It’s no secret that Google dominates much of the space online, especially when it comes to navigation, and providing useful information about businesses, including their hours of operation, how to access their website, and how to get in touch with them. If you own a business, making this information easily accessible from a basic Google search is key to bringing new business in.
Google is increasingly creating new tools (and improving their old tools) for helping businesses with outreach and marketing. One of the best ways that do this is with Google Places. This service can help you bring in new business, reach out to people who wouldn’t otherwise have known about you, and so much more.
We’re going to teach you what Google Places is, how it works, how to sign up, and tips for using it. You will learn exactly how Google Places can help your business in concrete ways that you’ll notice right away, without having to put in much effort at all. In this article, we’ll break it all down for you:
- What is Google Places?
- How it Google Places different from Google My Business?
- 5 ways Google Places helps your business
- How to sign up for Google Places
- 4 things you need to know about signing up for Google Places
Read on to learn how to get more business and eliminate unnecessary customer service requests using Google Places.
What is Google Places?
Google Places is a registration service offered by Google for businesses that provides basic information about it to Google users when completing a Google Search. Because your business is a “place” on Google, potential customers can see information about you without needing to find your website.
The purpose, is of course, that a person would not need to have known about you when searching for your information, and instead, can find it all right away. For example, if you owned a bakery, and a person was searching for things such as “bakery in Boston,” your information would appear to them, because you have registered.
It also helps people find basic information about you right away, without having to click anywhere else, and allows them to directly get in touch with you in various ways, for example, by clicking on your phone number, and a call opening immediately within their phone app if they are using a mobile device. Some of the information you can include about your business is:
- The name of your business
- A brief description of what you do/what services you provide
- Your phone number
- Your physical location (if you have one)
- Your official website
- Directions to your business location
- Hours of operation (for every day of the week)
- Reviews people have completed online
- Popular times people visit your location
- Photos of your business/services
How is Google Places different from Google My Business?
Google Places is a service that has been around since before Google launched My Business. Now, Google Places is a part of My Business, which has additional services offered to you by Google that can help boost your business with a comprehensive and detailed online presence – all for free.
Google My Business lets you:
- Update basic information about your business, including your name, address, hours of operation, etc.
- Upload photos of your business
- Manage reviews and respond to customers
- See analytical insights on who is searching for you and where
- Get notifications when people are talking about your business on social media
- Allow others to manage your business, setting up authorized accounts
- Create a free website for your business, that auto-generates with info you fill in
5 ways Google Places helps your business
So, you know what it is, and it may seem obvious that it would be useful to you. But there are quite a few reasons you should be using Google Places; it can help your business in ways you might not have thought of.
1. Increases brand awareness for your business.
You can simply reach more people when you register your business with Google – literally on a global scale! By registering with Google, you make it possible for more people to find you. You might be surprised by how many people search for services you offer each month using Google, so getting your name out there is only going to increase the pool of potential customers you have.
2. Help people find you when they don’t even know about you.
Speaking of the potential to earn more customers, because you’re registering with Google, you can show off what you do to far more people than with traditional marketing methods. And the beauty is that a person searching on Google wouldn’t need to know any information about you, or even that you exist – but Google will still recommend you to them if the description of what you do and what industry you’re in remotely matches the things people in your area are searching for.
3. Increases your webpage authority with Google Search.
How often Google will recommend you, and how high up on their list of search results you will appear is directly related to how active you are with your online presence. Google considers things such as how often you respond to online comments and reviews, and how interactive you are with people who are attempting to engage with your online brand, including on your social media profiles.
By registering with Google Places, you open up another platform of interaction, as customers can ask questions and review your service online. If you acknowledge these reviews, suggests ways you can improve if there is a complaint, or answer questions right away, Google becomes more likely to promote you – especially if you’re engaging with people on their Google Places platform, which, it should come as no surprise, Google occasionally prioritizes over other platforms.
