Many local and regional companies can greatly benefit from a solid Google Places account. But they either don’t know about it or haven’t been using it to its fullest potential.
Let’s be honest, adding another thing to your to do list may not sound like any fun, but if you’re a company that’s looking to gain more local business, you’ll want to take the time to build your account well.
Setting up a Google Places account from scratch will take you somewhere between 1-2 hours. Here’s how to do it …
First, if you don’t have one already, set up a free Google account. This is your portal to all things Google.
Next, go to the Get Your Business on Google page, and click on the “Get started for free” button. There will be a step-by-step process to follow for the creation of your Google Places account. Just take it one step at a time, and be sure not to rush through it.
Once you set up the account, you can start populating your Google Places page. You’ll want to make sure you add as much information as possible. It’s important to add a good amount (3-4 paragraphs) of SEO rich content to the “Introduction” section.
Another big piece of the pie is making sure you’re populating the photos section on your account. One or two photos is not enough. You’ll want to have at least a dozen or more photos placed in this section. And, each photo needs to be optimized with keywords —meaning that if one of your photos is currently named “company_logo.jpg,” you’ll need to change it to something like, “Tingalls Graphic Design & Website Design.jpg,” so Google can add SEO value to each image. Optimizing your images can go a long way in helping your Google Places page rise up through the ranks.
Somewhere in the process, Google may tell you that you need to verify your account. You may have to request a postcard that contains a special code. This can take up to two weeks to arrive via snail mail. Or, Google may allow you to verify with them over the phone. Either way, this is legit, and needs to be done so your page can go live.
Fully populating your Google Places page will help you rank higher in the “push-pin map” that Google provides during a search request. For instance, searching for “florist” yields a handful of paid results, followed by a list of florists — each with a letter (from A-Z) in a push-pin. Optimizing your Google Places page will help you be closer to the top of this list.
Like a page on your website or blog, your Google Places account can have SEO value. In other words, if you populate it like an all star, more people will find you — which of course means more potential to improve your business.
Good luck creating an awesome Google Places page!