Free Google Places listings are good for business and are a key component of a business’ online visibility. These listings can provide businesses with free, perpetual online advertising. Each month in the US, there are 1 billion searches on the Internet, many of which are consumers and businesses in search of products and services to buy. Google Places listings are integrated with Google Maps and perhaps more importantly, Google’s main search engine, by far the most popular in the US among English-speaking searchers. Today, smart-phone devices provide anywhere, anytime access to a rich set of location-based information, while consumers are shopping on the go. Now, more than ever, it’s critical for businesses to have a robust online presence to stay competitive.
A big reason why free Google Places listings are so compelling is the Google dominant market position. Based on reports from leading audience measurement researchers such as comScore and Hitwise, Google has, at the time of this writing, approximately 65% of the US, English-speaking search market share and if you count search engines powered by Google technology, their market share increases to almost 70%, with Yahoo! and Microsoft Bing splitting most of the remaining 30%. Since listings feed search results within the Google main search engine, the Google mobile search engine and the Google Maps applications, having a Google Places listing can provide a business with tremendous local visibility online, particularly valuable in competitive local markets.
Some other top reasons Google Places listings are valuable include enabling businesses to establish online identities and user engagement by sharing images and video. In fact, these listings currently support uploading up to 10 images and 5 videos, all for no charge. Product images and videos can reinforce a business brand while providing visitors additional information to assist their purchase decision in the sales process while setting the business apart from other local businesses. In the past, use of images and videos have demonstrated the ability to increase click-through rates on listings, influencing listing visitors to respond to some call to action such as click through to your businesses website, click for directions or click to call.
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