Businesses can now do a little optimizing on Google Maps with a thing the search engine giant is calling Google Places. It is like creating a social profile, but with a more professional edge. The first thing you need to do is complete the profile. This will get you priority.
The first thing to know is that getting a little red balloon on Google Maps that leads to your Google Places page is entirely up to Google. There is no guarantee or trick to making it happen. If the balloon is there, claim it and make your page. If not, just make a page and see what happens. Make sure to fill it out all the way.
Steps to a complete Places Page:
- The first item on your profile is going to be your company name. Be sure to match it up with whatever is on your sign, business cards, etc. Extraneous information is a no-no. Put in your name and that is it. Adding tags here for SEO is going to get you the boot.
- The next item on your list is a phone number. This should be the business contact phone number. If it is a phone in the business office, your cell phone or your home phone, add it. Just be sure not to add a line that is personal.
- Put in an email address for your business and make it sound professional. Something like, “email@example.com” will work.
- Add your website. This is a great way for Places users to learn even more.
- The fifth item on your profile is going to be categories. Do not fake this. Add as many relevant categories as you can and no irrelevant ones.
- List your hours of operation, including days and possibly even holidays that the business is closed. Of course, if your office is not a location for doing business, you have the option to hide this as well.
- What can customers use for their transactions with you? List all of the methods of payment you take, such as PayPal, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, etc.
- Do you have anything relevant to add? There is a little area for listing things like “Kids eat free on Wednesdays” or “This establishment is wheelchair accessible.”
- Every good social or business profile needs good photos and Google Places is no exception. You have up to ten photos, so maybe a photo of your building, some products and employees will suffice.
- If you have happy customers, this is where they can put their reviews. Include links to the Google Places page in emails with customers, encouraging them to leave reviews. A great bonus is that Google will find reviews for your business on other sites and connect them to your Places page.
Be sure to check out the Offers and Live Posts section of your Google Places page. You can have a lot of fun including all of the aspects of your business.