If you do not already know, Google Places (formally Google Maps), is the google placeslistings in Google that pop up with the little red map marker or balloon, when you search for a local business.  If you service local customers, you NEED to be listed.  It is like free traffic and leads that you are throwing away if you are not listed.  It is pretty simple to get listed, but if you have a lot of competition you may want to hire a professional Google Places marketer to optimize and keep your listing fresh and in the top four.  But for now, how do you get listed?

Step One:

Go to  www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter and choose to add your listing.  Then simply step through their form following these tips.

Your business or company name. Make sure your company / organization’s name is listed exactly as it appears in the offline world. Do not include additional keywords such as the city because this violates the guidelines. You DO NOT want to violate the guidelines. Play by the rules!

Step Two:

Add your phone number. Make sure it is the phone number you want potential clients/ customers to reach you at.  Add any toll free and fax numbers you have as well. The more contact information – the easier you can be reached.

Step 3:

Your email address. Do not use your personal email address, use a business email address.  If you do not really have one, get a free gmail account.

Step 4:

Add your website. Include http:// as well when you add your website.

Step 5:

Categories. Include all the categories that are relevant to your business. Do not be deceptive and add your most desired ones first.  Some people recommend only adding 4 to start and then going back later, as there is an approval process.  Don’t keyword stuff!

Step 6:

Hours of Operation. This is obvious, put your hours of operation. If you are not open to the public, choose that option.  Google sometimes changes the form, and sometimes it looks different from person to person if they are beta testing new ideas, so if something differs from this checklist, simply follow Google’s lead.

Step 7:

Payment methods. Do you accept Mastercard, but not American Express? That’s something you may want people to know before they come to your business. Also, the more payment methods you accept, the more professional and the more flexibility your customers have.

Step 8:

There is a section that allows you to display additional information about your business. If you have something unique that will make a customer select you or might interest them, put it in there.

Step 9:

Photos. This is important, put a couple in, but it is not critical to add a bunch or even a video right at the start.  Actually, many professionals say to just put the basics in, get approved, get your pin code, and then go back and add more once you are listed.  This actually can help you get listed higher over time as it shows an active listing.

Step 10:

Reviews.  These are important.  Once your google listing is up, email some customers and ask them to review you.  Give them your link.  Ask them for an honest  review.  If you have a large customer database, only ask a few at a time.  You want reviews over time, not 50 at once.  It needs to look natural.  A couple reviews a week to start is fine.

That’s all there is to it – go get listed!



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