Even though it’s incredibly underutilized, Google Places has a few excellent applications for Investor Relations.
From branded search results to company reviews and more, we’ve come up with the most effective ways your public company can use a Google Places listing in its Investor Relations strategy.
Creating Your Company’s Places Listing
This process is as simple as creating any other Social Media profile. Simply visit places.google.com and choose the “Get Started” option on the right hand side. The form includes fields for both images and YouTube videos. Be sure to add these! Places that include multimedia are significantly more likely to appear in Google search; in turn, they’re also 60% more likely to be clicked by users than listings without media attached. The form should look something like this:
Getting Your Google Places Postcard
Sadly, but with good reason, you can’t simply publish your Google Places listing as soon as you’ve completed the form. To ensure that you’re a real company with a real location, Google sends out a postcard to the address listed on your profile. The postcard usually takes around 2 weeks to arrive. Inside this postcard you’ll find a pin number that can be used to verify your Google Places listing. Until you’ve done this, your listing will not appear in Google search or Google Maps results.
Adding The Google Place To Your Website
To allow for maximum uptake of their platform, Google’s product model includes the ability to add snippets of code to any website. Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and YouTube videos are the most common uses of this sharing feature. Google Places and Google Maps allow you to embed a physical address on your website. Because it provides more information, we recommend adding your Google Places listing to your website rather than simply a matching address of your head office location. This increases brand recognition and gives a user additional info about the company on your website contact page.
To do this, visit your Places listing and click the link immediately below the search bar. A pop-up will appear with an embed code which can the be copied and pasted into your website contact page. The function also allows you to customize this view in case you’d like to have a full page-width map on your company website.
How Google Places And Google+ Currently Operate
You’ll notice when you first visit places.google.com that you’re given the option to “Get Started” or to “Explore Google+ Local”. Google+ Local is an interesting move from Google to try and combine their Maps, Google+, and Reviews into one platform. It hasn’t quite been finished off though. Right now, when you create a Google+ company page, you can’t actually link this to your Google Places listing. This can be a little misleading as they both actually operate within Google+. In the future, we expect that Google+ will allow you to combine Places and Pages within Google+, (like Facebook did) but for now you’re sadly stuck with managing both if you want all the features. Below you’ll see a Google Places listing as it appears in Google+:
Reviews Drive Search Results
Google Places is useful for more than just adding content to your website. Google Reviews are not currently used widely in the Investor Relations industry, though hopefully this strategy may well become more common after a few readers have applied it. Reviews posted on your Google Places listing can greatly improve the chances of your company website ranking for keywords associated to your industry and location. The image below shows the search results for “mining company Vancouver”.
As you can see, Goldcorp has the first Google Places listing here – and the only one that has a review associated with it. This is no coincidence. Sure, Goldcorp is a huge company, but so are Barrick, Lundin and dozens of others that have offices in Vancouver. Reviews on your Google Places listing, whether from management, IR, or shareholders, can be the difference between your Places listing not appearing at all and it being the #1 result in your area. As you can probably imagine, mining is growing in Vancouver, yet no public companies in the sector have employed this strategy to get greater visibility. Expect that to change…
Still Want More?
For more information about using Google Places in your Investor Relations strategy, please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the IR Smartt Slideshare account for more how-Tos. Cheers!