Archive for the ‘Online Marketing’ Category

The 5 Most Asked Questions about Google Places

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

Google Places Business Listing

Lately, there is a lot of talk about Google Places – Google’s newest web offering that seems to be revolutionizing the way businesses reach customers and market online.  If you are responsible for marketing for a business, then you simply cannot afford to miss out on all the talk.  That is because Google Places can be one of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to establishing a strong business presence on the Internet.  Interested in knowing more, but not even sure where to start?  Check out these five most asked questions about Google Places:

How does Google Places help people find my business?  Google is the number one search engine in the entire world-wide web, encompassing a network of web-based applications (like Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Voice, and Google Directory Search) and other partner websites.  When you set up your Google Places listing, your business becomes a part of that network.  That means that any time someone uses Google to search for either your specific business name/location, or even for a business category related to yours in your area, your business listing is likely to appear in the return results across the entire Google network.

How can I make the most of my Google Places listing?  First of all, make sure that it has a score of 100 percent (based partly on completeness).  Also, upload as many photos/videos as Google will allow, encourage customers to post reviews, and employ search engine optimization (SEO) strategies when writing your Places page content.

How do I get a Google Places listing?  Start by creating a (free!) Google account.  Then visit the Google Places homepage and click on the “add business” option to claim your business location.  Once you have submitted all of your information, you will have to verify your business by providing a valid telephone number or document, and then wait for Google to publish your listing.

What will it cost to use Google Places?  Google Places listings, and every feature that comes with your Google Places pages, are absolutely free.

Is it possible to advertise my Google Places page on Google?  Yes, Google has made it simple and easy to advertise for Google Places using Google Adwords Express.  Access Adwords Express through your Google Places account page.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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Why Having Your Business on Google Places is So Important

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

Yellow Pages Dead

Does your business have a Google Places listing?  If you answered “no,” then you need to get on the task of setting up your Google Places listing, and right now.  There are a number of very compelling reasons to include Google Places as an integral part of your business marketing plan.  If you need some convincing, then you should look over this list of reasons for why having your business on Google Places is so important:

The Yellow Pages is obsolete.  Studies show that 97 percent of all consumers use the Internet to search for and choose local businesses.  Most of those people haven’t touched a Yellow Pages book for years.  Look at it this way: if 97 percent of your potential customers are searching the web for businesses just like yours and you are not there, you are missing out – plain and simple.

Your Places listing will work for you, even when you are sleeping.  The Internet never sleeps, and your page is always accessible to potential customers, even long after you shut-down your shop.  You can even link your Google Places page to your website, so that customers can make transactions while you catch your Z’s.

Branding.  Google Places is especially effective when it comes to your business branding (which, in today’s market, is essential to your business’ success).  By uploading photos and videos, and customizing your content to speak for your unique niche, you can go a long way in strengthening your brand.

Reaching your target market.  You can create content for your Google Places listing that speaks specifically to your target market, and then count on the Google search engine to deliver targeted traffic straight to your virtual-reality door.  There are very few types of advertising that enable you to reach exactly who you want to by means that are within your control, and Google Places is one of them.

Google Places is free advertising.  Regardless of how successful your business is, you have a business budget . . . and you simply cannot argue that many of your business choices come down to the bottom line.  Unless you have a limitless marketing budget (and who does?!), you need all the free help you can get.  It just doesn’t make any sense not to take advantage of such a powerful marketing tool when it won’t cost you a single cent to get involved.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

The post Why Having Your Business on Google Places is So Important appeared first on Ken Ivey.

5 Essential Components of a Good Google Places Listing

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

internet marketing

Google Places can be an invaluable marketing tool for your business, no matter how big or small it is.  As a matter of fact, studies show that over 97 percent of all consumers looking for a local business use a search engine like Google to find it.  If you want to take advantage of this massive market, then you need to have a Google Places listing.  However, it is also important that you optimize your listing in order to reap the full array of benefits offered by Google Places.  How do you do this?  You start with a complete and detailed listing.  Here are five essential components of a good Google Places listing:

Your Google Places score.  Google scores your Places listing – up to a 100 percent – based on how complete your listing is.  Ensure yourself a top spot in the Google rankings by scoring a 100 percent on your Google Places listing.  This means putting information about your business in every single blank in your listing information.

Photos and videos.  Google Places allows you to upload images and videos to your listing.  You should upload as many as Google will allow for, as studies show that Internet users are more responsive to images and videos than they are to textual content.

Positive business reviews.  Encourage your satisfied customers to write reviews for your Google Places listing, so that people evaluating your business for the first time – going solely on your Google places listing – will be more likely to choose you over the competition.

