Create a Google Places Listing for Your Business, This is a feature that allows businesses to create a listing with the Google search engine for free.
It actually works independently to the paid-for listings and organic, or natural, listings, but businesses listed on Google Places get excellent exposure – the results sit ahead of the organic listings for searches. So it’s an extra way to increase the visibility of your business, on Google, for no cost.
Google Places results appear on a page when the search engine thinks someone is on the lookout for a local business. A potential customer might search for Electricians in Essex, for example, and Google will come up with results for electricians listed on Google Places for that area.
If your business is listed, it could appear for a related search – so web users will see your business name, a link to your website, a link to a Google Places listing page, your address and your phone number.
How to get started
To get going, visit (or create) your Google account, and search for Google Places, obviously to add your business, you need a Google user account – you’ll be prompted to insert your details to begin the process.
Firstly, enter your business’s main phone number to see if there’s already some information about it on Google Maps. If this is the case, you’ll be able to edit any existing information and add new details, including photos and video.
Your business may already be in Google Places, in which case you need to claim your business. As it stands, the listing will include information collected by Google through the web. Check all of this if this is the case, and add the extra detail as if you were starting from scratch.
The business information form
The key with the information page is to fill in as much detail as you can. Your company name, address, website, description, categories that suit you, whether people go to you or you go to them, opening hours and payment options can all be included.
You can also:
Upload up to ten images (including a company logo)
Link to a maximum of five YouTube videos
Insert additional info such as parking availability and brands stocked
All the while, you will see your business listing plotted on a map to the right of the form. You can also fix your placement on the map if Google has got it wrong.
Proving you are who you say you are
For your listing to go live, you will need to verify that you are attached to the business; Google will send information to the registered address for the user to complete the process. This can be carried out by phone. Google says verification will take up to two weeks.
Once created and verified you will start showing up in Google Places. Your details will potentially appear when someone searches for what you do, whether with a location, or if Google knows the location the person is at.
The details are also included within a specific Google Places page for your business, where customers can add reviews and upload images.
How results are ordered
Google says that the results displayed are all down to relevance – in the same way that Google Maps works. Google Maps and Google Places are free services, so you can’t ask, or pay, for a better ranking.
How’s the page doing?
As someone with a listing, Google provides insights to help you judge how well it’s doing. You can find out how many times your listing has appeared, the number of clicks within your page and what’s not being clicked and searches that bring back your business as a result.
It’s a good idea to use a business-focused email address to register your Google Places listing, as it can then be kept separate from any personal accounts.
When you are submitting your phone number, use a public-facing contact number rather than a mobile one. This avoids any unwanted out-of-hours calls, and Google may already have a landline listed for your business – that’s important as the search won’t show if the numbers don’t match.