Google claims that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, and it makes sense. Long gone are the days of yellow pages. And where do people go when they’re searching for local businesses? Usually Google. And what about people that search on mobile for the nearest coffee shop? Usually Google for Mobile.
What is Google Places?
Have you ever noticed that if you search for, let’ say “restaurants in Halifax”, that the first results that show up are business listings on Google Maps? Google Places are official listings of your business on Google, sorted by address and phone numbers. Think of it as a yellow page directory, but online.
Why do you need Google Places?
Investing a few minutes of your time to set-up a Google Places page can give you a major advantage in search traffic, especially if you’re one of the only people that claimed the space in your location. There are several reasons why you need to claim your Google Places profile.
- Improved exposure for search engine traffic by putting you on top of the page.
- Makes sure Google has the right information about your business.
- Increased activity for local searches, both online and on mobile.
- Links your website to your Google Maps listing, increasing traffic to your site.
- Allows customers to easily create step by step driving directions.
- Allows customers to leave reviews and interact with your business.
- Allows you, or others, to add pictures and videos to your listing.
- Gives you a competitive advantage over other, non-claimed, listings.
- One of the best ways to get your business found on Google.
How to set-up your Google Places listing?
- Go to the Google Places for Business page, and login with your Google Account. If you don’t have a Google Account, you can create one.
- Enter your country and phone number, to make sure there isn’t a listing already claimed for you.
- Enter the basic information, including country, company name, address, phone number, email, website, description and categories. Make sure you spend some time on the copyrighting of your company description, to make sure you have the right keywords and compelling definition. You also want to choose your categories wisely, as that will affect what searches you show up in.
- Enter extra information about your company. Do you only serve customers at your location, or do you go to theirs as well? What are your operating hours? What kind of payments do you accept?
- Make your profile stand out by adding pictures of your store and products. Make sure you read the guidelines first though, to see what you can and can’t upload.
- Add some of your YouTube videos to your listing. Talk about your company. Show a tour of your office. Be creative.
- Once you’re done entering all of the required information, submit your application. Google will mail you a postcard with a code you need to type in to verify your location (to make sure it’s an actual location, and not an SEO scam). This will take a couple weeks to receive. Once you verify your code, your Google Places profile is complete!
You can do this for any amount of physical locations you actually have. If you have three restaurants, do it for all three. It increases your visibility with local search. Also, Google is working on integrating Google+ with Google places, to make your profile more interactive and shareable by everyone. And remember, this isn’t just for restaurants or retail. If you’re a b2b company, register for it as well. People will look for “Marketing Agencies in Halifax.”