Sites like Google have changed and will continue to change the way we do business. Setting your business up on Google Places (Google’s local directory listings) will undoubtedly open up many new doors for your services. By setting up your business listing with Google will get your business listed on Google Places, Google Maps as well as Google search results to improve your web presence – you can watch this video to get a good overview. Here are a few simple steps to get you started: Step 1: Check to see if you are already listed with Google by searching for yourself first at Google Maps. Search using your name and/or company name (not your brokerage name) or business phone number. Failing to check this first may mean you will duplicate your business listings and will have problems with the new local business listing you create. Step 2: If you show up in the Google Maps search results, click “more info” to go to your Google Places Page and then click the link “Business Owner?” to claim your business listing. If you do not show up, then you can create a new listing by clicking on “Get Started” when you go to Google Places. Step 3: Follow the steps and add more information about your company, upload pictures, add your hours of operation, and many other specifics. These can all be changed if needed. We strongly recommend that you follow the quality guidelines published by Google and use “YOUR NAME (YOUR BROKER COMPANY + LOCATION)” as your business name (make sure you check the latest quality guidelines when you are setting the listing up). If you only use “YOUR COMPANY” e.g. “HomeLife Benchmark”, people may confuse it with the office and you’ll become the new receptionist for your office. Furthermore, once Google flags your listing for not following the guidelines, it may be difficult to get back on Google’s good side. We recommend using your personal phone number. Be sure to include at least one category that Google has already defined; certainly include “Real Estate”, “Real Estate Agent”, and “Realtor” in your categories. Step 4: Verify your
Google Places. Google will provide you with a choice to verify your listing by phone, SMS, or postcard. By phone seems to be the easiest and fastest. An automated service will call right away and give you the code to verify you are a legitimate listing. Congratulations! You have just started the process of exposing your business to even more potential clients online. Once the updates have propagated through the Google system, you will be able to find your own business listing on Google and Google Maps. You can sign into your account and look at the Google Places statistics report to show you how many people saw your Google Places listing, how many clicked on it, and for what keywords they found it (very similar to Google Analytics for your website). Take some time to explore all the functions of Google Places, and take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.