Ten Simple Tips to Properly Use Google Places Business Listing
Google Places is currently one of the most effective free online marketing tools available to local business owners. Known as Google Local Business Centre upon its initial release, it has become an essential tool in increasing popularity of a business on the Web to draw local consumers. 
And even though millions of customers are searching for local businesses using Google Local Marketing, famously known as Google Maps Marketing, each day, Google offers the tool for free. 
Find out all about Google Places and how you can use it to your advantage in these ten simples tips: 
Tip 1 – Use your real Business Name 
Other business owners tried inserting extra words in their business name. The move might have resulted to a temporary boost in clicks, but not for long because Google is punishing this technique. That said, you can still safely add words into your business name if the words are not misleading to your business. Here’s an example: 
Real business name – Fred Withers Ltd 
Google Places listing name – Fred Withers Plumbing Ltd 
Tip 2 – Ensure your Business Information is 100% accurate 
See to it that the business information you listed are correct. You should provide potential customers with exactly what they need to know about your business. Here is the information you need to add correctly: business address, email, fax number, telephone number, and website. A PO Box number will not work as well as a 0800 or free telephone number. 
Tip – 3 Use the right Business Categories and lots of them 
There are 5 different categories you can list your business on Google Maps Marketing that can affect local search ranking factors. Choose your category wisely because this can make or break your Google Places listing. Your main aim is to appear under the right category when people search for a business. Always select 1 or 2 of Google-suggested categories even though they might not fit exactly with your understanding of your business category. To add to the Google-suggested categories, add 3 more categories of your choice to leverage your business listing. There are 5 categories available–make sure you use all of them. 
Tip 4 – Punchy & compelling Business Description 
Google Places limits your Business Description to 200 characters so you need to get it perfect. The trick is to use the most relevant keywords & business terms in your description. Also use phrases such as professional, trusted, accredited to emphasize your credibility. 
Tip 5 – Include Photos & Video 
Google local listings lets you publish 10 photos and a short video to add to your listing–take advantage. Take a camera and start shooting a 1-2 minute video of yourself pitching about your business’ specialties to your customers. This might make you cringe and say, really? Why? Because local customers love to see something from the local business itself: i.e. your logo, your display room, and even the owner himself or herself. Give your business a face on Google Maps Marketing and expect your listing to shine on directories. 
Tip 6 – Maximize Google Local Listings with Extra Details 
Take advantage of the extra details Google Places will ask for like your opening hours, coverage areas, payment methods accepted, and available facilities. Not only will your customers appreciate the extra details provided, Google Places loves complete detail on the listing too. 
Tip 7 – Take time to complete the Services Section 
At the end of each Google Places listing are the services you can enumerate. A good number of services to list is from 6-10, but you be the judge–if you feel it’s relevant, then don’t be afraid to add them. You can use the service listing area to insert more keywords, but NEVER use location as part of the keyword(s) here. Here is a bad & a good example: 
Bad – Heating Services: Yes 
Good – Heating Services: gas-safe registered, radiator repair, boiler instillation, hot water problems, fix central heating 
Tip 8 – Create a unique Special Offer Coupon 
Your potential clients love to receive special offers; Google know this and thus pushing up listings with special offers on the search results. Have freebies or discount coupons for Google Maps Marketing purposes only. This will help your business standout from others and will help convince online browsers into new, real customers. 
Tip 9 – Generate Citations 
Citations are articles or words about your business on other websites. These citations are important because Google local SEO uses these citations to figure out whether your business is worth people’s time and money or not. Other business owners are concerned about this fact, but it’s an opportunity to those who understand the potential behind citations. 
Here are 3 legitimate ways to get as many citations possible for your Google Local Marketing: 
1. Get listed in other online directories 
2. Negotiate with your neighboring businesses and suppliers about the possibility of having reciprocal link backs of your businesses in your individual websites. 
3. Create a promo for the personnel of neighboring local businesses and put this on a separate part of your website–create a special page for each offer if you have to. Send details of this offer to each company through your Google local SEO and local advertising with the link to your special offer Web page. Ask them to mention your business on their company or personal website if they have one. This will help generate new business directly & help with Google Places. 
Tip 10 – Generate Customer Reviews 
Google Places congregates online customer reviews from multiple online directories like Yelp.com, Qype, Insider Pages, and TripAdvisor. Google uses these reviews as another factor in determining how trustworthy your business is. You can motivate your loyal customers to leave reviews about your business on these online directories or on your Google Places listing itself. But, know that it’s more powerful to have reviews on online directories because you reach their users as well as Google’s so you get more bang for your buck. 
Most clients are willing to give 5 minutes of their time; be sure not to bribe them or set up cash for comments scheme as this can backfire on you. Reviews should be genuine. Google Places allows you to reply to reviews right on your listing, so use this to thank your generous customers and reply politely to dissenters. 
Everyone knows that Google advertising and marketing is an important factor in business success, and now Google local marketing makes it an even more powerful marketing tool for local businesses. Google Map’s immense users hold huge potential for drawing new clients and growing a business, if used correctly. Surprisingly only a handful of local businesses are applying tools to help with Google local marketing–it’s your turn to try. Claim your listing and get a head start on your competitors before they wise up! 
About the Author 
Myles Anderson is the co-founder of Brightlocal.com. After working with big company names like Freeserve, eHarmony, and Orange, he turned his attention to helping all sorts of local businesses attract new customers through business directory listings and other local search engine marketing tools.