It’s not that the phone book is dead, it’s just that people are searching for information differently. These days, most Americans turn to the internet before they grab a copy of the local phone directory. As a businesses owner, you need to make certain that your internet based information is up to date and easily accessible. In addition to a webpage or blog and branded social platforms, claiming the listings that make up your digital footprint lets you have some control in how your business is presented on the internet.
According to Comscore’s latest report, Americans used Google search over 10 billion times in August 2010. Many of these searches resolved with a Google Places listing for businesses that provided what the searcher was looking for. Claiming your Google Places page (formerly Google Local Business Center) is a smart place to start. Does your business have a Google Places listing? You can find it by searching for your Business Name and Location with Google. I’ll wait while you check it out here. If your business isn’t listed, don’t panic – you can register and create a listing from scratch, right here!
After you make changes to an existing listing or create a new listing, Google will verify that you are an authorized representative by calling you or post mailing you a code to enter on your Google Places Dashboard. The process is simple, but if you have questions or need some help, just ask, I’ll walk you through it.
Once you have control of your Google Places page you can use it to promote your business for free:
- Post a special (with a tracking code) that will be visible near the top of your listing for 30 days.
- Add up to 10 images of your products or your business so that people can find you more easily.
- Designate up to 5 categories that your business falls under so that your business appears in refined search results.
- Take advantage of the free coupon option.
Use the dashboard to learn more about the search results your listing appears in:
- See how many times your listing has been viewed in search results.
- Track how many people have clicked through to the listing from the search results page.
- Monitor what terms people searched that resulted in your business listing appearing.
- See the number of times people saw your business listing in the search results for top search terms.
This is just the beginning; there is much more you can do with Google Places, and there are other free business listings on the internet that you’ll want to claim. GetListed.org is a good tool for finding them.
What free listings do you find most helpful in getting customers to your storefront?