The big push online is for small business owners to get with the program and start marketing their local businesses instead of using many of the old traditional marketing techniques.
1. Claim and Optimize Your Google Listing
Google was nice and “gave” local business owners all over the world free web pages to showcase their business information.
Google and Local Businesses, by the numbers:
More than 4 million business listings on Google claimed by business owners (using the Local Business Center, now Google Places)
Nearly 2 million listings have been claimed in the United States
20% of searches on Google are related to location
There are 50 million Place Pages
These cover all types of places, ranging from businesses like tailors, restaurants, and optometrists to locations like dog parks, transit stations, and baseball fields.
Place Pages are viewed millions of times each day.
This was taken from Google Press Release and what does it mean to you as a local small business owner?
MORE POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS!
Claiming your local business page is not difficult. Optimizing does take more time.
2. How to Optimize Google Places Page
Add all information they are looking for.
NAP= Name, Address, Phone Number is a very important step when optimizing your page. Make sure this information is correct.
Categories – Google will let you have up to 5 different categories. Use these to your advantage and as close to what your business services/products that you have.
DO NOT use local words in the category area. If you are a plumber in Toledo Ohio, don’t put Toledo or any other cities you serve in the categories.
This is against the Google Places guidelines. Sooner or later you will get “Google Slapped” and could get your Google Places Page banned.
If you are looking at an SEO firm to take care of your marketing online, take a look at their places page and see if they added any location-based information. If they do have this in their Google Places Page, you may think twice about using them as this is not an ethical technique. If they are willing to do this for their own company, how are they going to be marketing your business online?
When choosing your categories, use Google keyword tool to see what people are really searching for when looking for your products/services.
Take time with this.
Look at what your competitors have for their categories (if they do).
4. COMPANY DESCRIPTION
Take time with this also. Look at your competitors. Do not keyword stuff but give people enough information about your company to make you stand apart from your competition.
Make a few coupons for prospective clients. In this economy, people are looking for deals. Give them something of value to get them into YOUR BUSINESS. Because once in, you can (hopefully) keep them as repeat customers.
6. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Add additional information, do you service or carry certain brands? Do you have off-street parking? Any additional phone numbers for your company? Think about when potential clients call your business, are they asking the same questions?
Use this space to your advantage.
Google allows you to upload 10 pictures. Find pictures of your brands/products/services, a picture of your store front, the inside, and your employees, etc.
You are allowed to have five videos. Make some presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint or make a video of services you do, or even the inside and out of your store and upload those to YouTube and link them to your places page. The videos do not have to be long. You can make them 1 – 2 minutes long just to get your message out.
Are you a small business owner?
Have you taken advantage of this online advertising for your local business? If you haven’t, you need to.
Don’t forget to optimize your business information on Yahoo and Bing local also.
I realize there are not enough hours in the day to get every thing done that needs to be done, so if you can’t, find a local search engine optimization firm that will help you with your business online marketing.
Not sure where to find one?
Check out Google Places.
Just type into Google Internet Marketing, your city, state and take a look at the maps tab and see which one you would like to work with.
Quit losing customers and let the internet become your 24/7 salesperson.