If you have ever searched for a restaurant, place of business or local company, it is most likely you have witnessed Google Places/ Google Local listings. The feature is really cool and helpful. It works like this.
You type in what you are looking for – for example I am searching for wineries in Sonoma where I will be vacationing. Google gives me a nice list of wineries right at the top of its search results with a map to the right identifying where each winery is in respects to each other and within the town of Sonoma. If I click on the letter, the map pops open with a closer look at the wineries location along with a pop-up with more information about that particular winery and reviews, an address and a website address. Who can beat this kind of advertising. And the kicker is, it is free to set up your Google Local profile.
Setting up your profile is just the start in making your presence prominent online. Spending some time completing your Google Local profile with as much information as possible will make your place of business more enticing and will most likely earn it more clicks from viewers, which will potentially lead to more in-person visits.
So how do you go about setting up your Google + Local profile? This is what we suggest to our clients and in this order.
1. Create a gmail account if you don’t already have one. If you have another email account that you primarily use, that is okay. Your gmail account can be a secondary email account.
2. Create a Google + Page for your business. Walking through the steps on the link should get you started. When asked what category you want for your Google + page, choose Local Business or Place.
3. When choosing Local Business or Place, Google will walk you through a list of questions about your company, specifically an address and primary phone number. If there is an existing page already up for your business you can claim it as yours. If there is not a business up, you can build one right then. You can also go to Google Places for Business if you think you already have a location in Google Places and edit your listing within this place.
4. Optimizing your places listing. Once you have claimed your listing, as we have mentioned before, complete the form as completely and fully as possible. Use keywords in the description section describing what you sell and where you are and write good copy about your product. Upload as many photos as you can and make your Google+ page look alive. Compare the following two winery Google Local Listings and decide which looks more inviting to you.
Or Do You Want It To Look Like This?
5. Ask People to Rate Your Business. Okay, this is always scary for some folks but having ratings shows people actually care and have visited your place of business. You want feedback, of course you want positive feedback but feedback helps any business grow and change. Responding to feedback whether in Google + or other review sites must be done strategically as well and you can read more about that in our blog article “Managing Business Review Sites – Yelp, Google Places and More“.