Friday, March 30, 2012

Get Found - Google Places

How to Add a Business to Google Places
(And Why You’re Losing Customers By Not Doing It)

How to Add a Business to Google Places (And Why Youre Losing Customers By Not Doing It) photoGoogle is the best friend that every business wants to have. If we were at a big party, he’d be the guy introducing us to everyone who might be interested in a product we sell or the food we serve.

From there, it’d be up to us to lead the conversation with those prospective customers, but we probably never would have met them without an introduction from the GoogMan.

In Search Engine Land, Google is the largest search engine, the king of delivering results to people who are looking for things. So when Google gives tools to businesses so that they can rank better, we’d be smart to listen.

First of all, let’s talk about what Google Places looks like

Google Places gives you one more opportunity to be listed in their search engine, only this listing is front and center with lots of attention and can be brought up more frequently to people who are searching in your geographic area.
For example, let’s say you’re a prominent Italian Restaurant in the North End of Boston. When someone types “Italian food” into their browser while they too are in Boston, they’ll get results like these:

How to Add a Business to Google Places (And Why Youre Losing Customers By Not Doing It) photo 

Or perhaps they’re simply looking for coffee and decide to search a little more specific, using the search term “boston coffee shop”. Now they’re receiving less of a list and more specific results in return.

How to Add a Business to Google Places (And Why Youre Losing Customers By Not Doing It) photo 

In both of these instances, the results that are showing up have been identified and set up in Google Places, which gives them a profile page that Google can link to. More importantly (to Google), it gives customers a place to rate their experience at your business which gives them fuel as to where to rank you in the list.
A Google Places page that’s all set up and filled out by the business owner looks something like this, below:

How to Add a Business to Google Places (And Why Youre Losing Customers By Not Doing It) photo 

The benefits of having a Google Places page
  • It’s free.
  • It gives business owners an extra “page” to showcase their business, which is then verified by Google. This is especially good for those small businesses who don’t have a website yet but want something more than a Facebook page to send customers to.
  • It gives you more opportunities to be found on your “category” or “niche”, rather than just on the name of your business.
  • It delivers analytics that tell you how people found your page.
How to add a business to Google Places

Before adding your business to Google Places, you may want to collect these items and bits of information so that you can make the most of your page:
  • A business phone number & legitimate business address (Google will need to verify before they’ll publish your listing)
  • Photos of your business, staff, products
  • Video of you, your business, any commercials you might want to put up
  • Hours of operation, parking availability and anything else that might entice people to come in
From here, it’s smooth sailing. To add your business to Google Places, you simply fill out the surprisingly short two-page form starting with this page, which leads to another page that requests your phone number so that they can try and dig up some details about you that they might already have on file.

How to Add a Business to Google Places (And Why Youre Losing Customers By Not Doing It) photo

Next, you’ll be led to a short page to fill out all of the information listed above. It’s actually fairly simple and gives you opportunities to really spruce up the look of your online face. They’ll ask for:
  • Basic information (name, address, etc.)
  • Category of your business (restaurant, store, etc.)
  • Service areas and locations
  • Hours of operation
  • Payment options
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Any additional details (parking, cuisine, etc.)
From there, you’re pretty much done except for getting verified. After you’ve filled out the application, Google will send you a postcard that will give you the verification code that you’ll need to enter into your account before the page is approved.

How to Add a Business to Google Places (And Why Youre Losing Customers By Not Doing It) photo

Here are a few tips, directly from Google for getting the most from your business listing:
  • Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so users can find you easily. You can drag the map marker to your exact business location.
  • List your authoritative and official business website on your Places listing, since Google uses information from your website to help improve search results.
  • Include images and videos to help your listing stand out.
  • Add information such as opening hours and payment types to help users choose among search results.
  • Don’t be afraid to choose specific categories instead of broad ones. The important thing is that the categories are accurate and describe your business well. Google’s search algorithm makes sure that users looking for “Book Stores” will see businesses in more specific categories like “Used Book Stores,” “Comic Book Stores,” and “Rare Book Stores” too.
  • Encourage customers to review your business by clicking Write a review on the Place page.
  • If your business has ten or more locations, upload a spreadsheet file.
  • Once your page is live, upload coupons that customers can print and bring to your business.
And that’s about it. In the time you spent reading this, you probably could have had your page up and loaded, so… get started!


Reach millions of Google users, quickly and for free, with Google Places
More people search for businesses online than anywhere else, so it's important to make sure your business listing can be easily found on and Google Maps. With Google Places, creating a great listing takes just a few minutes and doesn’t cost a thing.

