This is the 21st century! Gone are the days when newspapers used to be the best medium for promoting any business or company. With technology soaring high, the internet is its replacement and has stamped its dominance with conviction. The internet is now one of the most popular mediums connecting the whole world within a fraction of a second. It lets people minimise the globe to a few inches of computer screen. If you are looking for promotion and enhancement of your business via digital media then the easiest and effective solution is Google Places. It’s like a directory of small scale and local businesses all linked to Google Maps, making it visible to everyone across the planet.
How to set up Google Places?
Google Places is absolutely free; you don’t have to spend a single penny on it. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps and your business will become a part of Google Places. First and foremost, an account is to be created in Google Places and for that you have to fill in a form with all the information regarding your business as required.
Here you will have to provide the name of your business. The name should be exact, there must not be any other word(s) attached with it. Write the full name of your company/business instead of using abbreviations. You can’t compare yourself with the likes of KFC or HP etc. These companies are known with their abbreviations so for them abbreviations will work.
Here you provide basic details like address, email account, phone number and website details.
-Make sure to provide the right company address from where you actually operate your business.
-Don’t provide free email addresses like gmail or hotmail. Use your company email address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Give your business phone number which should be working all the time. If you will use your phone number to verify your listing then Google will send you a PIN code on this number.
-Provide your website URL. If you don’t have a website then it’s better to hire a professional web designer. Having a website should be considered an essential thing when it comes to Google Places. This is because when people find your listing on Google Places they wish to visit your website before visiting you physically. Google Places always gives privilege to the people who provide maximum information about their business. A website URL is one of those essential tools of information.
Here you select the category in which your business falls. Selecting the right category for your business is very important. Try to use the categories that Google provides. Your business will be ranked higher if it falls smoothly within a section devised by Google Places. Google has created categories like food, entertainment, travel, luxury, retail and many more like these so that you find your category easily. If you don’t find an appropriate category then you can create one and place your business under it. While doing so, you should always remember that Google is not in favor of creating your own categories to list your business and you may lag behind other businesses which are similar to yours.
Here you provide the keywords or key phrases that people may use to search for the services you provide. Use your primary keywords first and then go on to secondary (less important) keywords. Don’t write a lot of keywords. Using 4 to 6 keywords would be good.
Here you describe your business precisely. Describing your business in a short and simple manner will help people understand what you do and how you do it. Your description should not exceed 150 to 160 characters. Be precise in describing your business because a good little overview can make you stand apart from the rest. To optimise your listing properly, use your primary keywords while writing your description.
Choosing location settings and service areas is another major step as it integrates your business to Google Maps. Your business can be viewed through Google Maps whenever someone comes across the area where you are situated. You can use the feature called geo targeting – it’s bang on all the time, there won’t be any hit and miss whatsoever. This technology is very helpful as it puts your business on the face of the earth. Use it while setting up your Google Places account.
Each minute detail needs to be given; even things like payment options for the customers, what type of cards you accept or any other info related to it. Google Places wants its customers to have all the facts. These little details will help you in pushing your business forward. Your listing will come on top results if you update your listing every time when there is any new information about your company like new pricing, new payment methods introduced etc. Regular updates on your Places account ensures Google that your listing is not dead and you did not leave it after setting up.
Be specific with whatever you write, don’t try fooling Google by giving any false information because it can cost you. Adding tag lines is cool but don’t give any misleading information about your business like ‘The best in the city’. Such things simply jeopardise the goodwill of your company. Write only what is valid for your business, don’t associate any false luxuries with it. Stick to your basics and show them what you offer and what you are best at.
Hours of operation
Here Google Places requires you to tell your hours of operation. You have to give details like at what time you are off, do you work on weekends?, is there any kind of break between the hours you run your business?, will it remain open on holidays or any other fact related to it. Don’t try to hide anything, Google has unlimited resources and it will crop you out of its picture if it senses any malpractice.
Photographs and clips
Photos and videos let people get an insight of your business. This helps them to make a decision whether to do business with you or not by looking at short videos and pictures while you are actually working. Don’t copy and paste previously taken pictures and videos that are already on the internet like YouTube. When you are setting up your Google Places page, take new and latest pictures and videos and upload them to Google Places. Copied pictures and videos can ban your Google Places Listing. Take pictures and videos when there is a full gathering of your customers and when they are greatly enjoying your services. This incredibly helps in attracting new customers. Make sure that the pictures & videos are clear and relevant; they should directly give a message to the public about your business. Google Places appreciates these things and it helps you in generating a better review.
A lot of people simply leave this part of Google Places. Many add key words over here. You are not supposed to do this here. Rather you tell some additional important things and the things which differentiate you from others in the market. For example:
- Any Big Discounts
- Offering Off Season Discounts
- Offering Free Gifts
- Offering Free Car Parking Facility
- Famous Places Near Your Premises
- Free Lime Juice At Arrival Of Customers
- Family Packages
- What Kinds Of Food You Offer (In case you run a restaurant)
- Newly Married Couple Packages
- And the list can go on…..
The last and final step is to confirm your association with Google Places. Google wants to confirm that you are the authorised official or the owner of the company claiming the listing. You have to confirm your listing with a PIN verification code which you can get via Phone or Postcard. Once you get this code, enter this to your Google Places account. Once the PIN code is verified by Google, your listing will appear on Google Places.
Trillion Dollar Tip:
One problem that a lot of people face occurs sometimes when they attempt to make any changes, edit, or add to their Google Places Account. Their listing completely disappears from Google Places. For example, changing address, phone number, description or adding or removing photos and videos. The solution to this problem is undoing all the changes you made. By doing this you can revert back to Google Places. Always think twice before editing your account information.
Tracking down the page
You should always keep a check on your Google Places page as customers can post reviews on it. Your online reputation widely depends on those comments and reviews posted by your customers. Good 5 star reviews surely add value to your services. Ask your most loyal customers to review you to improve your ranking in Google Places. With the Places page, you can also see the details like how many people visited your webpage, what was the top search query etc. so that reviewing your page won’t be a challenge anymore.
Let your business take off
Some things are beyond your control in Google Places. Some information may pop up on the page even though you didn’t mention it. There’s no need to worry about these things as you can’t change them. You can’t control the wind but you can set your sails, just keep that in mind. Another problem like getting a phone call from Google without requesting can arouse if someone else is trying to cheat you but until and unless your PIN is secured, there is no chance of any mishappenings. Google Places is undoubtedly one of the best and most successful ways to add wings to your business.