Google Places for Business (AKA “Google Places,” formerly “Google Local Search”) is a must-have for online businesses. Your listing will appear in Google searches when it’s relevant to the search terms typed in and the searcher’s location.
Having your details online is really important when you want to beat the competition. It used to be that if you had a website, you were thought of as a weak business. Now, if you don’t have a website, you’re a weak business. And your business needs to be on mobile, too.
What surprises me often is that not every offline business has a Google Places for Business listing!
It’s easy to sign up, and it’s free!
You may be paying Yellow Book hundreds per month to list your business, but Google… still free.
Here are the steps:
- Go to: www.google.com/placesforbusiness
- Log in with your Google Account information (That you use for GMail, Drive, etc.)
- Fill in some basic information about your business — Address & Phone, Payment Methods Accepted, Hours of Operation, and Other Information you’d like to add. You can also upload pictures of your business, which is highly desirable. People respond to images better than text.
- Submit your site.
- Wait a few days for Google’s postcard.
- Fill in the code that Google sends to you at Google Places, and you should be good to go. You can also post updates about sales, specials, or events at Google Places, so it’s like a running advert for your local business.
What happens if you move your business to another part of town?
Alert Google Places to the move and they take care of the rest. You will get a new postcard verification sequence, but it takes only a few days.
It used to be that Google would show your business address as “closed,” though that wasn’t the case. Your business just moved, and that could be confusing, especially for your regular and old customers.
Google was chastised for this, and took action. Now, your old listing will include the verbiage “Relocated to… ,” and the new address shown beside it. But your listing also has this in bold letters: “This place has closed or relocated.” To be honest, I saw that first. Many other people would, too.
Another problem is when you move to a new location, the reviews you had don’t go with you. That sucks! So, Google is working on a way to fix this issue, too, though the time frame is uncertain.
For now, even if you’re planning to move in three months, having a listing is most assuredly better than having no listing at all. If the move is imminent, you’ll have less anxiety if you place your listing when you’re securely in the new digs. But that should be the first item on your agenda for after the move. It’s very important.
Even a small business like mine has appeared in search listings 116 times over the past 30 days, which is pretty cool. But I run a specialized business. If you have a restaurant, you’re a doctor or lawyer, or you have another popular concern going, imagine what Google Places for Business can do for you.
If you’re too busy or you’d just not rather waste time figuring it out… Give us a call. We try to take the bumps out of the cyberverse for you.