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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/googleplaces_logo.png” />Everyone knows that if you own a business, these days you need a website. In fact, people will go further and say you need a website plus various other online presences like Facebook and Twitter.
One of the major reasons it is essential to have some sort of online presence is because you need your business to be found. And where do people go when they need to find something? Google of course! Personally, when I am looking for some type of business I usually head to Google Maps and run a search including the city and state (or even nearest address).
Google makes checking out businesses easy with well-detailed listings of all sorts of information. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, try going to Google Maps and searching for a local business. For the purposes of this article I will be running a search for Nicky Doodles (a local ice cream shop) so I’ll type “nicky doodles, rome, ny” in the search bar.
Notice that when you find the business in the search results that there is a “more info” link.
It is this type of detailed listing that I am referring to. As a business owner, did you know you can now actually have some control as to what your business listing says about your business? Let me introduce you to what Google calls Google Places.
The process is simple. Let’s go through it step by step.
Go to Google Places, sign in with your Google account and click “Add new business.”
Next, you will be asked to begin to enter your business’s details. This is mostly include location based information (address, etc.), contact information (like email, phone, web address), and descriptive information (a short description and categorization).
Now you’ll be asked to give more details to be included in the listing. It is good for potential customers to know about your service location, hours of operation and payment options. You’ll also have the opportunity to include photos and even videos in your listing.
The last part of the Google Places listing process is validating that all of this information is actually coming from the owner of the business being listed. You can either choose to validate by phone or by postcard. Believe it or not, going the phone route would be a lot easier and faster.
Google Places offers more!
In this article, I have majored on how to take control of what information is in your business’s Google listing. You must also realize that Google Places also offers business owners other valuable tools such as printable coupons, and a dashboard full of statistics and trends helping you choose how to better meet the needs of your customers.
As you know, Google has been listing businesses for easy finding for quite some time. Now business owners can have the control they need to maximize the benefits of Google, for free!
What do you think of Google Places and the tools it offers? Can you think of any more simple ways to maximize the potential of online business listings?