A Google Places listing is a free (yet valuable) way to get your business in local searches, however there are few rules and guidelines that if followed correctly, will help your listing secure it's position on the map.
9 Things You Might Not Have Known About Google Places
The email account that you register on Google is recommended to be the same as your domain name. This is a trust factor and will make updating your listing faster & easier.
Home businesses and mobile/travelling services can still have a Google Places listing (and still rank well too!) - just hide your address and select your service area instead.
Enter your exact street address and if the pointer pin doesn't come up in the right spot, you can drag the map pointer to where it should be.
Multiple locations? No worries, you can have a listing for each of your business addresses. For an additional boost make sure that each location has a dedicated page on your website and that you use that URL rather than the home page.
Multiple practitioners? Hospitals and law firms are welcome to submit individual practitioners such as doctors or lawyers, however again, link to a dedicated page on that practitioner. To keep listings from competing against each other, choose the correct category for each listing, e.g. A doctor would choose the category "Doctor" instead of "Hospital" and vice versa.
Filling out the additional details field will help to tell Google what your business is about, even though they don't always show on your listing. Include your services, parking availability, type of cuisine, features/facilities, brands, product lines and so forth.
Google collects information about your business from a ‘cluster’ of third party sources, including Yellow Pages, True Local, Trip Advisor and so forth. Make sure your profiles on these sites are up to date and accurate, and encourage reviews across these platforms to draw extra information to your listing, as well as generate more citations.
Google Places is powered by Google Map Maker. You can do nifty things like add other names your business is known as (abbreviated, local, official, etc.) & list if your business resides inside another business (like a coffee shop inside a bookstore).
The new Places listings now lets you link to your other pages on your website in the description.
Google Places Ranking Factors & Advice
- Have the Google Places quality guidelines open in another tab while you complete your listing so you can be sure your listing isn't flagged as violating Google's terms.
- Use a local phone number where possible, avoid call centres, answering machines and virtual offices - they won't be able to record the verification pin.
- Fill out name, address, phone & URL accurately & consistenly
- Categories - select a category that best describes what your business is, not individual services that you provide (i.e. a local dentist should select Dentist or Dental Clinic, rather than Teeth Whitening, Braces, Root Canals - these should be listed in your additional details & description instead)
- Always include your logo & at least 5 images
- Include additional details where possible (e.g. hours, videos, etc)
- Encourage reviews - add a link to your Places listing from your website or remind customers on invoices and receipts
- Your business description doesn't need to include your business name, rather write a description which naturally includes your city & categories
- Publish a few posts on your business listing to let Google & users know you're an active business
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Google Places listing now!
For more tips check out our blog posts on Google Places