Setting up a good quality Google Places listing is THE first thing a local business should do to market themselves locally online.
People click on Google Places listings over and above the natural listings because the business address and customers reviews are shown, and people like to buy from highly regarded local firms.
This post explains how to set up a good quality Google Places listing that will ‘fly’ for your business.
1) You firstly have to sign up and create a Google Account
2) Once you have done this go to ‘Google Plus’
3) Then on the left hand side of the page (in the drop down menu), click ‘Pages’
4) Then click on ‘Get Page’
4) Then you’ll be taken to the introduction to Google Plus screen
Just follow the instructions from there.
Your Google Places Listings now has to be correctly set up according to Google’s guidelines (or your listing WILL NOT rank), and the following lists what information you needs to put in and where:
The name must be as would appear on your ‘shop front’ and must not include keywords.
So if you are called ‘Jones Cars‘ put this in as your business name and not ‘Jones Car Garage and Repairs in Croydon‘. If you do this your listing will not show. This should also be the same business name as you have on your website and any other directories where you have listings.
Pay attention to capitalisation and punctuation to ensure it matches your registered business name, and decide whether to include company designations such as Ltd.
Do not add phone numbers, website URLs, location names, products, and services, or other additional information to your business name unless they are part of your actual company name.
This must be a real address, not a PO Box. Google will send a verification postcard to this address so you must be able to receive this postcard.
This address must be exactly the same as appears on both you your directory listings and on your website.
If your directory listings are incorrect these will need to be changed or will damage your local reputation in Google and affect your rankings.
Use the same address as the physical location of your office.
If you are a home-based business, then use your physical home address, ensure you tick – “No, All customers come to the business location“. I appreciate this is not ideal, as you may not want to publish your home address, but for your Places Listing to rank well unfortunately this is what you will need to do.
If possible, keep your street address on one line; although they allow two‐line addresses, other directories only have one‐line addresses and it’s best to be consistent from directory to directory if possible.
If you have additional locations you will need to set up additional Google Places Listings.
This should be a local area code number and not a 0800 or 0845 number – area code is one of the Google Places ranking factors.
Make sure your primary phone number is identical to the phone number you may have on your website and publish locally.
If you have multiple office locations, use the local phone number for each specific location rather than a central call center number
Do not use call tracking numbers. Make sure you use the actual local phone number of your location.
Again, consistency is important and this number must be the same as any directory listings you may have.
Click the “Add more phone numbers” link to add alternate (freephone), fax, mobile, or other numbers.
Write your description primarily to appeal to your potential customers; the description is more about convincing people to contact you rather than trying to boost your position in search results by stuffing this description with keywords.
Google limits your business description to 200 characters, including spaces and punctuation. You can include some product and service search terms in your description, but be careful about overdoing it.
Too many search terms in your description may actually hurt your listing if Google thinks you are trying to “outsmart” their system.
Also be cautious about using location terms such as city or county names in the description, as Google may penalise you for this.
Google allows up to five categories for your business in order to deliver more relevant results during business searches.
Try and take advantage of all five categories to make your business as relevant as possible.
Stay away from product or brand names, and focus instead on what your business does or what services it provides.
To help you choose your business categories use Blumenthals Google Category Tool.
Only choose the standard Google categories, do not make up your own.
If categories describing your business are not available, then try pick the closest one you can.
Tick – No, all customers come to the business location
Google gives you the option of not displaying your address in your business listing. From experience to date this can negatively impact your listing visibility, so it’s usually best to display your address.
Add full details of your opening hours.
Even if this is not fully relevant if you are a service-based business and do not have a shop front, Google likes to see a ‘full listing’, so if in doubt add 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.
Add full payment options here.
Again, Google likes to see a fully populated listing, so make sure you add all forms of payment that you can receive.
Google wants to give visitors the richest experience possible, so may consider you more likely to be a legitimate business if you include photos and videos in your listing.
Provide therefore up to 10 business photos.
You may also enter a link to up to 5 You Tube video’s about your company.
These are custom attributes that are very flexible and can be used to enter the year your business was founded, brand names you carry or service, languages you support, professional associations, certifications, and more.
This feature is excellent for promoting the social media sites you have like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, or for linking to your blog.
Now you have correctly set up your listing, there are some other things you need to do to make your listing fly to the top of the rankings:
Your business needs to be listed – with the same information as posted in your Google places Listing, on a number of Good Quality online directories, such as Yell.com, Qype and so on. The number that you will need to be listed will depend on your competition, but we would recommend starting with 50 good-quality listings.
Blog post on directory listings to follow.
Customer reviews are critical not only to your reputation but are hugely important to your Google Places listing.
You simply need to get more customer reviews on your Google Places listing than your competition, and if you do, chances are you will rank better than they will.
Customer reviews however are a whole new subject, so our Blog post on directory listings to follow.
Please do not underestimate the importance of Google Maps for your site
Do this well and you will get lots of local traffic