Imagine you’re with a group of friends in an area you don’t know well. You’re trying to find a place to eat, so what do you do? You ask Google, of course. Oh, look—there is an offer on Louie’s Pizza’s listing for $3 off a large pizza. The restaurant is already looking more attractive than the burger place next door, which isn’t listed on Google Places for Business.

You don’t want to skip out on Google Places in your business’s internet marketing strategy, even if it won’t be as valuable to your business as it will be to a local boutique or restaurant. While it’s still important to rank on Google nationally, it’s also beneficial to focus on the locals and beat the burger place next door.

Creating a Google Places for Business Listing

To start, all you need to do is click here to create an account on Places for Business and list your business’s name, address, and phone number. Make sure your name and address appears exactly as it does offline and on other websites. Do not try to include key words, taglines, etc.

You will be asked to verify your business to ensure that it is located where you say it is. This can be done immediately or you can go back later. Google will either send an automated phone call or send a postcard to the business address, which contains a pin number that enables you to verify that you are the owner. You can edit your page before this step, but your business will not show up in the local results until it is verified.

Besides your name, address, and phone number, you can include photos, business hours, and a description as well as choosing to set a budget for AdWords. To further enhance your listing for local search optimization, use keywords and links to your business’s website. It’s also important to include the link to the listing on your website.

With Offers, you can attract customers by offering them money off, percent off, or a free product. These special discounts and deals have the potential to attract new customers who view your listing via Google Maps for Android, or find your deals in the Google Offers app and Google Wallet app.

Listing and verifying your business on Google Places for Business is free and generally quick and easy. However, it can also be tricky if your mailing address is not the same as your business address, you have a P.O. Box, or if your address is also used by other businesses. Visit Places for Business Help to learn more.

Once it has been verified, your listing will show up in Google searched, Google Maps, and Google+ Local.

Google + Local and Google Places

The difference between Google+ Local and Places for Business can be confusing and everyone seems to have a different answer. The major difference is that Google+ Local gives your business a space for customers and clients to rate and review your business and give it more visibility. While it is possible to merge Google Places onto Google+, many places just have one or the other.

Regardless of your personal preference, don’t forget to remain consistent across all channels—offline, online, Google Places and Google+ Local. And while Google is the most important directory to establish your business’s web presence, don’t forget other notable web directories like Bing.

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