Google Places, launched in September 2009, allows business owners to update and manage their physical business location information for free. Google has created this vital tool as a means for businesses to gain exposure to the 97 percent of consumers that are searching for them online. To create Google Places, Google merged its Google Maps service with organic searches (listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to being advertisements). Below, we’ve outlined some tips for creating and making the most out of your listing.
How it works. Google Places provides search results for geographical-based search terms. For example, if I use Google’s search engine to look for “bake shop,” Google Places provides me with a number of bake shops located fairly close to me, each with a Places page that brings up its phone number, address, pictures, hours of operation, website, reviews by other Google users, etc.
It’s fast, free, and easy. Getting listed on Google Places only requires three steps. First, submit your information to Google. This should include your basic contact information as well as any videos/photos, if you have them. Second, Google will verify the listing by sending you a postcard or calling you. Third, wait for your listing to show up.
To create your firm’s Places page, Google will crawl the Internet looking for related information from third-party sources such as Yellow Pages or Yelp.
Once your listing is confirmed, you will need to fill out important information regarding your hours of operation, types of payment accepted, and additional details. This not only helps customers get to your page, it also helps with organic rankings by creating a content-rich listing.
It’s that easy? Yes – well, at least it used to be. When Google Places first launched, a business could simply submit a listing and see its name appear in the top local search results within a week. Nearly three years later, businesses have recognized the undeniable value behind Google Places, making it all the more difficult to appear in the top search results. To increase your chances of appearing at the top, remember that Google likes content-rich pages. The more information you give Google, the more it will favor your page.
There’s an app for that. Google Places has its own app on iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android operating systems, which means your business will receive free exposure to the millions of people that are using smartphones every day.
Follow these easy tips to create a Google Places listing today and start receiving free exposure to your prospective customers.