When you are looking to optimize your local marketing efforts, Google Places is hands-down the best way to do this. Formerly Google Local, Google Places is truly the powerhouse of free marketing tools that are available to local businesses.
Google Places displays local business information at the top of organic search results. Organic search results are the results listed directly beneath the search bar. These should not be confused for the sponsored results that are commonly displayed on the right side of the page.
Google Maps Marketing
These local results also include a map providing the searcher with directions to your place of business. Since Google will only show up to 7 businesses on their main page (with maps) being in the top 7 for your keywords becomes crucial to your success.
It takes some time and effort to get listed in the top 7 amongst the local businesses in your area, but the way to start is to visit Google and search for Google Places. Register for an account and then click on the link that says “Add a business.” Google places currently only allows one phone number per listing, so make sure to use your company number. If someone calls after business hours, make sure they are still be able to find out about your operating times and to leave a message should they want to request more information.
When you are creating your description page, keep in mind that you are allowed a 200-character description of your business, so you will want to focus almost exclusively on your product or service. This is not the space for going over your company accomplishments or history. This is exclusively a place for letting the customer know what you have to offer.
This way when they run a search for printing paper, if your business is a printing business, it will show up in the search results. Make sure to maximize your 200 character description by choosing a very detailed and keyword rich description.
It is important that you don’t waste what little space you are given. Aim to use as many of your top keywords as possible within your description.
Once you have completed your description, you are able to submit the form. But I would suggest that you add the business hours and information at this point as well. I also recommend adding pictures and videos to really maximize the exposure you gain from your free listing.
Do keep in mind that with the new Google Places local business, your listing will not be active until you have verified your account. Normally the verification can be completed by a phone call from Google’s computers to the phone number of record for the listing. Be ready for it because the call is instantaneous from the time you hit submit, make sure to have a paper and pen ready because you need to write down the verification code.
In some instances, Google will require verification via a postcard mailed to the address of record for the listing. Postcards can take up to 5 weeks to arrive but usually arrive within 2 weeks.
Google Places Guide
Click here for your FREE Guide to Google Places with more detailed information to maximize your business listing.