Keywords.  Using keyword-rich content in the body of your business listing information will improve your listing’s SEO and ultimately get it ranked higher in the search engine results.  Take some time to research strong keyword phrases, and be careful not to overuse them.  Consult with an SEO professional if you need help in this regard, as using keywords appropriately can be a bit tricky.

Third-party directory listings.  If you are not taking advantage of third-party directories, you should be.  Sites like Bing, Yelp, Yahoo! Local Business, and Foursquare actually link back to your Google Places listing and can therefore get it ranked considerably higher on Google search engine results.  These business directories are free to use, and are an integral part of the overall success of your business’ Google Places listing.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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10 Advantages of Using Google Places

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

Google Places

If you aren’t using Google Places to market your business on the web, then you are seriously missing out on an unparalleled opportunity.  A Google Places listing can be one of the most powerful money-making tools you have, and it’s time you claim yours.  Still need some convincing?  Here are ten advantages of using Google Places:

It’s free!  That’s right – your Google Places listing and page won’t cost you anything to set up.  When you consider how strong a tool Google Places is when it comes to web marketing, it’s almost mind blowing to know that you don’t have to pay a cent to use it.

Google Advertising.  Once you have your Google Places page completely set up, you can then take advantage of the array of Google Advertising options available to you.

Customer review forum.  Your Google Places page is an ideal spot for satisfied customers to post glowing testaments for all to see.  It is also a great place for you to publicly handle customer complaints, so that potential customers can see firsthand that you are willing to work with your customers to make them happy.

Google Maps.  Along with your Google Places listing, Google will also place a marker for your business on Google Maps, making it easy for new customers to find you.

Better than the Yellow Pages.  Studies show that over 97 percent of all consumers search the web to find local businesses, making the Yellow Pages nearly obsolete.  If you want to get noticed, you need a business listing on Google Places.

Mobile users.  Most people these days use their smart phones to view the web even more than they use their PCs.  Mobile users have full access to Google Places listings, so you won’t miss out on this valuable market.

Targeted demographics.  It is possible to tweak your Google Places listing so that is it seen by those people who are most likely to visit your page and become your customers.

Virtual business tours.  Google Places is now offering (temporarily on a limited basis) to send a photographer to your place of business to shoot a 360 virtual tour of your establishment.  For customers who are on the fence about visiting your business location, this can be just the push they need.

You might not have a website.  Setting up a business website can cost a considerable amount of time and money.  If you have not yet developed a website, you can just use your (once again, free!) Google Places page as your site.

Google Offers.  Google makes it very easy for you to offer customers who visit your Places page special offers and coupons.  Simply click on the “Google Offers” button, complete the information you want to include, and Google Places will publish the offer to your page.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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What You Should Do if You Have a Duplicate Places Listing

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

Duplicate Listing

If you have a business, then you should also have a Google Places listing.  Google Places is not only an effective and free way to market your business online, but it is also a very powerful tool for attracting new customers and gaining the loyalty of those you already have.  However, you only want one Google Places listing.  More than one is too much of a good thing, and can actually detract from your Google search engine potency.  What should you do if you have a duplicate places listing?  Read on to learn about how to remedy this problem:

Multiple Google Places listings for the same business location in Google Maps search results.  If this applies to you, then you may follow a few steps to fix the situation.  First of all, make sure that you have already claimed a valid business location listing from Google Places.  If you have, check to make sure that you have no more than one active listing for that business in your Google Places account; remove the duplicate listing(s) using the method described below.  Lastly, go to the Places page of every duplicate listing, click on the problem reporting link, and report the duplicate pages.  Google will investigate the problem and make any necessary corrections.

Multiple listings for the same business location in a Google Places account.  This situation is very simply remedied by going to your Google Places account page and choosing the listing you want to keep (do this only after viewing all of the Places pages to pick the one that is most complete), making sure the status of your chosen listing is set to “active,” and then deleting the duplicate listings using the “remove this listing” option.  Keep in mind that it may take weeks for these changes to be reflected in Google search results.

