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How to Maximize your online reach with a Google Places Page

By Michael Cirillo - 15 Feb 2012

If you are as avid a "Googler" as I am, then you are well aware that Google has recently made some changes to the way search listings are presented through their search engine. As a result of these changes, you have probably noticed that the "organic" search results have been pushed nearer the bottom of the first page of results. Millions of people use Google every day to find "places" in the real world, and Google's goal is to better connect local business with those seeking their services.

There are many factors that can play a vital role in the success of your online entity, and just as many factors that can work for it's demise. The following are a few tips that I would encourage you to implement in order to make the most of your Google Places listing.

Create your Page: 

The first (and obvious) step is to sign-up for and create your Google Places account and page. After all, if your page doesn't exist; how can Google present it to your online customers? In order to claim your page, visit and follow the prompts in setting up your account. There is a verification process that Google has in place in order to make sure that you are the official representative of the company you wish to create the Places page for.

Contact information:

As mentioned earlier, Google's goal is to present local searchers with more relevant "local" business' that match the relevancy of their search queries. Entering your Address information including phone numbers is the best way to let Google know about your locale. I would further encourage the use of local numbers instead of toll-free numbers as it may be an extra indication to Google where exactly you are located only to better your chances of showing up with the right search queries.

Selecting Categories:

As you set up your places page, Google will prompt you to select categories that best describe your business. I would suggest using at least one of Googles "suggested" categories but would also caution you not to us to many custom categories - especially if you are going to use repetative keywords. According to Google's guidelines, this practise would prove to work against you rather than for you. Google allows the inclusion of up to 5 categories. As an automotive or RV dealership you might choose categories such as, "Toyota Dealership, Collision Centre, Auto Repair, Automotive Financing" etc. Again, I would encourage you to select categories that best describe your dealership as they are a major factor in how your page is displayed.

Domain Name:

Many dealerships have multiple domains, all serving individual purposes or redirecting to a main URL. My advise is to use your main URL for your Google Places listing. This will eliminate any confusion consumers may have trying to determine which site is best for them to get the information they need.


Though it is yet to be determined whether or not adding photo's to your places page helps in the ranking of your listing, Google provides the option for you to upload photo's. This is a great way for consumers to become familiar with your business. Add photos of the exterior, interior, departments and even your staff in order to build consumer confidence and assist in  alleviating some uneccessary pressure when it comes time for your customers to pay you a visit.

Ad Offers:

Google provides  you the ability to add promotions to yourGoogle Places listing for free. This is a great way to attract new customers. Your special offers will appear alongside your business listing in Google Maps. The better your offers, the greater amount of customers you'll gain. Did I mention that it's free?!?

In closing, I would suggest that as you work on your Google Places page - that you remain within the guidelines that Google has set. Before you set out to create your Google page, make sure that your business doesn't already have a listing with Google. If one already exists, it could work against you. As a best practise, I would suggest implementing these ideas into the already existant Places page.

The whole idea is to "Drive" business your way, and Google Places business listings are a great (free) tool that can create amazing awareness for your online entity.