I went out my front door yesterday and found a very interesting surprise on my verandah – sadly it wasn’t a bunch of flowers from a secret admirer but rather the Yellow Pages®!
Remember those? There was a time when we could not do without them. And now? Well I kept mine solely so I could take a photo of it for this post and now it is going into the recycling bin.
The telephone directory has been replaced by the Internet, and more specifically, Google. Anytime I’m after information that is where I, and millions of others, head every day.
And this is of course why every business is encouraged to have a website nowadays – so they can be found on Google. But there’s more to being found on Google than simply having a website, especially if you’re a local business.
Businesses and Google Places
Have you ever searched for a business address on maps.google.com using just their name and perhaps a suburb? Isn’t it great how Google can pinpoint their exact location on a map and then give you directions to that business?
Well that is something that you can do for your own business very quickly and easily through the service known as Google Places. With this service you can create a page listing your address, contact details and opening hours – like a micro website – and Google will use that information to create a map listing for you.
The steps to create the listing are very easy and are laid out in quite a bit of detail in Google’s Help Centre. The short version goes like this though:
- Go to Google Places and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account, click Sign up now to create a new Google account.
- On the Google Places homepage click on Add a new business and then enter your phone number and country details so Google can check whether there is a listing already online.
- If there isn’t a listing, go ahead and create your business listing. Fill in as much detail as possible.
- If there is already a listing for your business you’ll have the opportunity to edit and claim that listing or to create a new listing (if the suggested one actually isn’t for your business)
- Once you’ve finished making changes on either a new listing or editing an existing one you’ll be asked to complete a verification process either by SMS, phone call or a postcard in the mail. This prevents people from attempting to take over your business listing.
And that is it – you’re done! It will take about 2 – 3 weeks to get verified, particularly if you are using the postcard method of verification but once it is done you’ll be able to search maps.google.com for your business name and see the listing come up.
Now people can not only find you in the world’s largest telephone directory they can also
- share your map location via email,
- go to your Local Google + page and
- add a review your products and services from the Google Maps link.
I love Google Places, and the fact that it is now linked in with Google Local Pages in Google +. They’re a quick and easy way to add some oomph to your online presence, and all for free!
What about you – do you think you’ll add your business to Google Places? Or if you’re already on Google Places, how useful do you find it?