Recently, I was giving a presentation to a group of eye doctors about Google Places and how to use it for getting found online. To me, it seemed as though a small percentage of them were tapping into the power of Google Places. If you’re interested in learning more about an easy solution to get found quickly online, including step by step instructions, read on…
What is Google Places?
Formerly known as Google Local Business, it was renamed Google Places in April 2010. Simply put, it’s a free business listing tool Google designed to make it easier for people to search online and find local businesses like yours. It’s free for both you and your customers. You’ve probably seen some of these listings on a page of Google search results. For example, when you search for “eye doctor Houston,” you’ll see a map at the top of the page with a list of businesses listed next to them. These are the Google Places listings.
Why should you care about Google Places for your practice?
“If you’re not listed somewhere on Google, you’re invisible to potential clients, patients and customers,” [Dr. Jeffrey Prager, a dentist based in Bellingham, Washington] says. “A lot of people will not go to a business of any kind if they don’t have a website. They want information before they call or visit. That trend is only going to increase.” Google Places Brings a Smile to a Dental Practice (9/10/10)
Google Places helps your business stand out by enabling you to engage your customers with photos, coupons, public responses and more. Even better, Google Places allows you to intersect your patients exactly where they’re searching for information. Plus, you can get insights and metrics from the built-in dashboard, so you have info about your listing to make even smarter business decisions.
Have you noticed how many people access the internet and perform searches for local businesses via their smart phones? Google’s CEO recently made the following remark regarding the mobile search trend: “One in three queries from mobile phones is now related to things or places in the user’s immediate vicinity,” said Schmidt. (PCMag.com 9/7/10)
When you claim your listing on Google Places, people will be able to find your business on their mobile phones too. Plus, Google even provides you with a scannable QR (Quick Response) bar-code which you can display in your practice window*. Passers-by can scan the QR code with a smart phone and connect to your Google Places web page for your hours, services, customer reviews and more.
*What’s a QR code? A small pixel-like bar code that can be scanned with a smart phone or camera-equipped cell phone, linked to an online web page. QR codes are popping up more and more, from advertisements in magazines to on the shelves at supermarkets. Consumers can scan the button and access more information regarding a promotion, product, service, or company.
How do you get started with Google Places for your practice?
First, visit www.google.com/places and follow the simple and easy steps to claim your free business listing with Google Places.
Second, complete your business listing so it is 100% complete, and includes:
Third, ask a few clients to visit your new Google Places page to write an honest review and rating of your business. These will be displayed to people who visit your Google Places Page.
Finally, share your Google Places Page with customers. I recommend logging into your Google Places Page and printing the QR (Quick Response) poster to display in your window. While everyone may not initially understand what it is - it may be a conversation starter for some and it will differentiate you from others quite a bit (“how technologically savvy Dr. X is!”). Some smart phones come with QR scanners automatically installed, but visitors can also download QR scanning software to their smart phone by simply Googling “QR reader” and the model of the phone.
Google Places is a smart, simple and easy step to take in optimizing your online business presence. Still not convinced? Watch this brief clip describing Google Places: Google Places
Please let us know how your experience with Google Places goes!
All the best,