Google is taking local search very seriously at the moment. With the popularity of GPS enabled smart phones ever increasing, more people are using their phone to search out local businesses in their vicinity. If you enter a simple term into Google.co.uk like “opticians”, you will instantly get rewarded with a list of local businesses offering eye care near you and a map pin showing their location. There is no longer the need to search for “opticians jersey channel islands” – Google knows where you are!
Whats more, Google is now pushing their punters to give reviews of companies they find on Google Places via their iPhone and Android Apps. The better and more reviewed a company then the higher it will be listed in the search engine result page (SERP).
Some companies here in Jersey are using Google Places very effectively. These are mainly businesses operating in the tourism industry such as hotels and restaurants where they are dealing with people new to the island. Recently, I had a meal at the Watersplash in St Ouens, it was a busy Sunday and the food both took a while to arrive and wasn’t up to its normal standard. While waiting for my mother-in-law to return from the loo, I used my Android phone to give the Splash a three-star rating and a couple of lines review outlining my grievances. Within a week, the manager of the Watersplash had contacted me via Facebook, apologised and offered me a free meal. I’m still to return to consume the complimentary meal but when I do, all being good, I’ll be sure to remove the offending review. While the Splash will have to pay the cost of the meal they have won me back as a customer and gained some interesting feedback on their business.
Take the plunge
Google Places is free and only takes a few minutes to set up. You really would be mad not to get your business listing. If you are scared of people giving negative reviews then take a lesson from the Watersplash and use the feedback to learn and resolve any issues you may have.
Below is a useful video guide explaining what Google Places is and how to setup your business with an account. Further information can also be gained from this step-by-step to getting on Google Maps or contact Blue Llama for Google Places Set up. If you yourself have had any interesting experiences with Google Places, want to share advice or ask a question then please leave a comment below. Good luck!
Overview of Google Places