Google Places Help: Optimize your Local Business Listing with this Guide
Are you a local business owner who is eager to get into the SEO game? Good for you! Establishing a local online presence is definitely a great way to grow your business. Google Places for Business is the perfect place to start your SEO campaign — by establishing your business’ identity on Google Places, it can show up in Google searches, Google Maps and Google+ Local. If you’re in need of Google Places help, you’ve come to the right place — the following guide will help you create your local presence.
Create an account on Google Places for Business and list your business’ name, address and phone number — or N.A.P. It’s free and effective!
Within Google Places for Business, an owner can add his business address, phone number, business category and more.
- Name: Google Quality Guidelines dictate that your business name is “exactly as it appears in the offline world.” Therefore, do not attempt to add anything else (such as keywords, marketing taglines, phone numbers, websites, etc.).
- Address: There can only be one entry per address. You must adhere to the same rules as those in the business name, i.e., no extraneous information.
- Phone Number: Google prefers businesses use a land line as opposed to a cell phone whenever possible.
After you input this data, Google will then send a postcard to the business address within two weeks. The postcard will contain a pin number that will allow you to verify you are the owner. Once you log back into your Google Places for Business account and provide the pin, your business will show up in the Local results.
In addition to your N.A.P., you can also include photos, business hours and a description (up to 4,200 characters) wherein you can link to your own site.
Learn more about the Google Places for Business Quality Guidelines here.
Google Places Help: What If Your Business Isn’t Operated Out of One Location?
If you service clients from many locations, like a traveling or mobile business, you still have to register a physical address (not a P.O. box — P.O. boxes are not considered accurate physical locations for inclusion in Google Places for Business). According to Google:
“Every business listing must have a mailing address. This is the physical address where mail can be sent to your business. If you work from home or you are a mobile-only business you can specify service areas and choose to hide your physical address later on!”
Local Results, as Seen in a Local 7-Pack
Once your business is verified with Google, it will appear in the SERP. Normally, it will appear in a Local 7-Pack. This screenshot shows the SERP after a query for “Tae Kwon Do Studio” in Simi Valley, California (the first seven results are Local results, pulled from Places for Business):
When a user mouses over a result (here, the Tigon Martial Arts is being hovered over), the rest of the business information is displayed:
Last month, Google debuted a new look for certain Local results — currently restaurants, bars and hotels now render in a Display Carousel rather than the Local 7-pack. When conducting a search for French restaurants near Simi Valley, the following Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is rendered:
Whether your results show up in the Display Carousel or in the standard Local 7-pack, business owners have the option to optimize even further. Through Business Photos, you can create a 360-degree interactive tour of your location. Though there is no fee for implementing panoramic viewing in your Google listing, you are required to use a Google-approved photographer, whom you will have to pay standard photography rates.
Other Directories Besides Google Places for Business
The most important place to establish your business’ identity is in Google Places for Business. However, you should also establish your identity on any other notable web directories. As you begin to spread information about your business across the Internet, is absolutely essentially that you be consistent. Your business name should always appear exactly the same, as should your address and phone number.
Bruce Clay has a service that streamlines this process. Through LocalPack, our team can ensure your business information renders accurately in more than 350 directories across the web, including Google Places for Business, the Yahoo! directory; the Yellow Pages; 411 assistance directories and much more.
Creating your Google Places for Business entry and have a question? Share it with us the comments, and we’ll be happy to provide any Google Places help!