We have all been there; half way down a nameless country road while ticking off directions either half remembered in your head or jotted down onto a scrap piece of paper. Standard maps can help but don’t give your destination’s exact geographical location. Sat-Navs are another step up but not everyone has one and they will occasionally try to send you down non-existent roads. Enter Google Places; ideal from a customer’s point of view as having all possible information at your fingertips makes life much easier. But it’s not just the customer who can benefit from Google Places…
Having an accurate and complete online presence is vital for any business. A Google search is where most customers begin when it comes to finding a certain type of business in a particular area. Google Places can be used as a great platform for standing out from the crowd; you may already have a basic listing with just your location and phone number but your listing could have a link to your website, opening hours, payment options, photos, videos, reviews and any extra information. After paid listings and adverts; Google Places markers are the next results to appear. It’s also free, so what have you got to lose?
There are guidelines which affect how and which businesses appear on a search. The guidelines state “…vacation homes or vacant apartments, are not eligible to be listed on Google Maps and should not be verified. Instead, verify the listing for your sales or leasing office or offices. If you have a property with an on-site office, you may verify that office location”. Due to this, you need to choose the specific listing option that applies to your situation and make sure your listing includes coverage of your office or headquarters.
If you live on-site
Living on-site enables you to mark the location of your headquarters or home-base. This means you can add a Google Place marker to the exact geographical location of where you and your properties are located. Potential customers can see exactly where they would be staying, how far away they are from local amenities and attractions and the route they’d take to you when travelling.
If you live off-site and your properties are grouped together
For those who live off-site, you can set a “service area” for the listing which can cover all your properties. This will guide people to the general area where their accommodation is located. From here, it should be simple for them to find or be directed to exactly where they’ll be staying. This can also be utilised if you would prefer your personal address to be kept private or where knowing this would not be of use to a customer.
If you live off-site and your properties are scattered
For those who live off-site and whose properties are not all on the same land; there are two options which can be used independently or together. One option would be to set a large service area that covers all your properties. This wouldn’t be of much help in showing customers or prospective customers to your properties but will show the scope of your business. Instead, or as well if you would like a permanent listing too, you could find the exact location of the accommodation on Google Maps and save the link. When it comes to directing clients to you; you can send them this link showing where they will be and will give them the ability to create a map directing them to you from their own home.
First things first, you will need a Google account to begin setting markers for your business. With this completed; visit the Google Places homepage to start the marking process. Use the “Find your Business” option to add additional information to a basic listing if one already exists for your business. You may find that the information they have for you is incorrect and could have been costing you custom. Next, you will need to fill out your business’ basic information and extra details to make your business stand out. Now all that’s left is to preview, verify and publish your listing. Verification can be done by phone or by post with the latter taking up to 2 weeks. Once it’s done; that’s you and the world now knows where to find you and your business.
Change of circumstances or details? You can update your listing at any time so that your property is always easy to find.
Have any problems setting it up? Google has plenty of help pages which go into the set up in great detail.
Still not convinced? Read some of the testimonials on the Google Places homepage and see how it affected other businesses who have signed up.
You may wonder what Google gets out of this but it’s your input that keeps their service up to date meaning it’s a win-win situation for both sides. Easy, greatly beneficial and free; what are you waiting for?