These days with the size of Google it would be a mistake not to use it to it’s full potential to help your business. One of the best ways you can do this is by signing up for a Google Places listing.
Marketing in any sense is incredibly important and on the Internet it is made easier to reach out to people across the world with a website, but not all small business have a website or can afford to have one professionally built, this is where Google Places comes in.
Google Places allows you to list the business and then to this listing you can add your business name; address; contact details e.g. phone numbers and email addresses; categories that detail what your business does; photos (its usually best to have a photo of the business premises) and a description of the business.
Entering details like your business address can help with local search, which is where the search engine will take into account your current location when searching and return local results i.e. businesses in that area.
Revisiting Google Places
Back in May 2012 my colleague Felix wrote a blog post giving instructions about signing up to Google Places. Two years on and there have been quite a few changes to the way it all works so we thought that it was about time we published another guide.
Off We Go…
So, here it is – an easy to follow step by step guide on how to sign up to Google Places.
First things first. You need to have a Google account in order to go any further. Signing up is easy and it’s free (see below).
Once you have signed up for a Google account then head over to the Google places for business website. The screen shot below shows how easy it is to find Google Places.
Once there you will get this screen (below) which gives you some information on what Google Places can do for you.
So, to get started creating your listing click on the ‘Get started for free’ button…
Naturally, you will have to then sign in with your Google account on the screen shown below.
You will then come to this screen (below), this is where you can find your business. Now, if your business already has a listing that you did not set up, then you can search for it on here and then claim it. This is a fairly simple process.
However, if your business has not been listed before then when you search for it the chances are that Google won’t be able to find it and it will then give you the option to create your listing. See next screenshot.
Once you select ‘create listing’ you will get this screen (below), here you will be prompted to enter your business details i.e. name; address; postcode; business phone number and a category.
The category is important and you must enter one that best describes your business. For example if you build websites you would put website designer or website developer.
The last thing on this form is for those who deliver goods etc. to their customers (at homes or to other businesses), obviously if you do you need to tick this but if you don’t then you shouldn’t worry about it.
After you are done click ‘submit’.
Now after you have submitted your information for your listing you will need to verify that it actually is you/your business (see below). There are a few ways in which Google can do this – via a postcard, phone call or SMS. But in most cases it will either be postcard or phone call.
With the phone call you would enter your number and then you will receive an automated call that will read out a code. Be ready with a piece of paper and a pen as you need to write this down. If you forget the code or lose the piece of paper then don’t worry you can request another call.
You can then enter this code on Google Places to verify the business listing.
The postcard is very similar, they will send you a postcard with the code written on it. (As you can see in the above screenshot I have been asked to verify by postcard. They will usually take 1-2 weeks to arrive, so the phone call is quicker but sometimes they will only give you one option).
Click ‘verify’ by postcard to continue.
Google will use the address you entered in the form earlier so you need to make sure its the correct one, you can also add a contact name but this is optional.
Once you’re sure everything is good-to-go then click ‘send postcard’ (see above).
You will then get this screen (see below) telling you that they will add your business listing to Google Places, but it will remain unverified until you enter the code from the postcard/call/SMS.
The codes will arrive (in postcard form) in an envelope like the one pictured below.
You can then enter information about your business: like the name; address; website; phone number; opening hours; business photos and an introduction to your business.
Now your listing should be complete
Well there you have it. You should now have your very own Google Places for business listing. This should give your business a local identity in Google searches and hopefully increase the amount of people visiting your website and getting in touch. Please leave any questions and comments you have at the bottom and look out for the next blog in our local search series.