“It’s like getting a free full-page listing in the largest yellow pages directory in the universe–for free.”
(Actually, it’s better.)
If you haven’t listed your dance business in Google Places, it’s time.
Google Places used to be called “Google Business Center”…it’s also known as “Google Local” and “Google Local Maps” and a whole host of other things. But what is it exactly?
When you do an online search for, say, “dance class” and “Houston”, you’re going to get the usual paid and organic search results. But you’ll also get the local search results. Businesses Google knows are near the location you entered. You’ll also get a map with little lollipops showing you exactly where the business is located. That’s nothing new. Local search results have been around for a long time.
But what is new is all the things you can do with local search marketing to make sure your business shows up at the top of those results. And how you can encourage the searcher to give you a call or come in for a visit.
Why does it matter if you show up for local search?
Because this is quickly becoming the most important place to be seen online for “real world” businesses like yours. Why? Because this is where the eye goes first online. But more importantly, it’s the result that shows up first on a mobile phone search. Smart phone usage is on the rise, and soon most online searches will begin on a mobile device (phone, iPad, Ereader, etc.)
What does it cost?
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Just go to Google Places and follow the steps to get listed.
Once I’m listed, am I done?
Not quite, you want to make the most of your listing. Google places gives you the opportunity to add photos, videos, coupons, social media links and most importantly–reviews! All of these help the viewer evaluate your business. It’s not enough to just show up on a particular search. You have to stand out and be the obvious choice to the viewer. And the more complete your listing, the more likely you will be chosen over your competitor. So, make sure you fill out every possible option for your listing–especially the reviews.
Why do I need reviews?
A recent Nielsen study showed that online reviews from total strangers were trusted more than any other form of advertising. ANY form. People trust online reviews more than TV commercials, radio ads, billboards, magazine ads, you name it. The only thing that beat out reviews for trust factor was “recommendations from a personal friend or relative.”
Google will pull reviews from all over the Internet for you. But you can’t place them yourself. You need to encourage your students and clients to go online and post their thoughts on your business. They can do it right on your listing, or they can go to different websites and write reviews. Just be sure they use the exact same business name every time, or the search engine will get confused.
Here’s how to get your listing:
- Register online at Google.com/places
- Verify you are the owner of your business
- Add photos, videos, coupon offers, etc. to complete your listing
- Add reviews as often as you can. The more, the better.
- Periodically check your listing for any negative reviews and handle them appropriately.
Finally, be sure to keep your listing fresh and up-to-date. If it looks like your info is old, a viewer will skip over you (even if you’re the better choice.)
Don’t wait. The sooner you get listed, the sooner new students and clients will line up outside your door.