Google Places – 10 Tips On Optimising Your Google Places Business Listing
Claiming your Google Place Page listing is imperative no matter whether you run an online or offline business.
Google Places, formerly known as Google Maps, is a fantastic way of maintaining a presence online particularly if you’re a bricks and mortar business without a website. It can provide possible customers, who are more than likely looking for a local service, with valuable and specific information about your exact location, opening hours, photographs, videos, your sets and customer reviews. It also allows you to offer customers additional incentives to use your business in the form of coupons.
the time of action of claiming your Google Places listing is very straightforward. Simply open a Google account and once you have done this and logged-in you need to go to Business Solutions. Under the section ‘Reach New Customers’ you will see a link for Google Places. Clicking on the link will take you to the section where you can claim your business listing.
Many businesses have claimed their Google Places listing but have not made complete use of it and as a consequence it will be of little value. Simply entering the business name, address, telephone number and choosing one kind of business category is not sufficient.
Many local searches on Google will now return a first page of results that includes a Google Map together with a list of up to 7 businesses that Google sees as matching the search query. So, for example, if a possible customer searches for ‘Plumber in Manchester’ Google will return results including a list of 7 local plumbers and a map of Manchester and the surrounding area with markers pinpointing the exact locations of each of the 7 businesses.
As a plumber in Manchester you ideally would like to be showing up as one of these 7 business listings. To give you the best chance of doing so you have to make complete use of your Google Places listing by entering as much information as possible. If you don’t optimise your listing correctly then you won’t appear in Google Places.
Here are 10 tips for optimising a Google Place Page listing:
1) Specify your company name (it can be useful to include the geographic area you are aiming for in addition – i.e. XYZ Plumbing Ltd | Manchester).
2) List your complete business address details including postcode (if you work from home you can opt to keep your address private).
3) Add your main telephone number plus additional fax, mobile numbers if you have them.
4) meaningful in your website details (tick the box if you don’t have one) and your email address.
5) You now have 200 characters to describe your business. It is very important that you include keywords here in the description that possible customers will use to search for your business kind and location.
6) The next section asks you to specify categories that your business falls into. This is one area where many businesses fail when claiming their Google Places listing. There is one category box obtainable initially and you see situations where businesses complete this single category box and then move on while there are in fact 5 category boxes that can be completed. You have to list your business in one category that matches Google’s suggestions as you kind in details. For example as you begin to kind in ‘Plumber’ Google will suggest ‘Plumber’ and ‘Plumber’s Merchant’. You can then click ‘add category’ an additional 4 times and go into your own category keywords based on what people are using to search for your kind of business including location i.e. ‘Plumbing sets Manchester’, ‘Heating Engineer Manchester’ etc.
7) Choose whether your business provide sets, such as delivery or home repair, to locations in a certain area. Here you can opt to hide your address if preferred and choose to show the area that your business sets in terms of distance or by specifying actual areas covered using place names or post codes.
8) Specify your opening hours.
9) List all payment options obtainable to customers.
10) Add business/product images (list as many as you can up to a maximum of 10), video (maximum of 5) and any additional details about your business i.e. parking, guarantees, refund policies etc.
As you work by adding information to your listing everything you have completed so far appears on the right hand side of the page together with a percentage. The aim is to complete every section and reach a 100% completion score.
Google has the following help pages to assist you as you progress – ‘Creating a great listing’, ‘Tips to help users find your business’ and ‘Business listing quality guidelines’.
To further enhance your listing and to give you the maximum chance of appearing in the Map and list of 7 businesses on page 1 of Google for your search terms you can add coupons and acquire reviews. There’s a separate coupon tab that appears on your ‘View Report’ page. Creating online coupons helps to give people an motive to visit your site or contact your business. Invite customers to leave reviews about your service via their own Google accounts. Obtaining more reviews than your competitors gives you the chance of gaining a much better placed listing.
When you have finished completing your listing Google requires you to verify your listing. You can do this by receiving a telephone call, a text message on your mobile phone or via a postcard to your business address. It is far quicker and easier to verify by phone or text. You will be given a PIN number which you simply meaningful in at your Google Places Page.
You can view how your listing looks to possible customers by logging into your account and clicking on ‘See your listing on Google Maps.’
Google also offers a new ‘View Report’ dashboard which gives you important feedback on the number of impressions (how many times users saw your business listing as a local search consequence) and actions (how many times users showed interest in your business listing) recorded for your listing. This is very useful information that can be used as part of the search engine optimisation of your listing and website if you have one.
If you business is not listed there’s no better time like now. Local business online search is only going to increase in importance and the sooner you grab your position the better. It can attract targeted, free traffic to your business.