Edit your listing and speak for yourself
Your business probably already shows up on Google, but you should still verify your listing and make sure its details are accurate and thorough. Your improvements will start appearing as soon as you verify them through Google Places. Also, you can add notifications

Practical and easy to manage
Your Google listing is an easy way to maintain an online presence even if you don’t have a website. You can visit Google Places anytime to edit your information or see how many people have seen and clicked on your listing.

Premium options, all for free
Make your listing really shine with photos and videos; custom categories like your service area, brands you sell and how to find parking; and coupons to encourage customers to make a first-time or repeat purchase.
Create your listing today using Google Places by following the walkthrough below.

Signing up for Google Places is simple
If you own a business, you probably know the basics. You can add extras like photos and descriptions if you have them handy, or come back to add them later.
At the end of the sign-up, we'll ask you to verify your submission by phone or postcard. We do this to make sure that only the right people are able to change any public data about your business.

Okay, let's learn more about getting started on Google Places!

Frequently asked questions

How will people find my business?
Millions of people search for businesses on Google. Your listing will also be available through Google Web Search, Google Maps, Mobile search, 1-800-GOOG-411 voice directory search, and Google Earth. On any of these services, if someone searches directly for your business name and city, your listing will most likely show up. We also may show your listing for searches for your business category or other related terms.
How can I make the most of my listing on Google?
A rich listing which features a description, several photos, business hours and a link to your website will help encourage potential customers to choose your service. This extra information can also help us match your listing to more searches, which might increase the number of views your listing gets. We also recommend that you mention your Google listing to current and potential customers. Remind them that they can use Google Maps to find your phone number and address, get driving directions to your store, find the latest coupons, leave a review, or get recent updates. Take a tour of a Place Page on Google to learn more.

Why does other information show up in my listing?
Google collects data such as reviews, business hours, photos and more from local directories and various websites and combines this information with what you enter in Google Places.

Why do you have an inaccurate listing for my business? How can I fix it?
Listings on Google are search result pages with information from multiple sources, some of which may be out-dated or incorrect. You can correct errors that appear in our search results.

What else does Google offer for local businesses like mine?
Google offers a variety of tools designed to help businesses like yours, including AdWords, Google Analytics and our Google Apps suite of communications and collaboration products. You can learn more about these products and sign up to use them at Google Business Solutions.

You may also be interested in several other Google Maps products:
  • Explore neighborhoods at street level by using Street View
  • Show your favorite places on Street View and Google Earth by uploading your photos to Panoramio
  • Fly anywhere on Earth to view rich satellite and map imagery by downloading Google Earth

Getting started

Ready to get started?

Why add your listing with Google Places?

Once you've verified your listing, you can enhance the Place Page for your business by adding photos, videos, coupons, and even real-time updates like weekly specials all on your Place Page. Verifying your listing gives you the opportunity to share even more information about your business with Google.

How it works

Each business listing on Google is in fact a giant 'cluster' of information that we get from a few different places: Yellow Pages, for example, as well as other third-party providers. To make sure the basic information you submit is accurate, we'll ask you to verify it first by entering a PIN that will be sent to either your business address or phone number.
You can add other information to your listing too — such as a description of your business, for example, as well as photos, reviews, or information about hours.

Before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Right now, Google Places is available for businesses in only certain countries.
    To find out if your country is one of them, click Add new listing when logged in to your Google Places account. Check the country drop down at the top of the sign-up page. You can also check country availability on the Mapping tool availability page.
  • It's free.
    Adding your listing to Google Places is free, and Google doesn't accept payment to include particular listings or sites in our search results. However, we do offer locally-targeted advertising through our AdWords program.
  • Every business listing must have a mailing address.
    This is the physical address where mail can be sent to your business. If you work from home or you are a mobile-only business you can specify service areas and choose to hide your physical address later on!
  • There shouldn't be more than one listing per physical location.
    Even if you're a doctor who is a cardiologist and a chiropractor or a service that covers multiple towns, you shouldn't have two listings. Instead, use the description of your business or categories to explain the different services your business offers.
Its a good idea to read Google Places quality guidelines to make sure that your listing will be approved to appear on Google.

To start creating your free listing, go to the Google Places and sign in with your Google account. If you don't already have a Google account, click Sign up now to create a new Google account. You can also use an AdWords login and password, if you have one.
It's a good idea to create an Google Places account using an email address that you don't mind sharing with others or passing along, in case you wish to transfer ownership of your listings.

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