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Sunday, July 04, 2010

This past week I met up with a good friend of mine who owns his own Internet marketing business.  We started talking about our client list and he told me a story about a particular client that we getting Internet marketing for free.  When I asked him exactly what he meant by that, he told me that the kind of marketing he was getting was all local and driving a significant amount of traffic to his Web site and retail store.

How was he generating traffic at no cost?  The answer was simple.  Google Places.  If you don't have your business listed on Google Places, you're missing out.  Not only is Google Places appropriate for local retailers, but anyone doing business today.  Even if you are an online business, by identifying your location and getting a listing in Google Places, you can benefit from improved search engine rankings and additional exposure when prospects are searching for your services.

The best way to get started with Google Places is by visiting
and "Add New Business".  What's great about the submission process is that Google makes it easy.  Simply follow the steps for entering your business and be sure to optimize your business description.  I suggest taking the time to complete the time to thoroughly complete all of the information provided including hours of operation, regardless of business type.

Once you've submitted your listing, Google will send you (in the mail) a letter with a special code that is used to confirm your listing.  After you revisit your online account and complete the confirmation process with your special code, your listing will appear within a few days.  In addition to information regarding your actual location, Google takes other factors into consideration before posting appropriate search results for those in a given area.  The next step is getting your customers to submit online reviews.

One of the best methods for obtaining reviews, which can improve your listing and search rankings, is by asking.  That's right... you need to ask if you want reviews.  I know many companies are reluctant to ask for reviews but in my mind, reviews are only positive.  If the review itself has a negative tone, then you know who you need to reach out to, how your service can be improved, and how to enhance your overall business.

If your company or web site is not taking advantage of Google Places, then get started today.  It takes just a few minutes and can pay huge dividends.  Just like my friend told me, a number of businesses who take the time to leverage Google Places are getting business for free.  Their web site and company name come up again and again, building brand awareness and generating qualified leads.


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