Multiple Google Places accounts for the same business location.  Choose the listing you prefer to keep, after viewing all of the listings to determine which is most complete.  Then delete all duplicate listings from all other accounts (to keep any more than one listing for the same business – even if those listings are in different accounts – is a violation of Google policy) using the method outlined above.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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5 Easy Steps to Keep Your Google Places Listing SEO Optimized

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

SEO

Your Google Places listing can be one of the most powerful web marketing tools available – second only to your website.  However, it is not enough just to have a listing.  You also want your Places page to appear as high on search engine results lists as possible.  For that to happen, you must be conscientious of your page’s search engine optimization (SEO).  Fortunately, you don’t have to be an Internet marketing genius to optimize your Places page.  Here are five easy steps to keep your Google Places listing SEO optimized:

Follow the rules.  As you probably know by now, Google is well known for taking serious measures to weed out things like spam, irrelevant content, and erroneous websites when determining its rankings.  Google Places is no exception.  When you create your Google Places listing, make sure you read up on Google’s content guidelines before you publish anything.  Breaking these rules means Google won’t take your page seriously when ranking it . . . and might not even let you play at all.

Third-party business directories.  Make sure you also list your business in other free online business directories, including Bing, Yelp, and Yahoo.  You can link your business directory listings to your Google Places listing to improve your page’s SEO.

Categories.  Google Places allows you to choose multiple categories for your listing.  However, it is advisable that you are picky about which categories you choose, for the sake of not appearing spammy to search engine spiders.  Instead, choose a couple of strong, concise categories for your business and stick to those.

Keywords.  You have the opportunity to dramatically boost your listing’s SEO by including strong, key-word rich content in your business description.  Make sure you do plenty of keyword research to find good, relevant keywords that have a strong web presence and that speak to your target audience.  Also, don’t make the mistake of stuffing your content with superfluous keywords.  When it comes to search engine rankings, your content should flow naturally and smoothly, and should ALWAYS make sense.

Your Places page images and videos.  You should upload as many images and videos to your Google Places listing as allowed.  Also, remember that search engine spiders cannot read images; therefore, you must tag your images with appropriate keyword phrases if you want them to count toward your search engine ranking.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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Google Places Paid Advertising

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

Google Ads

As you may or may not know, a Google Places listing is almost essential to your business’ overall Internet marketing success.  Over 97 percent of all consumers use search engines like Google to find local businesses; therefore a Google Places listing can go a long way in helping you establish the strong web presence that is so important to businesses in this age of technology.  Google Places is a relatively new interface, and many businesses are still figuring out how to use it to its optimal advantage.  In addition to having a strong Google Places listing, you may also use Google paid advertising to increase its effectiveness.  Want to know more?  Here is a guide to Google Places paid advertising:

Google Adwords Express.  Google launched Google Adwords Express as a paid advertising solution designed specifically for Google Places listings.  Although many large, national and international companies have been using Google Adwords for years as a powerful marketing tool, Google Adwords Express makes it easier for small local businesses to advertise to their target market – which is precisely what makes it ideal for Google Places listings.

How to use Adwords Express.  You can access Google Adwords Express directly from your Google Places listing.  The Adwords Express interface makes it super easy for you to submit an ad and have it running in under five minutes!  Simply fill out some basic information about your business that you want in your ad and Google will do the rest.

What you get with a paid Adwords Express ad?  In addition to your business advertisement, which will show up to the left side of Google search engine results and on related partner websites, you will also get a distinctive blue pin place marker on Google Maps, to show people exactly where your business location is.

Who will your ads reach?  Your Google Adwords Express ads will reach local customers who conduct a search for anything related to your business.  For example, if you are an Italian restaurant in New York City, people who search for “Italian restaurant New York City,” “Italian food New York City,” and “restaurants New York City” will be put face-to-face with your business advertisement.  Additionally, people in New York City who simply search for “Italian restaurants” will be shown your ad.  This includes people accessing the web through their smart phones.

How much do Adwords Express ads cost?  This is up to you.  Google will provide you with an estimation of how many clicks to your site you will get with your ad, and will only charge you for clicks.  From there, you can set your budget, and Google will advertise within your specified budget.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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7 Requirements of a Google Places Listing

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

google places listing

One very important tool that your business should have in its Internet marketing arsenal is a Google Places listing.  Not only is Google Places free and easy to use, but it is also one of the most prominent and powerful entities on the web when it comes to business advertising.  As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that Google Places has completely taken over the yellow pages market, making that bulky book a thing of yesterday.  Your business should be taking advantage of all Google Places has to offer, and that begins with a complete listing.  Want to know how to get the most out of your Google Places page?  Here are seven requirements of a Google Places listing:

A Google account.  Before you can set up a Google Places listing, you must first have a valid Google account.

Your business name.  It is required that you list your business name exactly as it is on your business license – no exceptions.  This means that you cannot place keywords into your business name, no matter how tempting it is.

Business address.  Your business address must be listed exactly as it appears on your business license (or, how you would list it on any business correspondence).

Business telephone number.  You must list a valid, verifiable business phone number.  Be sure to include the area code.

