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GOOGLE PLACES INFORMATION GUIDE

posted Jun 1, 2011, 11:22 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jun 1, 2011, 11:24 AM by Rafael Hernandez ]

GOOGLE PLACES™/GOOGLE MAPS™


Google Places is a service which is proven to drive results and bring new customers to your business.

In the past, business owners worldwide searched for new ways to attract new customers to their products and services through traditional advertising- newspaper ads, television, and radio. Companies have spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns reaching out to customers, however the internet revolutionized marketing which now makes it possible for customers to efficiently search for products and services (dentists, restaurants, plumbers, your profession) through a simple search- saving them time and money. 

Gone are the days where businesses make telemarketing calls or send direct mail to bring in business. Today, The majority of YOUR customers search for YOU.

Bottom line. Customers find what they are looking for through the internet and one of the most powerful search mediums is Google Places.

INTRODUCTION

Out of the 76 billion searches on Google a month, a significant number of the searches are for a product, service, or a business. If your business is not listed in the first couple pages, your customer may never find you or even know that you exist.

Your listing on Google places will give your business the awareness and visibility for more leads.  Once your business listing has been approved by Google Places, a potential customer will type a specific keyword phrases into their favorite search engine and your listing will appear on page one or two of Google.

DISCOVER GOOGLE PLACES

Your listing will increase the credibility and visibility of your business.  Once your business listing has been approved by Google Places, a potential customer will type a specific keyword phrases into their favorite search engine and your listing will appear on page one or two of Google. Then YOUR customers will come knocking on your door.

GOOGLE PLACES PAGE

The Google Places page is displayed when you click on ‘Place page’.  It contains all the information you provide about your business as well as reviews from other sites, reviews from Google users, and relevant links.  Businesses, landmarks, parks, monuments, and other sites have a Places page.

For example, a Google search on “cable contractors” displays

Hundreds and thousands of pages of links, pictures, and videos are displayed for a search. If your business is not listed on the first or second page of the search results, your chances of claiming business online is slim or worse; your customers may not even know you exist.





GOOGLE PLACES VS. GOOGLE MAPS

After using both Google places and Google maps, it can be confusing as to what the difference is.  Google maps is a database where Google creates unverified business listings by scraping the content from the web including yellow pages and online directories.  Any person can make edits to the business listing.  As soon as the business owner claims and verifies the business, a listing in Google Places is created where they have the ability to enter and confirm the business data.  All Google Places listings that are verified are automatically listed in Google Maps.


BENEFITS

You'll discover hundreds of advantages for advertising once your business is set-up in Google Places. Some are listed below.
  1. Online advertising will soon replace phone directory listings that cost thousands of dollars per year.
  2. Customers will search and find you.
  3. Your business will appear in the most robust online directory- Google
  4. You will be able to offer promotional discounts and coupons.
  5. Your business website, mailing address, e-mail, phone number, photos, and other relevant data will be displayed in your listing which allows customers to find current information on your business.
  6. Mobile phone users will be able find your business listing without accessing a computer.
  7. Bottom line. You will receive new leads, new customers, and eventually more revenue.
Before a listing in Google Places is created, in-depth analysis on keywords, competition, and sponsored ads specific to your industry is most needed.

Call now to discuss more.


Google Places = More Visitors = More Customers = More Revenue

BEFORE LISTING YOUR BUSINESS ON GOOGLE PLACES

It is heavily recommended to conduct an in-depth analysis on keywords, industry environment, and competition promotions before listing your business on Google to understand the competitive environment.  Keywords are important because your potential customer will use these words to find your competitor, and you.  Industry environment is important to gain familiarity of the businesses that are already listed in Google Places.  Competition promotions are important to understand discounts, coupons, and other marketing tools your competition is utilizing to build business traction.

KEYWORDS

There are two ways to search for keywords

1.       Adwords Keyword Tool

2.       Google Search

The Adwords keywords tool is beneficial to find the frequency of searches for a specific keyword or a phrase of keywords.  In addition it provides relevant keywords, keywords price, competition %, ad share, search share, and other valuable entities.

