Local and mobile search is being used more frequently by customers on their smart phones and other devices now more than ever. As local search becomes more and more prevalent, marketers must ask themselves what can they do to incorporate this marketing strategy into their arsenal.
According to a recent release by ComScore, nearly 3 billion search queries contain local terms each month. For companies that have a local presence, top visibility on local search is essential or that traffic will simply go to competitors. Google Maps is one of the most frequently used local search destinations and even comes standard on many devices including the iPhone. Google Places provides a great opportunity to begin marketing on a local level to your potential customers.
A best practice approach to local online marketing will greatly increase your chances of success. The Google Places optimization tips listed below will help you create or modify your Google Places page to become more relevant to both search engines and potential customers. I’ve also included suggestions on how this .
Consistency Is Key
It is important that your Google Place profile contains the same information as any other profiles your company may have online. Google Place pages create another opportunity to build trust and consistency as part of your marketing strategy. Be sure to audit your other profiles and answer each question as consistently as you can. There are some additional ways you can create consistency on your profiles such as:
- Linking: improve searchability by linking your additional profiles together
- Imagery: utilizing the same imagery on multiple place pages will create consistency
- Branding: consistency in naming and referencing your brand is extremely important
*Content Marketing Tip: Go back to basics.
- Are you using the same contact information for each of your social profiles or business pages?
- Do each of your social profiles or business pages reflect your current management team or employees?
Complete All Information (Even if it is Not Required)
Have you ever heard the expression “better off safe than sorry”? Take the same approach when setting up or editing your Google Places profile. There may be questions that you consider irrelevent but could ultimately have an impact on how you are found online. Make sure that you are filling out all standard information including:
- Company Name
- Phone Number
- Email Address
Adding additional elements to your page such as photos or videos are also an opportunity to optimize your content and share a little bit more about your company with your prospective clients.
*Content Marketing Tip: Take an audit of your other local and social based marketing initiatives.
- Have you completed each profile to the best of your ability?
- Can you repurpose some of your existing content for your Google Place page?
- Brand focused images used on other social profiles can be repurposed for your company Google Places page.
Encourage Interaction & Reviews
User generated content can be a very powerful optimization tool. Actual customers may be using additional or different keywords or phrases to describe their experience with you. Reviews also add validity to your statements and information written by your company. Nothing speaks higher of a company than the testimonials of it’s customers. I would recommend encouraging customers or clients to participate or simply urge them to visit your page and see what they think. Some additional ways that you could encourage interaction would be:
- Posting video testimonials on your Google Places page
- Encourage clients to upload photos of themselves at your establishment or with your team
*Content Marketing Tip: Moderate, moderate, moderate.
- Are you currently moderating comments on your blog, website, or social profiles?
- Are you making a point to interact with your potential customers online?
Including relevant and purposeful keywords in your Google Place profile is a strategic way to increase optimization. However, you will want to avoid over stuffing your description with keywords or utilizing keywords in your business name that are not relevant to your offering. Do your research up front utilizing your analytics account to determine what keywords are appropriate for your business.
*Content Marketing Tip: To create an effective strategy you must research, implement, and adapt.
- Use keywords in your file names to improve optimization
- Update your information frequently to provide fresh content
Focus on Your Specialties
Do not be afraid to add details about your service offering, solutions, or products that will help your customers find you. A simple analysis of your google analytics account can tell you what keywords users are searching for to find your company. Do your best to use those descriptions in your company overview and specialities area.
- Think of what your customers will be looking for and provide imagery or documentation that will show your expertise.
The example included above separates this company from their competition. I would venture to say that of the companies that came up in my search this for “Tire Repair, Minneapolis” their profile was the most consistent and complete. Instead of having to further investigate on the company on their website I was given adequate information which would led me to contacting them immediately.
*Content Marketing Tip: People want to know how your solutions solve their problems.
- When appropriate provide an explanation of the problems that your services, solutions, or products solve.
- Be aware of what your customers need and tailor your message to meet that need.
An optimized Google Places page is a marketing tactic that does not take a lot of effort but can have a very large impact on your searchability. As with any online marketing strategy it is important that you present factual and consistent information for your customers or clients. If you are ready to get started or make some change to your existing profile be sure to visit Google’s Getting Started page which will help you through the process. Do you have an idea of how many of your customers have found you on Google Places? If so have you encouraged them to interact with your page and share feedback?