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By guest author - Ryan Franklin
Did you know that 82% of the customers looking for local businesses online, end up calling or visiting the business location? Small business owners should be clamouring to Google Maps, However it is still a vastly under-utilised tool, so let's clear up some of the confusion that's keeping you from looking into this valuable tool.
What some people may not know about Google Maps, and therefore aren't taking advantage of the service, is that the listings are free! That's right; a simple Google Maps listing doesn't cost you anything at all. In this economy, who wouldn't love that?
You are also not required to have a website in order to use Google Maps, but you will need to use a Google Places page in place of having a site? It's free traffic to your website and hopefully your store location. Something is better than nothing when trying to reach customers online.
However, it will take more work than simply listing your address in their system. Make sure your listing is up to date and contains as much information as allowed. Optimize your Google Maps listing by using keywords to begin a line of text such as the description.
Make sure your address is correct. Customers will get irritated quickly if they drive to your location only to realize it's a P.O. Box address (which is against the terms and conditions by the way!). Make sure every site where you promote your business address is the same across the board. Try not to have a varying format.
Choose a category that is relevant to your business. Your business may not show up in the searches if your business is located in the wrong category. If your business is listed under one category but is more related to another, then chances are you won't be found. Not to worry if your business is structured under more than one service category: you'll have five category spots available to you, so go ahead and use them all.
Use your Doing Business Name, DBA, to list your business in Google Maps. Knowing the terms and conditions will save you a lot of headaches in this area. For example, you'll want to avoid adding keywords to the business name in order to move up in the rankings. Let the dishonest marketers do that, because it'll eventually catch up to them - leaving that spot open for you down the road.
For your business description, use keywords related to your services or products. Not only does providing Google Maps with a description of your business help in the search engine results, but it will also give potential customers more information on your business. This is what they set out looking for, and there is nothing worse than coming across an ad for a business that only includes the name and website. That defeats the purpose of Google Maps, which is set up to help those customers find your location.
Also, there is nothing wrong with adding photos and video to your listing. In fact it will help improve your ranking.
Use the editing as often as possible. Google Maps allows you to add coupons to your listing, so keep that in mind when advertising to new customers. By adding coupons and store promotions you will increase traffic to your website and your store location as well!
Now that you know what you can and can't do, get out there. Get your business on Google Maps today and start reaching the masses by tomorrow!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Franklin
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