Everything you need to know to get started
Whether you’re an established business, or a start-up, Google Places is an important tool to help consumers find and reach you easily.
Google Places was created so that consumers can search for products and services around them. If you are a local business, or looking for consumers in a certain area, then Google Places could put your business firmly on the map. As Google says, on this platform you can easily edit the business info that appears on Google Search and Maps, share news and updates with your customers, respond to reviews of your products or services and ascertain how customers have reached your business.
So how do you set Google Places up and use it effectively?
Set up a Google Account
First you need to set up a Google account for your business, as opposed to using a personal account, via this website. Once you have done this you will be visible across all Google products, including Google+, Maps and Search. You can then start to personalise your page with a unique cover and profile picture for your business, taking care to reflect the identity of your brand and being in-keeping with your other social channels. You have the option to upload up to 10 photos, so include exterior and interior shots of your business, along with the company logo and pictures of the team. Projecting an engaging, personable image will give a human face to your products and can encourage brand loyalty. The option to upload videos to the site can also enhance your brand image and provides the opportunity for you to showcase your services in an easily digestible form.
It’s vital that all of the information about your service or brand is accurate and consistent across all platforms. This includes a succinct and clear description of who you are and what you do, to your opening hours, address and phone number, all of which will help people find you. Your description should be short and clear; the character limit is nearly 5000, but using this all is not recommended as the longer the description, the further consumers have to scroll to reach reviews of your product. Be succinct yet impactful with your description. Consider what would attract you as a consumer and don’t repeat Keywords or telephone numbers in an attempt to improve your ranking- this could just put consumers off. Make sure you also categorise your business appropriately.
Google Places provides an opportunity for you to engage with your consumers and start conversations. By encouraging regular unique reviews of your products, potential consumers will be attracted. The more reviews you have, the higher you will rank in the Map listings, so actively direct people to leave reviews. Remember to update the associated Google+ account regularly, including any changes to opening hours etc., to enhance your image and sense of reliability.