Have you claimed your local business listing? Google Places (formally Google Local, and often referred to as Google Maps Listing) is a free service provided by Google. It is a directory of local businesses, allowing a business owner to claim their listing.
These listings show up in Google when people type a local search (eg. Toronto House Painter), Google Places listings will show up before the web results. That means it’s PRIME real estate to get search engine traffic. So why is it so important, well there is a LOT of traffic that can come from a highly ranked Google Places listing.
So much so, that people go will go to great lengths to try and rank themselves higher.
Google knows it’s importance, that’s why they have a verification system in place now for people claiming local listings, but a recently, Mike Blumenthal reported that Google is indeed calling businesses that are registered with Google Places to protect businesses from any fishy activity and weed out any spam like tactics.
Google is concerned with the validity of the information within Google Places, because it has drawn a lot of attention. Attention because of the huge potential it has on a business when it comes to search traffic. They current verification is automated, and you can get around it quite easily, but they now have real people making phone calls and asking questions.
• Verifying Phone Numbers
• Verifying Address
• Verifying Business Name
Information from the listing is verified by a Google representative.
Why Does This Mean Google Places Is Important?
If so many people are going after the local listing, making false ones, trying to ruin their competitors, along with Google taking man hours to verify this. It means they KNOW how valuable a highly ranked Google Places listing is, otherwise they wouldn’t pay any attention to it.
Creating a Google Places Listing
In order to create a Google places listing, follow these general steps
1. Go to Google Places and register (you’ll need a GMail account)
2. When you’ve arrived at the registration form, proceed by filling out all the fields, and be sure that you get the info correct. Don’t put in just the minimum, Google wants a content rich listing, fill out as much information as you possibly can. Incomplete listings will likely never show up on the first page of Google.
3. Once you’ve confirmed your information, you’ll be given the choice to verify by phone or post card. The phone option is way faster.
4. When you get the call or the post card, input the verification code and you’re listing will shortly go live!
Those are rough steps, and there is ample online help within Google Places to walk you along. But it’s so often overlooked and a good listing with everything filled out (including photos, videos, coupons, etc) the better. Imagine getting on the first page of Google without even spending a dime on your own website!