Proof.  Before Google will publish your Places page to the web, you must provide proof of the accuracy of your business information.  This may be in the form of a business card, an advertisement, or a verifiable phone number.

Compliance.  Google sets some stringent guidelines when it comes to content, and you must comply with these guidelines, or else risk being blacklisted by Google altogether.  Google Places content guidelines address everything from copyrighting laws to pornography, and can be accessed through Google Places support (on the website).

Completeness.  Although it is not exactly necessary that you complete each and every space on your Google Places listing in order to publish the page, it is absolutely necessary that you fill in all the blanks (even the optional ones) if you want to score a 100 percent.  A perfect score is necessary to earning a high Google search engine ranking, so make sure your listing information is complete.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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3 Easy Ways Google Maps and Google Places Will Deliver Customers to Your Door

Getting Customers

If you know anything about business web marketing, then there is no doubt that you’ve heard of two powerful offerings from the Internet powerhouse, Google: Google Maps and Google Places.  Google Maps is an interactive map application that encompasses features like driving directions, zoom in/out, multiple map views, business location and contact information, and more.  Google Places is an extension of Google Maps, bringing points of interest from Google Maps to life with individualized Places pages.  If your business is not using both Google Maps and Google Places to attract new customers, then you should work on setting up your Google presence, and right away.  Want to know more?  Here are three easy ways Google Maps and Google Places will deliver customers to your door:

Highly targeted marketing.  When you complete your Google Places listing, you have the option of targeting your listing for your ideal consumer market in a number of different ways.  You do this by enriching your content with keyword phrases that are aimed at reaching the very people your business serves, by choosing categories for your business that will attract those who are most likely to become paying customers, and by creating ads and deals that are specifically designed with your primary market in mind.

Your Google Maps place marker.  When you create your business listing on Google Places and have the corresponding business location marked on Google Maps (with that familiar blue pin that Google users have come to know and love), you are literally making your business available to everyone who searches for a business like yours in your area.  That means that even if someone doesn’t know the exact name of your business, or that person is searching using general keywords that pertain to your business, your business’ location marker will show up on the Google search Map results.

Two powerhouses, working together.  Think of it this way: everyone who searches the Internet using Google (and let’s face it, that’s practically everyone who uses the Internet) sees both Google Places page listings as well as Google Maps results.  This means your business has an even greater chance of standing out and getting the attention you want it to when you take advantage of using Google Places and Google Maps together.

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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Google Places Content Policies and Why It’s Important to Follow Them

UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.

Google Policy

Your Google Places listing can be a very valuable tool when it comes to web marketing and establishing a strong Internet presence.  However, there is a right way and a wrong way to use your Google Places listing.  For this reason, Google has outlined certain policies regarding your listing content, and you must adhere to these policies if you are to use Google Places to its optimum potential.  Here is a guide to understanding Google Places content policies and why it’s important to follow them:

Your business listing.  You must list your business name, location, and contact information EXACTLY as it is on your business license.  You may not place keywords, taglines, or other marketing phrases in your listing.

Illegal activities.  You cannot advertise anything illegal through your Google Places listing, or use your listing as a means to discuss or conduct illegal business practices.

Violent or bullying behavior.  There should be absolutely no content on your Google Places page that could be considered threatening to other people, and your page content should not represent violent or bullying behavior of any sort.

Pornography.  Anything considered obscene, sexually explicit, or otherwise indicative of graphic sex is strictly prohibited on Google Places.  That includes any type of nudity.

Misleading representation.  You may not impersonate a person or business through your Google Places listing, or otherwise mislead people about the nature of your business.  This even pertains to images and videos you upload to your listing, which must be directly related to your business.

Malicious content.  Things like Trojans, password phishing scams, spam, worms, and any other type of harmful, malicious, or threatening content are not allowed in Google Places listings.

Copyright infringement.  You must respect all laws pertaining to the protection of intellectual property.  That means you cannot use copyrighted materials on your Google Places listing without proper permission.

Review content.  You cannot remove a review yourself, but you can flag it as inappropriate, in order to request a review by Google.  Google will remove review content that is proven to be spam, off-topic, illegitimate, inappropriate (according to general Google Places content policy), or unlawful.

Why follow these policies?  Simply put, Google Places content policies were designed to enhance the user experience, which ultimately ensures the success of your listing and improves your bottom line.  Not following these policies jeopardizes your standing with Google, and could also alienate those visiting your Places page.  Better safe than sorry, right?

Take advantage of everything Google+ Local has to offer! Visit http://kenivey.com for details.

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