Yesterday I explained the importance of claiming a Google Places page. Today I’m going to provide you instructions on how to claim your places page.
As a refresher, claiming your places page is important for many reasons. Not the least of which is that if you own your page, you control what’s seen there. Images, videos, description and so on.
How to See if Your Google Places Listing Exists
Claiming a places page is quite easy. The first thing you need to do is see if your place exists in Google. A simple Google search for your company name should return a places result at or near the top of the results. Beside the result you will see a “Places page” link. If it’s there, make note of the phone number listed to ensure it is the same as your current phone number. This is the number you will use to claim the listing.
If you don’t see a places result at or near the top, you need to refine your search. Click the “more” link on the left of the page, this will give you more places you can search – look for the “Places” link and click it. See if your listing now shows up here.
If you still don’t see it, click on the “Maps” link at the top left of the page. This should return more results and again your business should be at or near the top of the page.
If it’s still not here then it most likely means Google has not created a listing for your business. Perhaps your business is new or they have you listed as another name. In any case, you can still claim your listing. This is how you do it:
Adding or Changing a Places Listing
go to: http://www.google.com/places
click on “Get Started” under “Get Your Business Found on Google”. If you have a google account, go ahead and log into it here. If you don’t have a Google account, click the “Sign Up Now” link and sign up.
Once you have created your account or logged in you should see a dropdown list with countries and a phone number box. Simply select your country and enter your phone number in the format shown and hit “Find Business Information”.
If your listing exists already Google will return a page with the information it has – if not, you’ll get a blank listing.
Simply fill in or edit the information (Name, address, etc) and hit the submit button at the bottom. If your listing exists you will get a phone call from Google in a few seconds with a 5 digit pin number. You need to enter this number in your dashboard to complete the claim. If this is a new listing you will get a post card in the mail in a couple weeks with the pin number.
Once your listing is claimed you can go in and improve your listing at any time.
What Improvments Should You Make to Your Listing?
Whether you add the information as you create/claim your listing or go back later and do it, there are some things you should ensure are in place to give your listing the best chance of ranking:
First, make sure you have a good description. This can be hard to do in 200 characters so chose your wording correctly.
Second, add as many appropriate categories as you can. Be sure to have at least one, but if you can, get in 3 or 4.
Ensure you have filled in your business hours and payment information.
Be sure to add photos – the more the better – up to 10. Try to add your company logo as the first one, then any others you have.
If you have a video on youtube that is promotional in nature (IE promotes your business or services you offer) be sure to provide the link to it.
Be sure to add as many additional details as you can. While Google suggests things like “Parking Available” or “Brands Carried” I’ve also found “Products and Services Offered” to be very effective. Keep in mind that Google has a character limit on these boxes so you might need a couple products and/or services boxes. If so, consider breaking them up into “Products Carried” and “Services Offered”. Also, add any other comma separated info you can think of, such as brands carried, certifications your business has, link to your Business’ Facebook page, Twitter account and so on. The more the better.
When you’ve added this information, submit it. The nice thing about the places pages right now is that your changes should go live within a few hours. I’ve even seen cases where client pages are ranking highly for competitive search terms within 15 minutes!