Recently Google Local was renamed Google Places and some features were changed or added. While the name change is not getting a lot of raves, the functionality is catching the attention of internet marketers.
If you own a small local business, claiming your free Google Places account for your location is an excellent idea. Then add relevant content like customer reviews, photos, or a video. Google Places is important to your small business because 20% of all searches focus on local results. Also, Google Places is promising to deliver more local results than ever and you want to be part of that wave.
When I updated my listing this week, I discovered (and have confirmed elsewhere) that you no longer have to display your address. If you are a home-based business, this is good news.
Also, if you are a service business that primarily travels to other locations as we do for new projects, you can now display your service area as a radius in miles on a map.
If you use coupons or would like to use coupons, you can use the TAGS feature for $25 a month to highlight your business on Google Maps. Special events can also be listed on your Place page where it will expire after 30 days. I’m going to put a press release for our new Website on my Place page when we launch our site in a few days.
If you make any simple or keen discoveries about how to best use the Google Places listing, please share them with me and other readers.
Karen Nierlich is co-owner of Full Orbit Communications, an internet marketing firm in Albany CA. Her business works with clients around the country, but primarily in Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond, CA. She’ll be exploring Google Maps and Google Places in coming weeks, so she can share with other small local business how they can be found with more ease by locals.