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You'll need to list your business on Google+ Local so it can appear in the Google Local search results, and the first step is to visit www.google.com/placesforbusiness. Before you log in, here's a tip. When signing up for Google+ Local, it's a good idea to create separate Google accounts to manage your listings. And this account should really be tied to your corporate domain, something like firstname.lastname@example.org will keep your business account tied to the business and separate from your personal account. If you and the organization you're working for ever decide to part ways, this separation can save you a lot of headaches later on.
Once you've logged in for the first time, you'll be prompted to enter your Phone Number, and Google will tell you if it already knows about your business. If it does, it will pre-fill whatever information it's found on the form we'll need to fill out. This is your chance to provide as much information as you possibly can to Google about your business, so you'll want to fill out all the required fields and as many optional ones as you possibly can. You'll start out by entering your company name in the Company/Organization field. It's important that you don't try to add keywords to your company name to get a higher rank.
Remember that consistency across your citations is extremely important to local search rankings, so this can actually hurt you, and it's against the terms of service. Since consistency in your name, address, and phone number is so critical, sometimes it can be helpful to ensure that there's a default that you're using everywhere you can. One trick is to write out the business name, address, and phone number just once in a text file, and then store that text file somewhere that anyone doing this kind of work can access, and when you're updating citations, you can just copy and paste the information from that document.
This will minimize the chances of the information being inconsistent or incorrect. Next, fill in the email address that you want associated with your business and your website. Although these are optional, it's a good idea to use them, and you can take advantage of the 200 character description of your business. You'll want to think about your target keywords, but ultimately, this should be enticing marketing copy that describes what your business does, and why a consumer should choose you over the competition.
The next step is choosing the categories under which you're going to list your business. Category suggestions will appear as you begin typing, and you'll want to choose one of the suggested categories if you can. You can also use the Add another category link to select up to five categories. The Service Areas and Location Settings section asks whether your customers come to you, or you go to your customers. For example, if you're running a coffee shop, chances are your customers are coming to you. Wedding photographers, on the other hand, usually travel out to their clients.
You can also enter your operating Hours and the Payment options that you accept. Generally, you'll want to provide as much information as you can throughout your listing. Remember, potential customers are searching on the go, and if they know for a fact that you're open at a particular time or accept the credit card that they have in their wallet, that might be enough to bring them into your door, instead of your competitors'. Photos and videos are a great way for you to showcase your business to potential customers, and really show them exactly what they'll be getting if they choose to do business with you.
If you're a restaurant, pictures of tempting plates of food, friendly service, and a great atmosphere might win you a new customer. You might even put up a video of your salad bar or a walk around the dining room. Whatever your business, an additional 10 images or 5 videos to your profile can help someone decide whether to come in or stay away. The last piece of the puzzle is the Additional Details field, and this is where you can get creative. If you have anything else to say about your business, this is where you'll put it. And while Google+ Local won't display this section in your listing, it's still worth your while to add as many details about what makes your business unique as you can.
After you've filled out the form, you'll need to verify your business listing before it will go live. Google+ Local will send you a pin verification code, either by mail at your business address, or by a phone, and once you receive your pin, you'll need to enter it into your Google+ Local account to verify that you actually do own the business you've claimed. Once your listing is online, you can always come back to edit it or add photos, videos, or anything else that hasn't already been added to the listing. The more you tell Google about your business, the easier it will be for the search engine to understand what your business is about, and place you appropriately in the search results.
And the more detail you provide in your listing, the better chance you'll have of convincing customers to walk through your doors.
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