Google Places is the rebranded identity for Google Local. It allows you to add a free business listing that will be displayed on Google Maps. For example you could search for “Web Design Quotes in Sussex” and find the listing for Quotes.
The bulk of the existing listings have been supplied by third parties such as Yellow Pages and Thomson Directories and usually provide the bare minimum of useful information about a business. They often contain inaccuracies and may conflict with a new listing so it is better to claim the existing listing and update it yourself.
The importance of your inclusion on Google Places has implications for the search engine optimisation of your web site. This is because Google uses the combination of business information, web site details, address and service areas to provide local search results which now appear mixed into in its main search engine results pages (SERPs). It now assumes that some searches should contain location details and if your business can’t be identified with a particular location its inclusion may be deemed to be less relevant.
For example, instead of searching with place names for “Taxi Chailey” or “Taxi Uckfield” you can now search using just the word “Taxi” and Google will estimate your current location and provide the relevant local listings. It does this by looking at your network address and using a technique similar to working out where someone is calling from based on their dialling code.
If there isn’t an existing listing that you can claim you can add your own business details to Google Places by using a Google Account to submit your details online. You can include a description of your business, industry sector, contact details, service area, a link to your web site, email address, opening hours and payment types accepted. Google will check your details and then supply you with a PIN number by automated phone call, text message or postcard. Entering the PIN number will activate your details. Your details will then be published.
Your listing can also be combined with Google Adwords to insert your adverts into an expanded listing.
Quotes can guide you through the process of claiming and submitting your business information to Google Places upon request.
Last updated: Tuesday, 28th February 2012
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