Google has recently changed the way it returns its Google Maps Business Listings in search results, and these changes will have a huge impact on the way consumers and your customers encounter and use these business listings on the Web.
I don’t know exactly when the Google change occurred, but until a few weeks ago, if you wanted to find a website for a specific local business, you would search for the business name and location. Using the standard Google Web search box, you would get a results list with the business website (hopefully) placed near the top. You would not get a Google Maps Business Listing with the results, unless you actually searched in Google Maps. Now, using Google’s standard Web search and the business name and location will return the Google Maps business listing in the top spot of the search results, if Google has a listing for the business.
With this change, as a local business owner, no matter how much time, effort, and money you spend on your website and on search engine optimization, you won’t be able to move your website above the Google Maps Business Listing in search results. Customers and prospects will very likely click into that Google Business Listing before they visit your website.
So what should you do if you are a local business owner? This change makes Google’s listings more important than ever — if you own a local business and you haven’t claimed and updated your listing, you need to do it NOW!
You also need to check your Google business listing on a regular basis because it will display consolidated Web references to and reviews of your business. Without checking it frequently, you will not know what this information says about your business.
Now more than ever, you need to ask your best customers to post reviews for you on Google. If you run a customer-focused business, many will respond to your requests. If your Google Business Listing is updated with current information and you have great customer reviews displayed there, the Listing will complement your website to bring motivated customers to your business.
I can help you promote your business and your online reputation with better Google Places business listings! Call to let me explain how at 979-531-8300 or send me an email by using the contact form.
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