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What Kind of Influence Does Google Maps Have on Local SEO?

google-placesFor businesses that are starting to realize the importance of local SEO for the growth of their businesses, one of the most important elements for a successful local SEO campaign is Google Places for Business. By simply claiming and completing a business profile in Google Places, local businesses quickly become more visible to end users who are conducting searches for local services. Here is what you need to know about this very powerful marketing tool.

First and foremost, business listings on Google Places is 100% free. That’s right. It’s one of the most cost effective things you can do for your business when it comes to local Internet visibility. The only investment you have to make is the time it takes to properly complete your business profile. Google Places was launched by Google back in 2009 as a new and improved version of the defunct Google Local Business Center.

Impact of Google Places to Local SEO

Google has worked hard over several decades to collect all sorts of data regarding end user behavior when it comes to conducting searches and how they use the Internet. Analysis has revealed that over the past few years, end user behavior has changed thanks to the emergence of smart phones and tablets. More and more end users reliy on the ability to search the Internet while on the go and up to 97% of the Internet using population use the Internet to locate local businesses. In addition, up to 73% of all of the Internet searches conducted in one day relate to the products and/or services that are offered by local businesses or offer local content.

In order to give end users what they want, Google has begun shifting the types of search results they offer, providing local search results at the top of the page and more global results towards the bottom, making local SEO efforts one of the most important things you can do to gain search engine results page position for your business. And, using Google Places is just one of the ways you can accomplish this goal.

Google prioritizes businesses that have established and developed their Google Places profile and give them preferential treatment when it comes to listing them in their search results.

So, how do you take advantage of Google Places?

Claim your profile. Simply open Google Places, type in the name and location of your business and then click the link that asks if you are the owner. Complete the profile including your business’s name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and other pertinent information. And then add pictures, video and interesting information about your business and location. Consistency and completeness are the key to a successful Google Places profile.

And, that’s it. You can choose to offer discounts or other incentives in order to gain more business, which can also help your ranking, but it’s not required. Do your business a favor and take the twenty to thirty minutes it takes to complete your Google Places listing. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your traffic and business increases.