Ever heard of Google Places? If not, it is a free feature released by Google that allows local consumers to find a local business and write a review of that business. Google Places is the Yelp for Google. More of a visual person? Here is an example of a Places Page for Carmine's Italian Restaurant, located in Washington:
You will notice that the Places Page puts a lot of attention on reviews, hence the red/white button listed twice on the page. The reviews can only be written by Google users as well. Other third party reviews (Yelp, for example) will not be listed on a business' Places Page. Additionally, the Places Page’s appearance will vary depending on the business category.
As you may already know, Google is not a company that creates a feature and stops there. Matt McGee explains that the company will enhance the Places Page with "increased personalization of local search results and additional upgrades to the Places experience on other Google platforms and across different devices."
You might be asking yourself, why should I claim my business on Google? Is this really necessary? The answer is yes. Adding your business listing to Google Places will benefit your company in multiple ways, including:
1) Brand awareness - Over 95% of consumers search online for local businesses. They could be missing your business if you do not have a Places Page created.
2) Uniqueness - By adding extra media (videos, pictures, etc.) to your Places Page, consumers will not forget you (again, brand awareness) and they will more likely choose you over your competitors.
3) Reputation management - With a Places Page, you can learn what consumers are saying about you and respond appropriately (ex: offering a special promotion or if necessary, following up with an unhappy customer).
For more information about Google places, go to http://www.google.com/places/
Have you already signed up your business with Google Places? If so, how are you making your Places Page stand out? I'd love to hear any feedback. Until next time, Google!
About Alan Moore: Alan is an Internet Marketing Consultant with ReachLocal Baltimore. His mission is to help you increase your revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven, online marketing strategies. He manages over $1,000,000 in yearly marketing budgets and has worked with local businesses, agencies and the US government. Give him a call at (877)655-3438 to schedule a free consultation.
Want to read the full article from Matt McGee? Go to http://searchengineland.com/google-overhauls-place-pages-emphasizes-reviews-kills-citations-86914