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Google Places Listing… Why Bother?

A Google Places listing is effectively a free website provided in the first place by Google. It is often built up from scraps of information scattered around the web; in business directories, review sites, news reports: and frequently includes a link to the company’s website, as well as listing the basic location and contact details of the enterprise. In Google’s quest for information domination, this is one of its carrots – which also has a pretty big stick following behind.   The carrot part is that information on the listing is indexed at the big G and so goes some way to improving your authority in the business niche you inhabit. Google hope that with the beginnings of a listing already set out for each business it has identified, that will encourage the owner to claim, take responsibility for and update that corner of the cyberverse. Maybe they were being a little optimistic in the short term. Of the approximately 40 million business Places listings in the USA only something in the region of 10% have actually been claimed.

Local Search Ranking Means You are Seen

In David Mihm’s analysis of the Local Search Ranking Factors for 2010, he collated the grass roots opinions of 32 of the most respected local search experts in the world. This included the usual US tribe, but also took input from a few guys from the UK.   With 32 talking heads with reputations gathered together, you can imagine that the degree of agreement on some topics was pretty minimal.  However there was one factor that ranked as important above all else.

Claim your Places Listing

The crucial single thing that a business must do to get its Places listing noticed, is to claim the damn thing  😉

Cumbria Chamber of Secret Commerce

is a slightly tongue in cheek dig at my local Chamber who haven’t found the time to update their listing.  As marketing leaders, maybe they just ought to have their fingers on this one so they can at least give a heads up to the people coming to them for advice – naturally I’d be only too happy to help! Alas, the picture as usual is never quite as cut and dried as just presented, because it is becoming clear what an authority this listing is regarded as, by the Google monster itself.  In a similar vein, just as claiming your listing gives it an instant authority boost; not claiming leaves the very valuable piece of online reputation open to accidental spoiling by misguided fans of your operation or outright sabotage by competitors (rare but not unknown!)

Google Places Listing – Optimisation

To really make the best use of the potential power of a Places listing to get you more customers from Google, it is important to synergise it with your business directory listings, so that the search engines get a consistent picture of a real business that is where it says it is and not dotted about over 17 possible addreses.  Consistency boosts authority and in turn this can supply significant juice to your website to help it rank higher and give it the chance to get top Google placements. Why is that useful?  page one of the search engine results page (s) (SERPs for the uninitiated) is where the business gets done, products are purchased and hungry buyers pick up phones.  Indeed, capturing that prized number 1 position, whether that is a simple organic listing or a Places listing generates 42% of the action that is taken on any search page.  That means click throughs to your website and buying decisions made in your influence!  You can’t afford to ignore even the lowly Google Places listing any more.  It simply is the way smart people are finding information as yellow Pages slowly withers towards its own entropy death in 4 years time.

What to Do Next

Watch the video and then contact Ray Cassidy at Consulting Cumbria Ltd to see what you need to do.  For a free appraisal of your website or places listing in relation to 1 prime keyword please feel welcome to send me your details on Your Site Analysis page.