We all know the routine. When we want to find out about something, we summon the colorful search engine and type in whatever we want to know. With a few keystrokes, Google hums to life, and in scarcely a second, has brought us ten thousand ways to fix our faucet and bake our cookies. Over 90% of Internet users choose Google, so it would be well worth your time, as business owners, to tell Google about your business.
Google Places is a forum for any and all places, the goal being to compile information about every single place in the world. Chances are Google has already propped up your business on Google Places, using information from Yellow Pages and other third party providers. But who wants to leave their livelihood in the cold hands of an impartial party? Your business has a place out there, Google is willing to listen, and claiming your business on Google Places is completely free. You can upload photos and videos, view reviews, and add details about your bed and breakfast or Inn. If you have a good Google Places page, Google will find your business more important and your SEO (search engine optimization) rankings will improve. By following these 6 Steps, your Google Place page can be up on the web, where millions can find your business.
1) First you need to log in. Go to http://www.google.com/places/ and click on the blue “Get started” button. If you already have a Google Account, sign in by typing your email and password into the box on the right. If you don’t have a Google Account, click on the “Create an account now” link below. Fill in all of the information, you’ll be asked to come up with a password, then click the “I accept. Create my account” button. To log in, go to www.google.com and click on the “Business solutions” link below the main search bar. On the next page, click on the “Google Places” link found in the left column. Sign in with your email and newly made password.
2) Now you need to find your business. If you’ve been on Google Places before, you will be brought to your dashboard, where you will need to click on the “add another business” link. If this is your first time on Google Places, you will be brought to a screen with a search box. When searching, make sure the right country is selected, and type in the main phone number of your business. Click on the “Find business information” button. The goal is to get to the “Basic Information” screen.
· If your business is listed and comes up with your search, click on the “Edit” button.
· If none of the listed businesses are yours, click on the “Add a new listing” button, found below the listed businesses.
· If your business can’t be found, make sure you put in the right phone number. If the phone number was correct and your business still wasn’t found, you will be taken straight to the “Basic Information” screen anyway.
3) Once you are at the basic information screen, fill out the information. As a rule, don’t try to pack keywords into slots where your company name, category, or details belong. Google doesn’t like trickiness, and they could suspend your account.
· Company/Organization: In this slot, type in your registered business name. This is not the place for your location or your slogan.
· Street Address: Type in your address as you would write it on an envelope.
· Description: Provide a description of what your Bed and Breakfast is all about. This is your only spot to speak to your customers in your own voice. Be sure it is free of grammatical and spelling errors.
· Category: This slot helps searchers find your Bed and Breakfast. Type in what your business is, not where it is. A few examples of categories that may apply to you are: Bed and Breakfast, Day Spa, Restaurant, Resort. As you type categories in, suggestions will appear below the box. You can enter up to five categories.
4) Add photos, videos and additional details if you like. These fields are not required, but these are the things that will make your Google Places page really stand out. People want to know details, so provide those details, and remember that a picture really is worth a thousand words.
· Pictures: To upload a photo, scroll down to the “Photos” section. Click the “Browse…” button, and search through your files. Once you find the photo you want, double click on that image. Then click the “Add Photo” Button.
· Videos: In order to upload a video, you must first upload your video to YouTube. Once you have your movie uploaded, enter the URL (the web address at the top of your browser) for that video into the space provided and click the “Add Video” button.
· Additional Details: Here you can provide any important information not provided in the previous spaces. If you have great amenities, if you allow pets to stay, or if you offer Spa Treatment, put that type thing in this spot.
5) Submit your information: Once you’re sure all your information is accurate and in place, click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.
6) Verification: After you have submitted your information, select which form of verification you would like to use. The methods of verification are by phone, mail or texting (SMS). The verification process is vital. You will not own your Google Places Page until you have verified that you are really the owner.
· Phone: If you choose this option, have a pencil and paper ready when you click the “Finish” button. You will be taken to a screen where you can put in the PIN number, and Google Places will call the number you gave in your information. When they give you the PIN number, enter it into the box.
· Mail: Through this option, you will receive your PIN number through the mail, delivered to the address you submitted to Google Places. This takes 2-3 weeks. Once the PIN number arrives, log onto your Google Places account. There will be an alert in your account where it asks you to enter the PIN number.
· Texting (SMS): If your business number is also a mobile phone number, you may select the SMS texting option, and Google Places will send you your PIN number through a text. You may then put the PIN number into your account to verify.
After you have verified that you are indeed the owner, the Google Places page is yours. Feel free to announce specials, update information, or provide online coupons. And the next time someone leaps aboard Google’s colorful back in search of a good Bed and Breakfast, may they find your Google Places page.