These days everybody wants to be found on Google's Map, also known as Google Places. Google Places shows you up to seven local businesses when you search for a business, such as air conditioning repair in Phoenix.
Most business owners are frustrated, because they can't be listed in this local directory map, which generates a flash flood of calls for local businesses. Getting listed on Google Places is like having a full-page ad on the outside cover on the Yellow Pages.
It is very challenging to get listed in Google Places, because there are only seven spots and many times there are thousands of local businesses that want to be listed.
Most business owners have neither the time nor the expertise to get their businesses listed. That's what makes it so frustrating.
One way to increase your chance to be included in the "7-Box" is to claim your listing from the Google Business Center. Make sure you fill in as much information as possible. You should include 10 pictures about your business and five different videos, which can be hosted on YouTube.
The "first-come-first-serve" rule plays a big part in getting your business listed on Google Places. Just don't expect it to happen with just claiming your listing. Follow the steps below for your best results in Google Place.
List your business phone and address on your website. Google rewards you for making it easy for the websites visitor to know where you are located.
Include the business address on the footer of each page of your website, as well as to include it on the "Contact Us" page.
Add your location to your website's title tags. The title tag is defined in the HTML code, and this little page title is extremely important for organic search and for local search.
If your goal is to rank high locally, be sure your site's title tags list the city your company is located in or serves.
Get reviewed. Another increasingly important ranking factor is the number of customer reviews. Also backlinking has a big impact on the position of your Google Place location.
Add photos and video. Google likes it when you add photos and video to your website. The general rule of thumb is, the more photos the better, but make sure whatever you include on your page is of high quality.
Register with the Major Local Data Providers. Search engines like local data providers such as InfoUSA, Superpages.com, Yelp, just to name a few.
Hire an online marketing company with proven results - ask the website company or marketing company to show you several examples of their Google Places achievements. And ask them how long it took them to achieve position.
Google Places listings are in big demand these days, because 87 percent of a business's clients and prospects use the Internet for research before making a buying decision.
As the Internet grows with consumer searches so will your business. Bushido Marketing, a national SEO company, provides proven Google Places services with guaranteed results, gives away a free white paper that shows you how to get listed in Google Places. Call (480) 456-4700 to claim your free copy today.
• Dr. Ron Marek is co-owner of Bushido Marketing in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at www.BushidoMarketing.com.