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!