How to Set Up Google Places for your Business
The very first thing every business with a physical location needs to do right now…
I mean, Immediately! As soon as possible! If you DO NOT have a physical location, like a home office or commercial building, Google Places will NOT work for you. This WILL work for internet marketers.
…is setup, optimize, and configure their Google Place page, CORRECTLY. This is the map listing associated with your business information that is listed on Google Maps. You need this for 3 reasons.
- Google Maps Listings are 100% Free. There is no charge for this service whatsoever.
- They are Incredibly Easy to Setup & Optimize. Within minutes you will see your listing.
- You will get found! Google Search & Maps are used A LOT!
What are you waiting for?!? Free Targeted Traffic!
If you have a Facebook page you can setup your Google Place page. To reach consumers in your area, it is essential that your business can be found in organic local search results. Google Maps is the fastest way up the ladder of organic local search. This means your maps listing is more likely to place higher for local searches, with less effort, than your website. Google includes map listings at the top of the organic local search results. If your Place page is configured correctly, you will be in the organic map results at the top of the page. In addition to giving you a boost in your organic local search traffic, setting up your Google Place page helps make sure your business information is easily found and accurate to consumers searching for your types of products and services.
Follow these easy steps to get your Google Place page set up, configured, and optimized as quickly as possible! The best part about doing this on Google is that you can copy/paste all the information to other map listing sites, like Yahoo!, Bing, and Yellow Pages. It is just as important to claim and fill out those listings as well.
1. First you need to Claim Your Business Listing on Google. The easiest way to claim your listing is to search for it, this way you can ensure you do not create a duplicate listing. Go to Google Maps and type in your business name and city. It should pop up if Google knows you exist. On the rigth side of the screen there is a link that says “Edit this Page” or “Claim Your Listing”. Follow the signup process. http://google.com/local/add
2. Next fill out the Basic Information Section. Here is how to fill out each field.
Country: Better get this right!
Company/Organization: Most people just put in their business name but this field has a mysterious power. If you put in the right keywords that match a common local search, your business will be boosted up the rankings and possibly above everyone else.
THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF FILLING OUT A GOOGLE PLACES PAGE. GET THIS RIGHT AND YOU GET TO THE TOP.
You want to make sure that you have the right words in the “Title”, as I think of it. For instance. I sold hardwood flooring in Santa Cruz as Hardwood Maniac.
Weak Title: Hardwood Maniac
Stronger Title: Hardwood Maniac – A Santa Cruz Hardwood Flooring Resource
Because I knew that lots of people searched “hardwood flooring santa cruz”, I exploited this Google Maps feature to gain higher results against larger companies with much more marketing money. Another example I have used recently was for Frugal Business Products. Its hard to tell what they might be selling at first glance. So to make it easier I changed the title and at the same time made it more likely to be found in searches.
Weak Title: Frugal Business Products
Stronger Title: Frugal Business Products: Copiers, Duplicators, Ink and Toner Supplies
A basic description of your most core business and profit driven items should be in the title. One more example for an Italian restaurant.
Weak Title: Aldo’s
Stronger Title: Aldo’s Italian Restaurant
So do not just stop at your business name in this step. Use the space to get found and describe your business. If you need more help finding keywords that will work for you, email me, try the Google Keyword Tool, or try my favorite keyword tool.
Address Fields: Do not make spelling mistakes here. Use correct address formatting and capitals when appropriate. Do not write in all lower case. Make sure your address looks professional. If you need help, Google is your friend.
Phone Numbers: Provide as many as possible. Toll-Free and Fax numbers look good here and make it easy for someone to get a hold of you. I use Ring Central for Hardwood Maniac to handle all of my calls, messages, faxes, and much more. Its an absolutely amazing service, that is second to none, and really CHEAP! For less than twenty dollars a month I have a full toll free call/fax center with all kinds of easy to use features that forwards to my cell phone. You need to try Ring Central out if you are thinking of a toll free line or need any kind of phone service. Create a local presence wherever you want to do business. Get a local phone number.
Email Address: Make sure you use a working one. firstname.lastname@example.org is probably best here.
Website: Fill out the complete URL, like this. http://www.yourdomain.com
Description: Use keywords, describe, and sell your business here. Write something coherent that sounds good. Have a few people read it over and give you an opinion. Try to use most of the space available and keywords that are likely to be searched for. Two and three word phrases will have less competition.
Category: This is where you need to pinpoint the most likely searched terms for your business and find that category. If you do not find a good fit or if you have more than one category, use the custom category feature. Just click “Add Category” and type in a keyword phrase of your main product or services. Use these wisely. You can add up to five categories but must have one category provided by Google. Use the Google Keyword Tool, or try my favorite keyword tool.
3. The next section, Service Area and Location Settings, is very important and will allow you to target the areas you want to serve most. If you choose “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations”, then pick the “List of areas served” option. Fill out as many major city names as you can to complete your coverage area.
4. Hours of Operations should be accurate and always up to date. This is easy and straight forward, make sure its correct.
5. Payment Options should be accurate and always up to date. This is easy and straight forward, make sure its correct.
6. You absolutely need Photos. Use all ten slots if you can. Make sure you have good pictures of your products or business. A mixture of stock and real life photos can be used. Pictures have so much appeal to consumers and the Place page is a mini web site. Make it fun to look at and use those slots up!
7. Not everyone has Videos, but it would be well worth your time to make one and most likely make you stand out from your competition. Get a long time customer to do a video review, or make a short video about your company or products. I thought about this some more. You MUST make a video. In fact make several. Stand out from your competition and take the #1 spot on Google.
8. The last section, Additional Details, is the place to put anything else that might help in a search or inform your customers. Brands is a great one. Services is another. Cities Served. Awards, Certifications. Anything that gives your potential customer more information!
Now you can click “Submit”, but you are not done yet!
Offers: One of the last things to do on your Places page is to create Offers. Create at least one but try for three that will appeal to viewers looking for different services or items. Free Shipping! or 10% off are great ones, but being even more creative goes a long way online. You know your products and services better than I do, so make people excited about your offers.
Your Google Places page is now setup, configured, and optimized, but you are not done yet!
There are two Places features that allow you to stay interactive with your customers, and these should be used as often as possible! When you log-in into your Places page user interface you will see two choices on the right side of the screen, “Share an update on your place page” and “Respond to reviews”. These are both critical ways to let customers know you are paying attention to them and this page. Use the updates daily if possible. Even if you are only talking about the weather, the customers will see a time next to your update and know you are attentive to this page. It shows you are on top of things and ready for their call. Also you can see stats that are generated by Google on this same screen. Check here often and search your own name and city to see where you stand. Make changes as necessary.
Google says that you should not give incentive for reviews, and I disagree. I see nothing wrong with giving incentive for a review. Email, ask, call any customers that are computer savvy and ask them to review you. If you feel like it, offer them something for a review. Not good, not bad, just an honest review. Do not create your own reviews, have friends create them, or hire a service. The best reviews come from real people and sound believable every time.
Samples Google Places Below
This page will be updated as Google Places changes and I learn more. Check back sometime and I thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it helps someone.