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Winning More Business Using Google Places

Last year I was lucky enough to travel to New York City to see Wicked on Broadway. There is nothing like being in a metropolis like New York. The flight across the country is long and you seriously need a bleach bath once you exit JFK. My flight arrived sometime in the evening and my peanuts just weren’t holding up. I needed food. I glanced up at my cab driver and made the assumption that he would have no idea where a good vegetarian restaurant was near my hotel. This is where I heard the little light bulb go off in my head “ding!”. Whipping out my trusty phone I was able to search the term “Vegetarian Restaurant” and the area of my hotel. I came up with five or six places, searched the reviews, and ended on a high note that involved tofu and curry.

google local mapI know, I know…it seems like I should be writing a travel blog. My point is really this: my first instinct was the same instinct that 66% of Americans have when they need to find a local business or service. They search the local listings in Google.

Did you know that:

  • 73% of all online activity is related to local content? (comScore)
  • 82% of local searchers follow up with a phone call or show up on your doorstep? (comScore)

Now if these statistics aren’t doing it for you, I have some other items for you to consider. Google Places has been undergoing some recent face lifts. Now, the local map appears at the top right — above the sponsored listings! Also, depending on the search term, local businesses are appearing even before the organic listings that we all work so hard for!

If you are starting to panic – don’t. There are a few secrets that I want to share with you that will help you stay ahead of the game.

Beating Your Competitors on Google Places

  1. Your business listing MUST have a 100% score. If not, you can forget about being on the first set of results. Make sure that you are completing every available section and utilizing every option. One tiny thing can keep you from beating your competition.
  2. Use the commonly searched terms in your descriptions along with the mention of your target markets.
  3. Avoid keyword stuffing here, but make sure that some keywords are used.
  4. Encourage, bribe and coerce your clients into leaving reviews. If you are competing against other companies with a 100% score, then Google will turn to your reviews to rank you.
  5. Make sure that you have a business listing in your local phone books. Google will verify your listing against reliable sources.
  6. Make sure that you also have listings with other top directories:
    1. Yelp
    2. Bing
    3. Yahoo
    4. MojoPages
    5. Foursquare

If you don’t know where your business ranks on Google places, then you are probably not in the top 7. Google Places is a very important cornerstone in your Search Engine Optimization efforts. If you feel overwhelmed, just pick up the phone. We are standing by with solutions for you.

PS — If you are ever hungry for vegetarian curry and you find yourself in the Lexington area, try out Tiffin Wallah Restaurant on 127 East and 28th Street.

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