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HOW TO: Set Up & Optimize a Google Places Page for Your Local Business

Last updated 3 years ago

To reach consumers in your local market, it is essential that your business can be found in organic search results. One of the easiest ways to do this is by setting up your Google Places page. Since Google recently launched many new changes to its search results, the map listings are now integrated with the organic search results, with many Place pages ranking near the top of the results page. Plus, in addition to giving you a boost in your organic search traffic, setting up your Google Place page helps you make sure your business information is visible and accurate to consumers searching for your products and services.  Follow these simple steps to get your Google Place page set up and optimized in as easily as possible!

Claim or Set Up Your Place Page
Before you begin, make sure you have a Google (or gmail) account for your business – don’t use your personal account, such as the one tied to your personal e-mail address. Then, make sure you’re logged out of your personal Google account. Next, to get started setting up your Place page, visit the Google Places web page and, if you have an account, sign in. If you don’t have one, click “Create an account now” to set up your new account.

1) Once you are logged in to your account, click the button that says “List your Business.” You’ll need to enter your primary phone number to see what information, if any, Google already has about your business. If your business is already listed on Google, you can still verify it and personalize it with your business details.

2) Add or edit your basic business information, such as your physical address, email, website URL, description, and business categories. Google allows you to select up to five, so take advantage of this option and give your potential customers many potential ways to find your business. However, it’s important that one of your categories is one of Google’s default suggestions, which can help your Place page rank higher in the search results.

When it comes to your business description, include your top product and service keywords – but make sure you’re writing for actual consumers, not just for the Google algorithm. Because this description is what will show up to describe your business on the Google search results that display your Place page, you want it to entice consumers to click through to your page for more details.

3) Next, you need to verify your listing with Google, either via phone, postcard, or SMS text. Google requires verification with a PIN, or code, to validate that you are the business owner or representative.  To ensure a smooth verification process, make sure the phone number or address you submit matches the contact information on your map listing so that you receive your PIN, which you’ll need to enter into your Google Places account when you receive it. Google maintains that verification via postcard is the safest route, but keep in mind it could take 2-3 weeks for your PIN to arrive in the mail.

Optimize Your Page with Content
Congratulations! Once your verification is complete, your page is “owner verified,” and it is showing up on Google Maps, it’s time to optimize your listing to improve your Place page’s rank in organic search. This means adding interesting, valuable content to your Place page, like pictures, videos, and descriptive details about your business. Because photos on your Place page may appear in the Google search results next to your business’ listing excerpt, make sure you post images that are clear, appealing, and relevant to your target audience. For example, if you own a restaurant, add photos of some of your most popular dishes. Google allows you to add up to ten photos and five videos (via YouTube) for no charge. You can swap them out for new photos or videos at any time to keep content fresh.

Manage Your Customer Reviews
The final component to a robust Place page is customer reviews. Because they, too, can appear in up in your Place page excerpt on the Google search results page, it’s important to make sure you are actively monitoring reviews posted to your Place page. If your reviews are mostly unfavorable, or you don’t have any at all, ask some of your most loyal customers to write a review on your Place page. Also keep in mind that Google aggregates reviews from other sites, like Yelp, Citysearch, and TripAdvisor. So, your online reputation across the web will play a role in how your Google place page reviews stack up. Brush up on how to manage the reviews you receive online.

Monitor Your Analytics

Just as with any marketing, tracking your results is important. When you log in to your Place page account, you can see details like the top search queries directing consumers to your page, the number of clicks on your website URL, and other data. You can even select to have your Place page analytics emailed to you so you can regularly review your results. 

Need help setting up your Google Place page? Our ReachCast Web Presence Professionals will claim, set up, and optimize your Google Place page, as well as your other accounts on sites like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To learn more about ReachCast, check out this video tour or call us at (972) 267-2222.

Have you claimed your Google Place page yet? How are you using Google Places to reach more local consumers online? Let us know with a comment!

About the Author
Tamara Farley helps equip local business owners with information about local online advertising, social media marketing, and more as a blogger for ReachCast and ReachLocal.

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