The second way to search for industry keywords is to simply do a Google search for the words in your industry- the words your customers will search to find you.  Sometimes Google Places will not be displayed for certain keywords so continue to search until a list is displayed.  Document all keywords that result to Google Places listings because you need to input it into your business listing to effectivly SEO your site.

INDUSTRY ENVIRONMENT AND COMPETITION PROMOTIONS

Google Places not only helps people find your business through a search, but also helps people find your competitors.  This may seem discouraging, however it makes your research much easier with all the information and keywords listed in your competitors Places.  You may find sponsored ads in the search which means your competition is spending money to place ads for the selected keywords.

Any business can easily create a Google Places page with minimal effort, but search engine optimizing the listing to be in the first page is another story.  That is the reason why the initial research is so important to plan the SEO strategy.  At the end of the day, the businesses listed in the first page will be the ones to capitalize on customers leads.


HOW TO GET ON GOOGLE PLACES 

The process of registering your business is fairly simple and requires some time.  A Google account is needed.  If you already have an account, I recommend you to use it if you will be the only person accessing the account.  Otherwise I recommend you to create a new general google account that will be used for business purposes to avoid data in gmail, contacts, calendar, and other application to mix.
  1. Sign into Google
  2. http://www.google.com/places/
  3. Click ‘Get Started’
  4. Click ‘List Your Business’
  5. Populate data – Content
  6. Country: *          
  7. Company/Organization: *           
  8. Street Address: *
  9. City/Town: *     
  10. State: *
  11. ZIP: *    
  12. Main phone: * 
  13. Email address:  
  14. Website: (It is recommended you provide a website for SEO)
  15. Description: (200 characters max) (This field is vital to your listing. Provide targeted keywords that will attract customers)
  16. Category: * Which categories (up to 5) best describe your business? (This piece of information will drive the majority of your business.  I suggest you select specific categories)
  17. Does your business provide services, such as delivery or home repair, to locations in a certain area?
  18. No, all customers come to the business location
  19. Yes, this business serves customers at their locations
  20. Hours of Operation
  21. Payment Options
  22. Input Photos (Google loves photos.  Remember to use keywords when naming photos)
  23. Input Videos
  24. Additional details – Keywords (This is the bonus section where you highlight your business competencies)
  25. Business Listing Validation (There are 2 ways to validate your business.  Phone call or post card.
  26. Enter Validation code

CONTENT CREATION

If you have all the content including photos and videos readily available, it may take an hour to complete the form.  Remember the description, business categories, and additional data (keywords) are imperative to be listed at a high ranking.  Photos and videos also significantly help.

If you do not have multimedia content, you may want to post generic content from Google, but be careful not to upload copyrighted material which may place you in a legal trouble in the future.

Some guidelines are in place to monitor the activity of businesses to maintain a positive experience for both users and businesses.  Some content to avoid are

  • Nudity, Obscenity, and Sexually Explicit Material
  • Violent or Bullying Behavior
  • Hate Speech or Incitement to Violence
  • Impersonation
  • Private and Confidential Information
  • Intellectual Property
  • Illegal Activities or Content
  • Spam or Malicious Content
  • Reporting Abuse
  • Posting Reviews

Recent Google policy guidelines can be found here

http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176519

TIPS ON YOUR BUSINESS LISTING

  • Business listings in Google Places must have correct and consistent information about local businesses as they appear in the real world. Google reserves the right to suspend access to Google Places of businesses violating these guidelines.
  • Only business owners or authorized representatives may verify their business listings on Google.
  • Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world. The name on Google should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business into the business name.
  • Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name.
  • Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist.
  • Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.  
  • Businesses that operate in a service area as opposed to a single location should not create a listing for every city they service. Service area businesses should create one listing for the central office of the business only.
  • Businesses with special services, such as law firms and doctors, should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties.
  • The precise address for the business must be provided in place of broad city names or cross streets.
  • A property for rent is not considered a place of business. Please create one listing for the central office that processes the rentals. Real estate listing have been discontinued in Google Maps.
  • Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible. For example, you should provide an individual location phone number in place of a call center.
  • Provide one URL that best identifies your individual business location.
  • Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or 'refer' users to other landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.
  • Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business's title, address or category fields.

