Next, Google Places. This was recently called Google Local by the way, so if you’re reading around online stuff and you hear of something called Google Local, this is what it means.
Here’s a Google Places page.
Here’s a Google Places page.
First, see how it’s an Owner verified listing.
Full business contact details…
Public Transport info…
Google Maps and Street View so I can find it
Loads of information on the business here, which you’d never get in Yellow Pages
And heaps of photos and video here so I can interact with the company
Last year Google confirmed 20% of all searches on the web have some local intentOn mobile devices, that’s probably more likely to be around the 70-80% markLocal results get displayed to local people
Late last year, organic search started “hosting” Places content:
You may have seen this – the Maps results on the main window here. These are all coming from Google PlacesEmergency-plumber-toorak no longer really have their number one listing anymore
Here’s the real reason – Places is verified content controlled by businessesIt’s a place where you can give your business a real home on the web – on Google.comMention it takes 2-3 weeks for a registration postcard to come thru - -listing won’t be live till that happens
Places.google.com/businessYou will either see this…. Or
This. If you see this at http://places.google.com/business then you already have a business registered on Places.
If you do see this screen, hit the Edit button and if you don’t mind, wait for the rest of us!
So, if you don’t see that last screen, here’s what we have for http://places.google.com/businessThis is telling us that you don’t have a verified and owned business location under your account.
The first thing to do is to work out whether Google has any info already under your business. Enter country and phone number – landline, or main switchboard number – and we’ll see if there’s any info on the business already.
If there’s some information on your business already with Google, you should see this (note on blurs)
If not, then it’s slightly different.Main difference, if there’s already info there then check it – if it’s not already there then add it. Now for those who had the different screen right at the beginning, you should see the same screen, but with a lot of information already filled in, okay? If that’s you, then you may not need to change anything as we go, but listen out because there are one or two tips along the way
General info, dead easy – couple of points before we all DIYVerification happens by postcard So make sure it’s the real dealEmail address should be the contact address as it will appear onlineEnsure the website is linked, include the http://Description, leave blank for now as we can always come back and edit it later
Category is very important. Yellow Pages makes you pick a very broad category, and a lot of the time a business is never really happy with it. Google lets you choose your categories – which is greatFor the first category, if you start typing what you do, they might suggest one or more, as you can see here. I advise going with at least one suggested category (maximum of 5)
The more categories the better, but don’t spam. Keep and remember to add more as you go – Google likes to see a Places page that gets updated frequently, so you might want to go ahead and add a couple of categories each month or every fortnight to keep things fresh.
Servicing area – a new feature for businesses that don’t necessarily service customers at their premises. If people come to you, leave No checked
If yes, then we have some more options to play with!You’ll definitely want to check Do Not Show My Address if you’re a home-based business, so make sure that’s done. You can then either specify a radius – say, 50 km of Melbourne --
The radius updates. Or you can specify a list of areas served – this is okay if you’re a franchisee that’s only allowed to service suburbs by name, but given how suburb boundaries are often a little vague and can change a lot, you’ll probably get better coverage if you go radial.
Opening hoursImportant as Google likes to see all available information there. More info the better – this is v relevantAlso as I’ve said, to gain an advantage you want to have freshness on your listing. So by all means, pop in once a month and change your Friday opening to 4:30, then change it back again to 5:30 or whenever. It’s all read by Google as being an update, and updated implies freshness and relevancy, which are both good.
Here’s something Google announced on Friday Feb 25, Local results searched on a mobile will take into account opening hoursOpening hours are also showed in results
PaymentAgain, the more options the betterDon’t tick everything if it doesn’t apply. Google could check with Amex and if they find a business that claims to accept it but doesn’t, that could attract a penalty pretty quickly
PhotosAgain, very important both as a “register” of information available, and as something to updateUp to 10 photosWorth having all 10 if you can – if it’s an office, that might be a bit tricky – “here’s the coffee machine” – but in general, if you can find 10 photos (products, logo okay) then go for it.
Video, again it’s awesome. Once you have a video on youtube, which we’ll cover later, you can head back and add it to your Places page.
Additional DetailsThis is where you can really, really outrank your competitors on PlacesMost businesses gloss over this section but there are so many options for keywords you can pop in here, as well as making sure that you’re covering more bases
Talk thru these additional detailsThese are keywords, but they also help convey what my business is all aboutAgain, the more the merrier, but don’t spam. And keep coming back and adding more, or changing values, for freshness
So go ahead and click submit, correct any errors that are thereAnd final screen, about verifying the address… 2-3 weeks.
And final screen, here it is re: the postcard.
So there’s one more thing we can do, and that’s create an Offer on the listing. This is useful as Google will make your coupon available to mobile users who can flash their smartphones and get a dealOr people who can print things outSo a user thinks, “hey google local search is awesome!” then they’ll use it again. Google wants to encourage users and usage. So it’s a very safe bet that Google will be more likely to display Places listings that have coupons than those that don’t
Here’s where we create the coupons, and you can see NB THEY WILL NOT BE CREATING ONE – JUST SHOW HOW IT WORKS
An example here of how it looks.You might not be able to make a coupon right here as it might require approval from people upstairs, but that’s okay we’ll just run through the steps. Bear in mind also that things you normally offer might be couponable – Free Consultation, On-site Estimates – anything like that can be coupon-ised (yes it is a word)
Okay so let’s add an offer now --
And here’s the main screen where we make a coupon.
So we’re really just interested in this section here, this is where we write our ad copyGet marketing hats on!
Here you can see a bit of content I’ve entered into this When you get to this, as you type you’ll see
Updates happening here. This is how the voucher looks when printed;
…here’s how it looks on a mobile phone (and people show you the face of the phone for their discount)
…and finally, here’s how it looks when the ad appears on a Google maps listing.
So when you’ve got your coupons completed, you’ll have see this management screen.
And what’s great is that you can pause, edit and delete stuff at any time.
Finally, a quick word about the main Dashboard. You won’t be able to access any of this until your business listing is verified, but let’s take a look at what’s there.
So first up, you’ll most likely see one location here, unless you’ve added multiple business locations here.
In this column, you can check on the status of your listings, and view the maps listings directlyThis can be useful if you’re running periodic checks on reviews, checking whether people are saying good stuff about your business!
Here, we see info on Impressions, which is the number of times a listing appears on a local search result
And finally Actions, this is clicks to either your website, or to your Places page, from your local listing
One thing to mention is that your Places page can often really rank well for search terms. This search, you can see how strong Places listings are… all there
Note that the top listing here is the only one with a reviewGoogle loves to see business with reviews both on Google and off Google. Encourage reviews wherever you can, here’s an example
This is a travel agent in Melbourne, and this is the email signature.Every travel consultant, every outbound email, asks recipient to leave reviewVery powerful way of pushing additional content to your reviewsReviews equals good positioning on Google – now and in the future.
Summary of important factorsAmount of information – fill in all fields, add photos, add videos Frequency – update often, update much Volume of customer reviews – quantity is more important than quality (for now!)
Summary of stuff that needs doing:Once postcard arrives, activate listingUpdate business Description, we glossed over thatStick a coupon on thereAnd add photos, video (once we’ve looked at that this afternoon), categories…. And anything else you can think to add!