We just finished out first seminar today at Cornerstone Church of God in Athens, Georgia.  Our topic of discussion was Google Places and our objective was not only to introduce Places to the attendees, but also to teach them how to enhance and optimize their Places pages for top search results.

Google Places is a very interesting evolution in the world of internet – and more specifically, search – marketing.

1)  Google Places is for local businesses.  

The fact that Google has introduced an exclusive marketing platform for local business is amazing, in my opinion.  Google has always operated in “scale”, meaning, massive exposure that grows exponentially.  You’d think that “local” businesses don’t necessarily meet Google’s definition of “scale”.

Quite the contrary however.

Google sees that 97% of people use Google to research local and small businesses.  This means, the overwhelming majority of people turn to Google to quickly find a local business.  The same pattern is true for both computers and mobile phones.

With Google Places, the search giant has found a way to actually “scale” in local markets.  And through the Places platform, local business owners now have a tool – which I might add is 100% free – to build up a dominant online presence that, if done correctly, could drive their business to the top of Google’s search results and capture the majority of interested customer’s clicks and attention.

2)  Google Places is free

I already mentioned this above, but it’s worth noting again.  Google Places is 100% free for local businesses.  There is no cost per click; no cost to build and launch; nothing to invest other than time and knowledge.

In my opinion, Google Places provides even more value for a local business than any other form of marketing – whether it’s paid or free.  As it is with paid search marketing platforms like Google Adwords and Google Express, once you run out of money and stop your ads, your online presence disappears completely.  This is one of the biggest downsides to advertisers focusing heavily on pay per click marketing.

But with Google Places, since it’s free and part of the natural search results, once you achieve top rankings your business can be harvesting massive amounts of traffic, clicks, and exposure, all for free.

We are already preparing our next seminar here in the Athens area.  It’s tentatively scheduled for November 29th – exact location is yet to be announced.