BEST PRACTICES

  • Use standard capitalization and punctuation, unless your business name or address in the real world contains unusual capitalization and punctuation.
  • Use a shared, business email account, if multiple users will be updating your business listing.
  • If possible, use an email account with a domain that matches your business URL.

FAVORITE PLACE ON GOOGLE

The most popular businesses on Google Places are referred to as Favorite Places. The classification is based on how many Google users looked for more information about the business.

PEOPLE WILL FIND YOUR BUSINESS

Millions of people search for businesses on Google. Your listing will also be available through Google Web Search, Google Maps, Mobile search, 1-800-GOOG-411 voice directory search, and Google Earth. On any of those services, if someone searches directly for your business name and city, your listing will most likely show up. 

Google also displays your listing for searches based on your business category or other related terms. 

HOW CAN I MAKE MOST OF MY LISTINGS ON GOOGLE?

A rich listing which features a description, several photos, business hours, reviews, will help encourage potential customers to choose your service.  This extra information can also help Google match your listing to more searches, which might increase the number of views your listing gets.  Google also recommends that you mention your Google listing to current customers.

WHY DOES OTHER INFORMATION SHOW UP IN MY LISTING? 

Google collects data such as reviews, business hours, photos and more from local directories and various websites and combines this information with what you enter in Google Places. Ranking on Google is completely automated. They cannot manually change the order of individual reviews, even if requested by users. Google accepts reviews directly from users on Google Maps. If you're concerned about a review that was submitted through Google Maps, click the Flag as inappropriate link found under the review and submit a report. If it’s found that the review is in violation of Google Maps policies, they’ll remove it. Some reviews found on Maps listings are created on third party websites. If you feel that a review from a third party site is inaccurate, you would have to express your concerns to the webmaster of the site where the review was posted. If the review is removed from the third party website, the change will also be reflected on Google.

PERFORMANCE MONITORING

In the Google Places account, there is a Dashboard which displays important statistics about your site. It can show you the number of ‘Impressions’  meaning the number of times your listing has been displayed in a Google search. The statistics are compiled and updated every 48 hours.


ADVERTISING SERVICES

COUPONS

As the business owner of a Google Places listing, you have the ability to offer coupons for your business. Users can either print the coupons or use a mobile coupon.

Follows these steps to create coupons

  1. Log in to Google Places.
  2. Click on the Coupons tab in the top left corner of your screen, and
  3. Click Add Coupon
  4. Add information
  5. Preview coupon

Your coupon will appear in your business listing within 24 hours.

MOBILE COUPONS

When users search for a business on their mobile phone, they will see your Google Places coupon.  They are able to show you the coupon in person without having to print it.






GOOGLE TAGS (DISCONTINUED)

Adding a tag to your Google Places listing allows you to highlight a specific piece of information that you want your customers to see.  Your tag can highlight a coupon, a video about your store, or even a link to your menu. You decide what's most important about your business and make sure it stands out.  Tags do not affect search result rankings; they simply add more information to a Google Places listing when it appears in search results.




Google Boost

GOOGLE BOOST

When you add Google Boost to your listing, you can advertise your business on Google and Google Maps (including mobile devices) and attract more visitors to your website or Place page. With Google Boost, simply set up a monthly budget for your ad, and we’ll determine what search keywords trigger your ad based on the categories that you select. You’ll only pay for the clicks that your ad actually receives.


VISIBILITY

There are a number of factors Google reviews to list your business as a Place label.  First they check to see if the listing content is accurately stated.  Then they analyze to see if the content is robust and in 100% compliance with Google’s established and published guidelines.

Here are some tips to help users find your business.

  1. Maintain a strong and accurate presence on the web.
  2. Select the most appropriate and specific categories for your business.
  3. Double check to make sure your information is complete and accurate
  4. Re-read Google’s guidelines and policies to make sure your in-line.  One mistake can result to your listing being banned, deleted, or ranked so low that customers will not know you even exist.
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