Google is undoubtedly the most popular means of internet search these days. As King of the world wide web, if Google offers you an opportunity to do something for your business, you ought to consider it an offer you can’t afford to refuse. An important tool at your fingertips is listing with Google and it’s free.
Google Places is Google’s gift to local businesses to help them connect their online presence with their physical store. Essentially, Google Places is like a digital business directory that ties together your company name, physical address, and website. It’s a way of organizing relevant information about your business, all in one place.
Do you have a physical store and a website, but are having a hard time figuring out how to connect the two? Here are three steps to get both your website and your storefront on the map using Google Places.
Step 1: Create or claim your business.
Start off by doing a Google search for your business to see if a Google Place listing already exists. Google indicates “Places” listings by marking them with a red pin symbol next to them. If your business isn’t there when you search by your name, name, location, or business address, you’ll want to create a new listing. You’ll need a Google account (Gmail, etc) to go beyond this point. To create a new listing, go here. If your business is already listed in Google Places, click on the “Places page” link. Here you’ll see a rundown of all the details Google has collected on your business. You’ll also see a link at the top marked “Business Owner?” Follow this link to claim your business listing.
Step 2: Verify your listing.
Google is serious about making sure they only give away the rights to Places to authorized persons, so as part of claiming a business you’ll have to go through an authentication process. Depending on what works best for your particular company, you’ll either get a phone call to the number listed for the business or a card by post, sent to your store’s physical address. While this is a small headache, think of what it’s worth to know that nobody can mess with your business except you. Once Google has given you the thumbs up that you do in fact own that listing, you’ll get a “Verified by Business Owner” tag added to your listing – a great way to build consumer confidence!
Step 3: Optimise your business listing.
Even while you wait to be verified, you can edit some basic information within the listing. Double-check that your full address is there (Will prospective customers need a suite or unit number to find your store?), and that your phone number is correct. Once you have been verified by Google as the rightful owner of the business listing, you’ll be able to add your website, photos, business hours…
The more information you can put on this page, the better! Make the most of this valuable internet real estate and fill out every bit that you can. A few noteworthy fields that many businesses skip when they complete these listings are categories, keywords (perfect for SEO!), and service areas.
Remember that everything about this listing is positioning your business for Google, so really focus on what your customers would be searching for to find you. Filling out your Google Places listing won’t replace your website and you shouldn’t throw out your SEO strategy, but it’s an ideal supplement to your online presence.
For more help getting your website the traffic it deserves and listing with Google, contact us about our SEO services.