If you own a brick and mortar business you should claim your Google Places local listing and make sure it contains the correct information. Local SEO isn’t the next big thing it’s the big thing right now. More and more people are using the web to find information about businesses the internet is the new phonebook YellowPages. The problem is many businesses have local listings but have incorrect or outdated addresses, hours and phone numbers. Also if you haven’t claimed your listing anyone on the web can edit it and make changes to it.
The first step is to see if you’re already listed on Google Places, first try typing in the name of your business and the city you’re in. We’re going to use Gibbs Boat Company of Houston, Texas as an example. If we type in Gibbs Boats into Google search it shows us this. The information highlighted in red is pulled from Google Places. The address, phone number, hours and reviews are all pulled from Google Places.
If you don’t see your business listed along with your website that doesn’t mean you don’t have one. For Gibbs Boats for instance I would do a quick search for something like Boat Repair Houston and it will bring up a local list (pulled from Google Places again.)
If we go to the Google Places page though we see that Gibbs Boats hasn’t yet claimed their Google Places page.
If you owned Gibbs Boats you can click on the link in the lower left that says “Is This Your Business?” Click on “Manage This Page” and it will take you to a verification screen that asks you to verify by Phone (the phone number listed for the business) or by a postcard through the mail (the slowest method.) If the information is incorrect here’s more information about correcting it. http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176504
Claiming your business at Google Places is relatively easy and really it should be done by someone in the company itself. I recommend setting up a gmail account for your business that will also double as your Google ID. For Gibbs Boats for instance, if I were setting it up for them I would first have them register a gmail account such as [email protected] and give me access to it. Then I would register the Google Places listing under that gmail account. This of course will also give you access to Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, a YouTube channel and more. It’s important for your business to maintain control of the listing even if you have someone else set it up for you.
Soon I’ll show you how to optimize your local listing for better results. Thanks to Gibbs Boats for using them as an example, if you’re in the Houston area and need a boat or boat services check them out. Also don’t forget to check your Yahoo Local listing as well at Yahoo Local.