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You may also not be familiar with Place Pages, which Google released in September last year. Place Pages was a kind of directory listing in Google Maps, allowing you to click on a location and find out more information about a business. Google hoped it would encourage more business owners to claim their Maps listings.
These two forces have now joined together to make Google Places.
A Summary of what's new?Here are some of the main features of Google Places. You can get a comprehensive list here.
Service Areas - If you travel to a lot of different locations to serve customers, Google Places now has a facility to set the location where you operate. Also if your business is based at home you can opt to keep the address private.
Advertising with Tags - You can now pay $25 per month to advertise your business in select cities via tags. This can set your business apart from the competition. Tags provide business owners with an opportunity to showcase an aspect of their Place Page.
QR code generator - U.S business owners can download a QR code that is unique to their business. By scanning the code with an Android-powered device or iPhone, customers will be directed straight to that business’ mobile Place page.
Business photo shoots - Businesses in select cities will now be able to request a photo shoot of inside their business. This will be used to supplement the existing photos on your business page.
Live updates - The business page now allows owners to make live updates in order to promote sales, events, or promotions.
Mobile coupons - Many business owners have opted to add a printable coupon. Customers can also redeem coupons by simply using their mobile phone.
Getting localisation right for your businessWith the new additions in Google Places, businesses can provide more information to potential customers. Making sure the information you are providing to users is correct and accurate could help you capture a sale ahead of one of your competitors.
If you are a small business entering the online world, it can be easy to get lost amongst the 'big players', so targeting local keyword phrases and long tail keywords is the way to lay the foundations of your SEO campaign.
This does not solely apply to organic search; it is also good practice for your Pay Per Click campaign. Generic keywords are generally very competitive and their click prices tend to be high - even when conversions usually come from more long-tail keywords. By targeting the local market, your ads become more effective.
Localisation can build a strong foundation for an internet marketing campaign targeting offline business especially and once your business has established itself in the major search engines, you can broaden your SEO campaign to target more generic terms.