This is the second post in the Local Marketing Success with Google Places post series. Our blog focuses on helping Retailers and Restaurants in the Baton Rouge area understand how to use social and mobile marketing to increase business, but the information in this post applies to any business with a physical location.
If you missed the first half of this post, you can find it here.
Your Google Places Page
Now that we have your website optimized with internal/external links and meta data, and we have your other listing sites matching each other exactly, it is time to create your Google Places listing.
Go to Google.com/places/ and follow the prompts to complete your business listing.
Here are a couple of notes to follow to optimize your listing and get the most from your Google Place.
Fill Out Everything Completely – Don’t forget to include your Hours of Operation or Dog’s name if it asks for it. Google weighs complete listings higher on the set of search results than incomplete listings.
Use Keywords – Google will ask you for descriptions of your industry and business in general. Be sure that these descriptions include keywords about your company. Be specific. Don’t just be a graphic designer. Be a graphic designer that specializes in working with small businesses in the Baton Rouge area. Keywords are your Search Engine’s friend. Use them where you can.
Photos – Google LOVES multimedia. Photos are a great way to elevate your listing above the noise of other listings. Plus, people love them too. Add photos where you can and be sure to include those keywords in your photo descriptions. To give Google an extra added tickle, slide on over to Flickr.com and post your photos there too. Make sure to use keywords, and geo-tag them with your city/address.
Connect your YouTube videos – Got any on YouTube? Great! Connect them. If you chose to post them on a video sharing site that isn’t the second most search site in the world, that’s too bad. Google will only allow videos from YouTube. Go post them there.
Check Your Snail Mail, Seriously
Seriously. After you complete your business listing online, Google will send you a postcard in the actual United States Postal Service to the address you listed. This post card will have a confirmation number on it and a web address. Visit the web address and enter the confirmation. This tells Google that you weren’t kidding when you created your listing.
Offer Cool Stuff to Visitors
Now that you are all confirmed and stuff, Google allows you to offer coupons and stuff to your Google Places visitors. If you don’t have anything cool to offer, create a coupon to have free coffee with you to meet and greet new people.
Reviews – The Motherload
Nothing demonstrates to others that you know your stuff better than other people vouching for you. Encourage current and past customers to visit the review sites we mentioned earlier (especially Google) to write a review about your company. Send them an email with your request and with a direct link to your listing on a couple of sites. Give us a hand and write a quick review about our blog on our Place Listing. Click here
Google weighs quality reviews higher than crappy ones, so encourage reviewers to answer a series of questions in their review or to write as detailed as possible. Reviews like “The food was great.” aren’t going to cut it enough for Google to care.
Finally, Don’t Lie.
Don’t pay someone to write fake reviews. Don’t create a fake login and create them yourself. Enough said.
If you are still a little squirmy about asking people for reviews, offer a coupon or some other incentive. You could even offer to review their business in exchange. But if people like your company, they won’t mind leaving reviews.
Bacon Social Media helps companies like yours manage their online presence through sites like facebook, twitter, YouTube, and foursquare. We do this stuff every day. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line.
Help Us Out
Take a Couple of Seconds and Write a Review of our Blog on our Places Page! Click Here
If you have a store front, a retail shop, or a restaurant, you should have a Google Places listing. If you’ve searched on Google’s Map for businesses in your area, you’ve seen Google Place listings as the set of results.
This article details the tips and tricks to get the most out of your Google Places listing, so your place can be found online. Hopefully, you are reading this BEFORE you add your business to Google Places, but if you’ve already added your place, keep reading for some nuggets of value to boost your place’s performance.
Other Business Listing Sites
Believe it or not, Google doesn’t totally trust you. They place trust in other websites, so your first priority before creating your Google Place listing is to visit OTHER listing sites and create your business listing there. Sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Insider Pages, Sunshine Pages (for Louisiana folks), Yahoo Places, and the Yellow Pages all allow FREE listings of your business. You can also find paid business listing services that will do it for you for a small fee.
When listing on these sites, be sure to completely fill out each form. Enter your Hours of Operation (even if you don’t have any). Enter your company email address (even if you don’t usually give it out). THIS IS IMPORTANT: You must complete each listing in the exact same way. In other words, copy and paste is your friend. Don’t spell out “Street” in one listing and spell it “St.” in another because your hand got tired. Why is this so important? Google looks for exact matches between listing to verify the data is accurate. Don’t throw Google for a loop. Help them help you and make sure everything matches exactly.
Google also considers sites like the Chamber of Commerce, Association Membership listings, facebook places, and foursquare. These sites are considered to be highly trustworthy, so visit each site directly to confirm your listing matches exactly to your listings on the sites mentioned earlier. If anything is incorrect, contact the site owner and follow the procedure they require to have your listing changed. It’s your info. Confirm that it is correct.
Your Website SEO
Meta Data is the data that each webpage holds about the page to make it easy for Search Engines to identify what’s on the page quickly. If your site was built by a web designer who understands the importance of Meta Data and how it relates to Search Engines, they would have requested that you provide information such as Keywords, Short Descriptions of your company (or of the information on each page), and webpage titles. Some designers prefer to create this information themselves.
To check your website pages’ meta data, visit your website, click the menu item “View” (in internet explorer), and choose “Source”. This will display the text that lives behind your webpage. Toward the top, you should see “META” tags. Look for Meta Keywords, Meta Title, and Meta Description. The information listed behind each of these tags should relate to the webpage you are viewing. To connect this back to Google Places, you will want to make sure that your city is listed somewhere in here. Google will bounce your website off of your Google Places listing to determine its relevance. You want it to be relevant.
Links from other websites (called backlinks) also help your Google Places listing to climb the list toward the top. You should have some sort of SEO work happening for your site already. Just make sure that the keywords you are using also have your City, State, Company Name, etc. to be relevant to your Google Places listing.
Internal links around your site are links from one page to another within your site. Having a link from your Contact Us page to your FAQ page is an example of a internal link. Be sure, just as with external links, that your internal links also have keywords pertaining to your address and business name in them as well. Google does not place as much weight on internal links as external links, but they don’t hurt you either.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss your actual Google Places listing. Now go create your “other than Google Places” listings.
Bacon Social Media focuses on helping business realize the value of marketing via online sites and channels. Let us help you get started today. Give us a call or send us an email.
This series of articles “How to Market a Restaurant” takes you behind the scenes of how we developed our Restaurant Social Media Marketing Package and shows you the strategies behind it. This package was developed specifically for owners searching for restaurant marketing techniques that work. Enjoy…
Let’s face it. Restaurant owners are busy. Most don’t have time to spend navigating through the online and social media space.
Nor do they have the time to take a look at and manage the online image of their restaurant.
Is your restaurant’s website stale?
Does it have old and outdated information? You’re not alone. There is help.
Baton Rouge area businesses interested in developing a robust Social Media campaign, cannot simply stay within the boundaries of free resources. The ideas discussed in this article dive in to one paid service that is worth every penny.
What is SEM or PPC? Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click.
While most of the services and techniques I recommend are either inexpensive or free, SEM-PPC is a great way to pay for visitors. I’m not going to touch on all of the scenarios that could make a great SEM-PPC campaign, as that could get very expensive very quickly, but I am going to talk about how to effectively manage a strategy with the largest Search Engine on the planet, Google.