Have you ever tried to find a bank or credit union location by using the Location page on their website? Have you ever tried to use it on a mobile phone? Not exactly the best experience is it?
What I usually end up doing is a search on Google for locations in my area. This works pretty well if Google was able to search the bank or credit union’s website to find all the locations in the area. It would work even better if banks and credit unions submitted their branch locations to Google Places.
Here are the search results from “banks in charleston”
The first result is for an online Charleston directory. The second result is a bank website. The next six results are from Google Places. You’ll also notice that they are all different banks.
Quite a few people perform searches for businesses in this fashion. They don’t necessarily search by company name, but by business type in a particular geographical location.
In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, Google is placing greater emphasis on physical locations of businesses. Out of the top eight results of my search, only the second one was from organic search.
By not taking advantage of Google Places, community banks and credit unions are missing out on potential customers. There is a wealth of information that can submitted which will help you rise in search results.
Getting started is easy.
1. Sign up for a Google account
2. Find your branch location in Google Maps
3. Claim your business
Another reason for claiming and adding your locations is your customers may be submitting reviews about your bank or credit union. You may have noticed the red arrows in the first image pointing to customer reviews.
Regardless of whether you claim your location, customers can write reviews about you. If you claimed the location as the business owner, you’ll be able to respond to the reviews.
Your potential and regular customers may not follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook, but chances are they do use Google. If they’re like me, they click on the Reviews link just to see what people are saying.
Those reviews could determine whether they open account or continue doing business with you. By taking advantage of the free tools that Google offers, you can provide a better, moderated experience for your customers.
Update – If you are listed as the business owner, Google will send you emails of Places traffic and who clicked on directions. Thanks @dmgerbino