Wednesday, January 25, 2012
For many users it is their first exposure to your online presence. It is packed with useful information such as you phone number, address, map, web address, and reviews. No, it isn’t your website or even your Facebook page. It’s your Google Places page.
Claim Your Page
When you go to your Google Places page, you’ll find a link to claim the page or that business as your own. Google will then send out a post card to the address containing your PIN to log in to your new account – an account which, as all good things in life, is free to set up. Once you’re in control of the page, you can add an even greater amount of information, such as store hours, parking options, and which credit cards you accept. You’ll also be able to update or correct any information that may be present but outdated.
Once you have your page verified, double check to make sure that the phone number and address that Google is listing is correct. You should also take this opportunity to ensure that the map points users to the right location. Not long ago we had a client that noticed that the map for their office was incorrect – there is a river running along the west side of their office building, but the Google map showed it to be on the east side. Since the river is a major landmark that they used to get clients to their office, we needed to get it fixed. There is a process you can go through to let Google know that there is an issue and they will look into every issue reported. It may, however, take a while. In our instance, for example, the river was updated to show on the correct side of the building three weeks after our report.
Users can post reviews and ratings of your company before or after you claim the page. If you don’t have any reviews and ratings showing up, ask your clients if they’d be willing to log in and let the Google universe know what they think of your offerings. There’s nothing wrong with asking for testimonials, so long as you don’t tell them what to say. Be sure to try and respond to your reviews as well. Let the community know that you’re listening and paying attention to what they are saying.
Doesn’t eliminate the need for your site
While the Google Places page does offer a lot of pertinent information about your company, it doesn’t offer everything. Because of that, you still want to be sure that your website is as top notch as your business is. Your Google Places page is just part of your online presence. Claim it, maintain it, and monitor it.
If you’d like help claiming your Google Places page or getting started, we’d be more than happy to help.