This post is a follow up of my earlier post about how to Create your small business identity online in 3 easy steps. Most of what I talk about is not rocket science or news but practical steps backed up with years of experience and knowledge. So now that your business has a web presence, it is time to tackle the beast a.k.a Google.
This post is not about SEO or ranking # 1 on Google (that will come later) but about how to create your small business listing on Google Places.
Google Places is similar to Yelp but the only difference is that it is not dominated by bunch of people in their 30s deciding what is good or bad for the rest of us. It is also similar to online yellow pages but smarter with reviews, maps, coupons, statistics and control over each and every aspect of your business identity.
When someone searches for a product or service you sell, Google shows web results as well as results from Google Places and that’s what makes Google Places a crucial online marketing tool.
Here is how you can create your small business listing on Google Places by following these 4 easy steps:
1) Claim it
The first step involves claiming your listing if it is already published on Google Places. If not, you can create one in less than 5 minutes. Just go to Google Places and click on Add New Business. You will need a Google Account in order to complete the registration.
2) Work it
Don’t just put a sentence describing your business. Work at making your listing stand out by providing Google with information it asks you for. Upload photos of your business (at least a logo), videos (if any), select multiple categories (if it applies), service areas (geographical area you serve), timings (open Sundays?), and payment methods (VISA, Master Card etc). You won’t have to do this every day so spend some time on providing as much information as you can.
3) Legitimize it
Most websites have fake testimonials (hint: bunch of people in their 30s) but it is not possible (not impossible) to have fake testimonials on Google Places because business owners are not in control of the reviews. You can legitimize your Google Places listing by asking current and former satisfied customers to write good reviews for your business.
4) Publicize it
You have done the hard part now publicize the link to your businesses on Google Places. Tweet it, Like it on Facebook, blog about it, and email it to your friends.
I just gave you the information that I personally used to create the Google Places listing for my Tax and Accounting Services business. Here is what happens if you end up at the top of Google Places search results within your selected business category and keywords.
Searching for ‘Tax Preparation Saratoga, CA’ brings up the following results for my business:
Search results of other terms associated with my business are similar. Since this post is not about ranking on the top of Google Places results, I am not going to speculate as to why my listing is on the top but you have my permission to speculate. Ranking high on Google Places is a topic I will discuss later…
The interesting part is that if I lived in Saratoga and searched for tax preparation services without using Saratoga, CA as a search term, the result would still be the above page. Google knows where you search from if you are logged in to your Google account. There is also an option that allows you to tell Google what zip code or city you are in and then it saves it. Big daddy.
Claim your listing on Google Places, work on it to make it complete, ask your current customers to write a short and sweet review and then start publicizing it. Once you are done with the listing, give it few days and you will start showing up in search results for certain keywords associated with your business.
If you have questions, suggestions or feedback about my post; use the comment box below. If you would like to thank me, share this post with others 🙂