There are no true short cuts to online marketing success on Google but investing the time and energy of your small business marketing team to maximize your results with Google Places is probably the most important step you can take, particularly if you don’t have lots of money to spend on Google Adwords marketing.

Having your business listed in Google Places is extremely important if you want to increase your keyword ranking in a Google search. Google recently reconfigured the way they rank pages. If Google believes a person is performing a search for a local business based on the searcher adding a location, they will put the Google Places results amongst the top listings of the search page.

Take the time to fully complete the Google Places profile. This includes, uploading photos of your business – even better, upload videos. Make sure your favorite photo is the first one you upload. Make sure that you choose your Google categories carefully as this is an important tool that Google uses to properly index your website.

Get reviews from customers whenever you can. I cannot stress how important reviews are to Google Places and how your business is ranked as a review from a verified or trusted source carries significant weight when Google is deciding on your business relevance factors. Reviews need to be written by real customers as the reviewing sites as well as Google are good at detecting when you direct the staff at your shop to write glowing, unrealistic reviews, they delete or simply ignore them when they suspect foul play. You should also be regularly checking for negative reviews made about your business on the web. A timely response made directly to an unhappy client always provides the best way to minimize the damage a negative review can cause your business. If dealing directly with the customer try to insure an outcome that will satisfy the customer and that will compel them to update or delete the negative review they have written. If you are unaware of the client’s identity, respond to the negative review with a neutral, understanding response and offer to satisfy the clients concerns with a call to the appropriate person at the business. The one thing you do not want to do is to get into an online squabble and discard the customer’s feelings, even if they are wrong you don’t want the reader of the complaint and your response to choose sides as they will often side with the customer.

Another important factor to your Google Places success is of course a well-designed business website. A business website optimized for Google searches coupled with a complete Google Places page will be more relevant to Google and you’ll end up higher on the page.

One of the last factors affecting your Google Places ranking and overall website performance is the amount of quality backlinks to your website. I’ll talk about backlinks in another post because it’s a in depth topic but in short these are other “related or internet neighborhood” websites that place your website URL on their site. Google sees these links as “votes” for your website and business relevancy so it’s very important to get your website link out on as many related websites as possible, always add your website domain to online directories, supplier websites etc whenever possible.

Finally citations of your business play an extremely important role in where you show up when someone searches in your community for your services. A good, managed citation program can make more difference than you know, if you have questions about this please don’t hesitate to contact Denver Pro Sites at 303.725.7905.

Using Google Places will help create online marketing success for the small business owner, but only if you take the time and go through the complete profile process. Don’t just set up your Google Places and then forget it. Google Places profiles need to be managed and if you need help with that there are plenty of companies that will help you manage this along with the social marketing sites aspect as well.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Denver Pro Sites at 303-725-7905, we’d be happy to help you with any Google Places marketing questions you have or basic internet marketing services you might need.

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