A Beginners Guide to Google Places

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 at 1:58:47 PM EST by Richard Norris

Google Places is a free listing for your business that enables you to reach millions of people. By simply creating a listing with the relevant data about your business you can access this powerful business tool. The next four posts will tell you about the importance Google Places has in making your business successful.

googleserp

You will find the Google Places Listing on most Google search queries. There are two components of Google Places on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) the map and the business listings; both are shown in the above image.

Everyone who performs a search query on Google automatically becomes their customer. Therefore, just as any business wants to improve their services for their customers, so do Google. Google Places makes it easier for their customers to search for a particular product or service based on their location.

For instance, in the below image the SERP is for the query ‘brisbane pet shops’. This SERP shows all the listed pet shops in the Brisbane area. The results don’t include any from the Gold Coast and especially not Sydney or Perth.  This is fantastic for Mr and Mrs Small Business Owner as they can now compete on an even playing field with the leaders of their industry in a local business directory.

How will Google Places help my business?

Google has changed the way we now look for products and services, as it is now the source of information for local businesses online. Before, if we needed a plumber, we would flick through the yellow pages or through the back of our local newspaper, find the biggest ad for a plumber and then give them a call.

This is not the case in today’s world. If we need a plumber, and we are in Brisbane, it is more convenient to go on to Google and search for “Brisbane Plumber”. From this SERP we have access to hundreds of plumbers is Brisbane which we can easily browse through and see which plumber is best suited for the job we want done. With Google Places you actually see what plumbers are closest to your location. Therefore, with your Google Places Listing you have the ability to geographically target exactly where you want to market your business. Did I mention that all this is free to use?

Being a free service is a real benefit to small businesses, as it creates an even playing field. Jo the Grocer can have a Places ranking right next to the local FoodWorks or Coles, if he sets up his Places Listing correctly. The power of Google Places is that it enables Jo the Grocer to compete with the leaders in his industry.  It’s a simple cost effective marketing tool that every small business can manage, even if you’re a 15 year old kid mowing lawns in your street.

On the subject of Google Places Ranking, there is a completion bar on your Google Places dashboard to show you how much of the listing you have to go. The higher you completion percentage, the higher you tend to appear for your relevant categories (Read my next post to find out about categories). Therefore is it important that you set up your Google Places Listing correctly.

Do You Already Have A Google Places Listing?

Google have created a Google Places Listing for the majority of businesses. Because of this it is important that you claim your listing so you can take advantage of this great business tool.

Follow these steps to claim your Google Places Listing:

  1. Login into Google using your Google Account. If you don’t have a Google Account contact SiteZero and we will walk you through the setup.
  2. Go to the Google Places homepage. If your listing has been claimed this will take you to the Google Places Dashboard from where you can edit your Google Places Listing. If your listing hasn’t been claimed you be taken to the below screen where you will need to claim your listing.

googleplacessetup

Here are the steps to claim your Google Places Listing:

  1. Click the ‘List your business’ button located on the right hand side of the screen.
  2. Select your Country and enter your businesses main telephone number.
  3. Click ‘Find business information’.
  4. If the business details that come up are yours click ‘edit’.
  5.  If they aren’t your details click ‘Add new listing’ where you can create your new listing.

Google Places is a great tool for all small businesses to increase traffic to their website. Read my next post to learn how to correctly set up all the details needed to create a successful Google Places listing.

Richard NorrisAbout the Author : Richard Norris.

Richard  is the CEO of SiteZero , an Australian based Digital Marketing Services organization.
Richard loves technology and is the Ecommerce evangelist at SiteZero.
You can connect with Richard on Google + , Linkedin  or at the SiteZero Facebook Page

Richard Started his first Business in 1985 and entered the online world in 1998.
He’s a bit like “The old man and the sea” of digital Marketing
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