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Google Places is Google’s way of giving local business owners an upper hand. There are so many benefits to getting listed in Google Places that any local business owner who is not taking advantage of it is really leaving money on the table.

Here are some of the benefits of getting listed in Google Places:

Surpass Other More Established Web Site Rankings

Search engines are notoriously difficult to rank for (rank=get to the top of the first page of listings). If you wanted to get ranked for “San Francisco Pizza” with a new website, it could take you at least a year to get on the front page, let alone to the top of the page.

However, with Google Places, you can quickly leap to the top of the listings even with a brand new website.

Your business will be displayed at the top of local searches for your business type. So if someone in San Francisco types in “San Francisco Pizza”, your pizzeria would display higher than all the organic listings – even if they’ve been there for years.

Show on Google Maps and iPhone Searches

Let’s say someone’s on their iPhone and needs to find a locksmith. They type in “Locksmith” in Google Maps and find the three nearest locksmiths.

If you have a locksmithing shop and you’re in Google Places, your shop will show up as a pin in their search. If they’re nearby your shop, they’ll likely head for you!

This also  hold true for online Google Maps searches. The number of people using Google Maps every day is staggering. Don’t neglect this opportunity.

Free Photo Shoots

If you’re running a business in a major city, Google Places may be willing to come to your business to take some professional quality photos for free.

Google accomplishes two things with this. First, they improve their listings. Having photos actually improves the quality of their search results.

They also verify that you’re a real business by physically setting foot in your establishment. They’ll often do this physical check anyway even if they’re not taking photos (so they might as well take some photos while they’re there 🙂 ).

These are just some of the benefits of being listed in Google Places. Google has taken the stance that local businesses should be given an edge when it comes to local searches. Naturally, if someone’s looking for a local business in their search, they should find a local business rather than a well-optimized website that’s not a local business.

Being on Google Places will help your rankings, will put you on the iPhone and Android screens and even has fringe benefits like free photo shoots. Getting into Google Places isn’t hard if you’re a real offline business.

Why not get your business on Google Places today?