A survey of Chiropodists in Herefordshire showed that only 4 out of 10 had claimed and verified their listings on Google Places and of those that had claimed their listings only 1 in 10 had bothered to add any further details.
More amazing still there were no reviews at all of any of these practitioners at all, which is something of a surprise when you consider how personal this service is.
What this shows is that many businesses are not taking full advantage of the possibilities that Google Places offers, after all these days people are far more likely to look on the Web than pick up a copy of the Yellow pages or even the local newspaper. This is the case for other types of businesses too, many are simply not taking advantage of this free service.
As it stands today, this means that these businesses could steal a march on their competitors by saying more about themselves and by getting their customers to place real and truthful reports on the service they received. After all, if you were looking for a chiropodist would you not like to know as much about them and the services they provide before you pick up that phone? And if you can read some real reviews about them as well, would that not make all the difference and make it all the more likely that they will get your business.
Another major thing to consider is that when you are using your mobile phone, Google can tell where you are, this means that it often provides ‘local information’ in preference to anything else.
Therefore, if you have claimed and ‘optimised’ your Google Places account you are far more likely to have your listing presented to those potential customers.
In the USA, Local Search (powered by Google Maps amongst others) is becoming more and more popular amongst users, and we can be reasonably certain that this is will happen in the UK (the signs are certainly there) so now is the time for all businesses to take advantage of this free marketing channel.