Google Places is a great way for businesses to promote themselves to their local market on Google’s listing pages. With the ever increasing number of initial searches for a product, business, service etc being made on-line via search engines it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to try to get a piece of the action. However, not all businesses, especially small ones have a website which has meant that until the arrival of Google Places, promoting themselves on-line was almost impossible. Maintenance; cost and complexity are all reasons given for firms not having a website but also not every business sees the point of having a website if their business perhaps does not need one and can rely on more traditional means of promotion.
What Google Places allows business owners to do is to list the themselves, provide contact details, select categories to fit into so that when people search for things they will come up in the listing, upload videos & photos, give useful information such as opening hours and availability of parking and lots, lots more. The best thing of all is that it is FREE and it doesn’t take all that long to set up.
If this sounds like your thing then read on, for Teapot Creative have gone to the trouble of setting out a guide below on ‘How To Get Listed on Google Places’.
HERE IS HOW TO DO IT…
First of all you need to go to http://www.google.com/places/. Click on the Get Started button on the right hand side of the page (underneath the photo and heading – Get your business found on Google).
Google recommend that you use your business account for this preferably rather than your personal one as in the future you may need to share log in details with your colleagues. If you don’t have a Google account then you will need to create a new one before going any further – https://accounts.google.com/signup
Start by selecting the country your business is based in e.g. United Kingdom, then put your business telephone number into the box. Google will check to see if there is an existing listing. If there isn’t one already listed then you will automatically proceed to the first information entry page.
*If there is a business already listed then the name of it will appear with a link button to the page allowing you to log onto it and make any changes/additions.
THE LISTING PAGE
This first page asks for various bits of information (see list below). Some of these are compulsory – they are shown by a * alongside the field.
SERVICE AREA & LOCATION SETTINGS:
Do customers have to come to your business premises (e.g. a shop, Dental surgery) or do you also visit them e.g. Painters & Decorators or can you also organise deliveries of goods? If the answer is no then you quite simply select this option and move on.
The options once you click YES are to either list deliveries up to a certain distance from a fixed point (your business location) or the other option is to list the destinations you deliver too.
– Distance from one location – your business location
– List of areas served – e.g. a town or county
To compliment the above options you could also use the additional information section at the bottom of the page to show the delivery area and prices in more detail.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Put simply this is your business opening times.
You have the option of not providing this information if you don’t want to. Each day of the week can be listed with an opening & closing time. It is also possible to show whether on certain days if your business is not open e.g. Saturday & Sunday or if your hours are split during the day e.g. lunch break or early opening and late opening.
Nice and easy. You simply tick the boxes for the ones your business can handle e.g. Cheques, Visa, American Express.
They say a picture tells a thousand words. Well, it is as true on the internet in the 21st century as it ever has been. Don’t skip this option if you can pull together some good images that will showcase your business and what you have to offer.
You have the option of uploading up to FIVE photos from your computer (click browse in the box select the photo) or from the web.
If a picture tells a thousand words then how many does a video tell? 10,000? The option is there if you want to upload a video then it is easy (click browse in the box select the video). Again, FIVE videos is the limit. Not bad really!
We are now almost at the end of this first page and here is your opportunity to really think about what other information you can think of that would be helpful for someone reading about your company. The golden rule with Google Places as with websites is that once you have got the customers attention you want to keep it and you don’t want them heading off to check out the competition! If there is something interesting or useful that you feel will help the person make a decision whether or not to use your services then add it as your page can always be amended in the future.
Here are a few ideas to set you thinking – parking availability & is it free; is it a child friendly cafe; do you have monthly sale days perhaps. Anything you can think of and the more enticing the better.
In order to add the information you put the thing people need to know in the left hand box e.g. parking availability and then in the right hand box you put the answer e.g. car park across the road (free for 2 hours).
If you need more boxes then just click on the add another instruction underneath and on the right hand side.
MOVING MAP right side of page:
By now you will have probably noticed that there is a map on the right hand side of the page that moves down as you scroll down. This map will show the street location of our business. However, if your business delivers then the map will reflect this and show the area of delivery from your business at the centre.
Underneath the map the information you are gradually submitting will be shown (business name & address above the map and everything else below). As you watch the information stack up you will start to see that the more you can provide the easier it is for potential customers to find out about your business and what you offer.
Finally¦ you have reached the end of the page and can take a rest in a moment once you have pressed the submit button.
THE NEXT STAGE¦
Google Places need to be sure that the information you have provided in the form was done so by you and not someone acting fraudulently. In order to establish this, a postcard with a unique personal identification number will be sent out to you once you have clicked FINISH – you must decide whether you want the postcard sent to your business address or another one before clicking FINISH.
The postcard with the code should arrive with you within two weeks of your online registration form being submitted and you will be asked to follow the instructions provided – log on to the Google Places site and validate your information.
Once you have completed this your listing will go live!
Any further amendments you want to make can be done simply by logging onto the Google Places website with your log in details and following the editing instructions.
So there you have it. What are you waiting for? Now you can go and get listed on Google Places.