive for them to continue sharing, and engage them even after they leave your store.