Finding a service or product is easier today due to search engines, SEO and internet marketing, big and small local businesses are having an online presence, competing for Google search result pages’ the top slots. A local business that is listed among the first search results is easier to find by potential customers.
Many internet searches are now location related. A search feature that focuses on location-related searches is Google Maps (formerly known as Google Places). Rather than trying to reach a global audience, it makes more sense for a small business to target local customers. For this reason, among the most useful tools for your business growth is Google Maps.
This service helps your customers or clients to easily locate your business on Google Maps. Once you get your business on Google Maps, you can use this service in order to manage the physical location information regarding your business. Your business will appear listed in Places and under the organic listings when an internet user searches for something your business has to offer.
For those internet searches that are location specific, Google blends the Maps’ page along with results of the organic searches. This means that you can create brand awareness by placing your business on Google Maps. It is quite easy to get your business listed on Google Places in just a few steps.
After setting your account and filling in the information requested such as the phone number, address, email, hours of operation, videos and images, you will be required to perform verification through mail or phone.
Once this step is done, Google will send you a PIN that you can use in order to claim the listing. After completing this process, your listing appears on the Google Maps site. Once your business is on Google Maps it’s up to you to take advantage in order to promote your local brand.
Why you need Google Maps?
This straightforward service can help a company to get its website on Google, becoming searchable and visible on the internet. The local small business can be easily reached this way by Internet users from a particular location it caters to. The advantage of Google Maps is that it is a service provided free of cost and it can be used by local businesses to get their website on Google with little effort. For owners of small local companies, these qualities make Google Maps an excellent marketing option.
Since an increasing number of people are using the internet, very few of them would still use the business directories in Yellow Pages to search for what they need. For this reason, we can consider Google Maps as the new Yellow Pages. Local businesses are recommended to get your company on Google Maps and online directories. This is especially important for those small businesses that cater in principal to local customers and clients.
By using Google Maps all the relevant business information becomes available online and can be accessed through the internet by potential customers even when the respective business doesn’t have a website. The owner of a small local company most often can’t afford designing a professional business website. For this reason, the Google Maps service makes a viable alternative.
By focusing on local searches, Google Maps can provide a better search engine page ranking. The competitors of a local company listed on Google Maps are usually restricted to small local businesses and not businesses from the entire region, state or country. For your location and category, this gives your small business better chances of getting on the first results of the search engine page.
Another advantage of having your local company on Google Maps is that your exact location is shown to any potential customer. When your business listing can be found in Google Maps through relevant keywords anyone can easily find it. Google Maps is also available to be used on mobile phones, so your local business can be also reached by mobile customers.
Google Places and Google Maps are cost-effective local marketing tools because they come as free services. For a small local company spending large sums of money on print ads, radio, television, and billboards is not a viable option. Google Places and Google Maps cost much cheaper (in fact free if you set it up yourself) than other advertising forms while allowing small businesses to locally promote their products and services to their potential audiences.
How to best use Google Maps
If their many benefits convinced you to make use of Google Maps service, we will discuss some tips on how to maximize their use:
• Properly use relevant keywords in order to create a compelling service or product description appealing to the customers.
• Add relevant videos and images in order to promote your local brand and make help your customers to identify and find your business.
• Create for every location a Google Maps page in the case that your business has multiple locations.
• Encourage customer feedback and reviews.
Step by step guidelines for getting your local company on Google Maps
The Google Maps has become now part of the Google My Business dashboard. This function helps to manage and track your presence on the Web across various platforms including Google+, Adwords, Google Analytics and Google Local.
In some situations, Google will display in its Maps various companies from the communities surrounding a certain location. However, you can only list your local company in the city or town where you have your address.
Here are the steps for listing your business in Google Maps:
1. Navigate to www.google.com/business/ in order to sign up for a Google Business account.
2. Fill up all the relevant fields with details about your business.
3. Google will request to send you a verification code on a postcard mailed to your address in order to verify that you own this business.
4. You will receive the postcard within around 10 days. Select “Verify Business” after you login to your new Google Business account. After entering the code your business will show up on Google Maps a few days later.
We highly recommend you to get your business on Google Maps in order to improve your visibility on your local market. As you could see, for a small local company it is easier to get its website on Google by using the free Google Maps service.
To find out more on setting up your Google My Business and Google Maps, check out this free guide “Getting on Google” to set it up yourself!