4. Make it easier for customers to contact you, and get to you.
By putting this information online, you’re allowing people to find the information they need to know right away: when are you open, where are you located, and so on. Google places all of this information in a concise box, that immediately links to various actions. By clicking Website, a person is directed to your official site. By clicking Call, if they are using their mobile app, they can connect to you through a phone call right away. And by clicking Directions, they can open up Google Maps, and get instructions for how to get to you, or even step-by-step guided GPS directions for driving.
5. Save time, eliminating those pesky, recurring customer service questions.
Do you have the kind of business where people call a lot asking you questions like the following:
- What time do you open?
- Is there a fee to enter your business?
- Do you take reservations?
- Do you have free Wi-Fi?
- Is your location wheelchair accessible?
Or anything similar, registering your business with Google Places eliminated the need for so many people to call in asking these questions, because all the information they need is right there in front of them. Many people also prefer to simply look a place up online first before visiting it, just to get the gist of how everything works there. If you get your information out there, you will save plenty of time answering these questions – just let Google do it for you!
How to sign up for Google Places
- Visit the Google Business website.
- Click Start Now.
- Fill out each highlighted field on the registration form.
- Click Continue.
- Choose how to verify your business.
- Click Continue and verify later.
- Fill out any additional information at your leisure, and verify your business.
The information you’ll need to include on the registration form is:
- Business name
- Street address
- Postal code
- Main business phone
- Category of business (dentist, wedding photographer, Thai restaurant, marketing firm, etc.)
- Business website URL
- Indicate if you deliver goods and services to customers
If you need anymore help about the steps along the way, check out this Google Help page on registering your business. Make sure you read our “things you need to know” below to make the process easier.
4 things you need to know about signing up for Google Places
1. You must agree to the terms and conditions.
Before you register, you need to make sure you agree to the terms and conditions of the agreement, which means avoiding anything that violates Google’s policies. This includes things such as when you upload content using Google’s platform, they have license to distribute it through their services. Make sure you read through these terms, and are comfortable agreeing to each one. Remember, you are not acting as an individual here, but on behalf of your business – and your business is who is technically entering in an agreement with Google.
2. You must verify your business, so you can only do this if you own a legal, official business.
When signing up for Google Places, you will be required to verify your business by mail, so that Google can confirm that it is located where you say it is. There are a few ways you can choose to verify:
- By postcard – Google will send you a postcard that arrives in the mail within 12 days. Once you possess the card, you can sign into your Google Business account and enter the verification code.
- By email – This is only available for some business, but allows verification by email.
- By phone – This is only available for some business, but allows verification by telephone.
- By business listing – If you’ve already verified your business through Google Search Console, you may be able to verify this way.
- Bulk verification – If you own 10 or more locations for your business, this may be a more efficient way to verify your multiple locations.
Until you verify your business, none of the information you provide or the edits you make on Google Places will appear to people searching on Google. Click here to learn more about verifying your business with Google Places.
3. You are responsible for keeping your information accurate and up-to-date.
Signing up is easy – that’s true, but Google can’t just read your mind every time you make a change to your hours of operation or your contact information. It’s your responsibility to make these changes over time, and remember, you should make this a priority. A potential customer that shows up when you used to open at 9 a.m., but now open at 10 a.m. won’t be likely to return. The easier you make it for people to get information about you and see what you’re all about, the more likely they are to become a customer, and stay as a returning customer.
4. Make sure to connect to your website and other social media presences.
It’s also important to connect Google Places to your official website. This basic information is incredibly useful for existing and potential customers, but it doesn’t contain a lot of detail about what you do. If you want to show off what’s going on with your business, having a website and social media presence can really help attract customers and maintain loyalty. If you include this information for Google, they’ll make it just a click away for the people searching for similar services in your area.
Getting on Google Places isn’t the only thing that can help increase business by setting up an online presence. Check out the rest of our helpful online business advice to learn more, and help increase business over the next year, increase your business efficiency, and learn new ways to improve customer loyalty.