How to use Google Places and why it’s a useful marketing tool

Google Places is a very powerful tool for any local business. That goes for dog breeders as much as it does for retailers and service providers.

It’s a great way to connect with customers, give more information about the business and it allows customers to review your puppies and services so others know you can be trusted.

Set up your Google Places page

First, do a search for your business and location. Google often sets up pages for businesses, all you have to do is claim it. If there isn’t already a listing for your business, simply create a new one. You’ll need a Google/Gmail account for your business to do this.

Once you’re logged in you can begin adding or editing your business information. Make sure all the details are completed so people searching for your business can find everything they might need to know. From opening hours to contact details. You should also add some photos as this will give more of an idea of what your business is about.

These photos should show puppies, parents and where they’re brought up.

Create a description and include your primary keyword in there. However, remember you are writing for the customer and not Google. Don’t sacrifice information and ease-of-reading just so you can fit in a keyword.

Next you’ll need to get verified by Google. This just ensures that you really are the correct person to be working on behalf of the business. You can verify either by phone, SMS or post. You’ll get a code from Google that will be used to verify your listing. It’s all very straight forward and Google will walk you through the process.

Next you’ll need to optimise your page with content. Google allows you to add photos and YouTube videos so make the most of this.

You can connect this to Google Plus. You should post regularly as it will keep your customers up-to-date with your activity. Link to puppy adverts, blog posts and your other social accounts.

Encourage reviews

We’ve already covered this in more detail here. Listings with reviews are more likely to get clicked on over ones that don’t have any feedback. Encourage your customers to leave a review. There are a number of ways to do this, from asking nicely in person, to sending out an email newsletter explaining how to do it.

The benefits of Google Places

Having a Google Places listing gives you so many benefits in your locality. Let’s say a potential customer is looking for a new puppy but they don’t know where to start. What they’ll do is conduct a Google search for the breed they are after and their location.

If you don’t have a website or haven’t done much with it, you might not show high up in the searches and you might get missed. That potential customer will never even know you’re there. This is even more true if you have a competitor with a Google Places listing as these generally show up first in local searches.

If you have a Google Places listing that is correctly filled out, you should have the edge over similar businesses in the area.

That potential customer will be able to see what you do, where you are, customer reviews and opening hours all from that simple Google search. You’d be silly not to set up a Google Places listing right now, it’s free too.

Google Places is also much more mobile friendly than the average website. This means that when customers are out and about, it’s going to be their first port of call when it comes to finding out information about your business.

SEO Benefits

Obviously, as this is Google, there are huge SEO benefits to using any of its services. Simply by having a Google Places listing, you can surge past established websites in the SERPs (search engine results page).

Google Places listings often appear at the top of the search results when location keywords are used. This means you don’t have to pay for costly SEO work to get your brand on the front page of Google.