Google’s Calling on Local Businesses, Literally

By on August 4, 2010

Are you a local business that’s received an odd and unexpected call from Google in the recent weeks? Definitely seems unlikely since Google is kind of like the Wizard of OZ, but Mike Blumenthal reported that Google is indeed calling businesses that are registered with Google Places (used to be Google Local) to protect businesses from any fishy activity and weed out any spammy tactics.

This things that Google is particularly concerned about is protecting businesses from getting their account hijacked and altered to lower their ranking and people falsely editing their own profiles to receive better placement.  Judging from Google’s quiet existence, I’d say I’m pleasantly surprised to see them take the initiative to keep Google Places in order seeing that it’s so important for many small businesses.

I don’t want to give Google any excessive props, so I’ll take this opportunity to show those of you are still not in Google Places how to get signed up.  Note that could be a prime time to register your business since Google is cleaning up  closed businesses and one’s with false information.

1-    First, is the obvious step, sign up for Gmail account.  Once you’ve done so, or if you already have one, go here.

2-    When you’ve arrived at the registration form, proceed by filling out all the fields, and be sure that you get the info correct. :) The more accurate and helpful information you can provide, the better.

3-    Once you’ve confirmed your information, you’ll be given the choice to verify by phone or post card. The phone option is way faster, and no risk of getting any spam phone calls from Google.

4-    When you get the call or the post card, input the verification code and you’re listing will shortly go live!

Yeah, I know this is incredibly rudimentary information for businesses, BUT you’d be surprised how many people overlook this feature.  You’d also be surprised to know that organic Local results are clicked on far more than paid advertisements for businesses.

There are several factors that will improve your placement in Google Places and registering your businesses is a big one because it tells Google that they have the most up to date info. Using keyword rich information and the proper categories will also give you a boost.

*Update: Google is now allowing owners to respond to customer reviews, which is I’m sure another factor to increase your placement on Places.  But this is something to use with caution because the wrong answer to an unhappy review can get you in a bind quick.  My advice?  respond slowly and kindly. A customer’s review is a lot more powerful than your Google Place rank.

For those of you in Google Places/Local, what sneaky tricks do you use to increase your ranking/placement?  Comment Below!

About Ryan Deiss

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5 Comments

  1. ngatchou Abel Mohamed

    March 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

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  2. Chris Pickard

    November 17, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I have heard that it is possible to somehow get Google Places reviews via Amazon? I’ve tried looking for the information, but have not found it yet.

    Does anyone else know about this?

  3. Mike

    August 14, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    First, my website is totally out of date so don’t visit it…

    This is an old post but I just searched online to see if anyone else is getting literally called by Google.

    They mailed our business, Rungtong.com, a letter saying we are # 1 in five markets for stationery, 42,312 visits per month to our listing. That is freaking INSANE! We show up for a ton of stuff, but Google still won’t show us how to show up for phrases that actually convert. I kid you not, I talked with their group five times already and they love us… I guess. But we get NO sales from this traffic. Ok, maybe a few here and there but nothing to write home about.

    All our sales really come from Amazon.com. More than I care to admit.

    We have a few reviews. You need to use Google Knol, Google Pages/Sites, and link the hell out of these to your listing pages. And constantly update your listings with new content.

    BTW – It’s Saturday, August 14, and I just got an email from you Ryan on Rob Benwell’s Auto Blogging System X… Come on Ryan, there is no way you really read this crap. And $100M that is complete B.S. There is no way and this is by far the worst recommendation I’ve seen you give. I know your business does well so why push this crap? This is the 100 blog theory for $1-$3 a day. Ok, focus on that and call me when you change your business model to this scammy blogging technique.

  4. Scott

    August 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    From my experience you need to provide Google supporting evidence that the data you provide is accurate by having the same address and phone information in various other business directories. The most important thing beyond that is getting more reviews on your Google Places listing than your competitors.

    • Ryan Deiss

      August 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      @Scott, You’re very right, Scott. Getting reviews is crucial for your listing. Encouraging a few customers to leave reviews is a great way to get started, because people love to leave comments where the conversation is already going.

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