What is Google Places?
Google Places aims to help search users find the most relevant businesses in their area.
For example, if you search for the term, ‘SEO consultant Sydney’ or, ‘SEO copywriter Sydney’ you’ll be returned a search results page displaying a Google Places list of the local businesses. It appears just below the paid for listings and just above the natural listings. Prime real estate!
The good news is, you can get your business into this spot without needing to spend much time fiddling with the SEO of your web pages – in fact, you don’t even need a website, but you must have a physical address.
A free business listing
- Business name.
- Contact details.
- Products and services.
- Logos and pictures.
- Hours of business.
- Payment methods.
Then it cleverly integrates this information with Google Maps, to give your customers directions and all that other clever Google Maps stuff.
SEO secrets – the power of recommendation
The other great thing about Google Places is that your customers can review your services, providing word of mouth SELL to potential customers. You can now also answer these reviews. Check out my reviews and answers for an example.
But beware! People can write whatever they want, and you can’t delete it. You can only ‘Flag it as inappropriate’, and only then if it’s either spam, contains something illegal or advocates hate or violence.
Coupons (or vouchers)
Google Places also allows you to offer ‘coupons’ to visitors to your map listing. These coupons are touted as a way to ‘reward loyal customers and attract new ones’.
How to add your business to Google Places
Adding your business to Google Places is pretty straightforward (when you know how!). You can enter up to 100 businesses, and here’s how:
1) Set up a Google Account.
2) Visit Google Places.
3) Enter your business information, the more detail and information the better.
4) Be clever about your name and try to include keywords here.
5) Choose five categories that suit your business.
6) Verify your account (Either by SMS or by postcard).
Accounts usually become active within 24-48 hours. Read the Google Places User Guide for more information and recommendations.
Google places – advice
- Google places still uses an algorithm to decide the order in which the businesses should be displayed. Don’t drive yourself mad trying to work it out, instead make sure your listing is clear, keyword focused and honest.
- Sometimes your reviews may completely disappear – this happened me and I freaked out, but they came back, there doesn’t seem to be much you can do about this other than whinge in Google support forums.
- You should actively request reviews from customers you know have had a great experience with your company.
- Ideally answer each and every review and don’t try to sell, just say thanks!
Want to have a chat?
If you need a Copywriter, SEO Consultant or Information Architect, then please contact me.