Local businesses can do themselves a big favor by using the free yet effective internet marketing tool called Google Places.
For a business owner, manager or marketer, the most important thing to know about Google Places is how to make it work best for your business.
There are two ways to get started.
One is to hire an expert.
If you’re busy running your business and/or you have little inclination to involve yourself in the details of these things, this is a good option. GetListed.org has a list of local SEO expertswho can help.
Your second option is to DIY (Do it Yourself).
Not a bad option if you are interested in these topics, if you’re technically savvy or if your budget simply does not include hiring an expert right now.
If you want to go this way, the rest of this post is for you. It contains links to some of (what I believe are) the best free resources available to learn how to claim and optimize your Google Places page.
GOOGLE PLACES RESOURCES – VIDEOS
Since videos can be a fun and easy way to learn, we’ll start with them. YouTube has thousands of videos about Google Places.
Here are some of the best for learning how to setup and fine tune your Places listing. We’ll start with the basics of how to claim your listing.
CLAIM YOUR LISTING IN GOOGLE’S LOCAL BUSINESS CENTRE
This is a good basic how to guide to claim and verify your Google Places listing. He goes through the process completely and in a way that is easy to follow.
** Note: **
This video was done in January 2010 in Australia so it’s a little different than what you might see. You’ll see it refers to “Google Local Centre” when it’s now called Google Places. But the differences are cosmetic. The basics of what he shows are correct.
(Thanks to the people at http://www.aussieweb.com.au/ for creating this video. Well done guys!)
Next, here are two short videos that offer some tips to help you make your Google Places listing work the best it can.
10 THING TO DO TO OPTIMIZE GOOGLE PLACES LISTING
(under 5 minutes)
10 THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO TO OPTIMIZE GOOGLE PLACES
(under 4 minutes)
(Thanks to Conor Quinlan of Summit Design Studiohttp://summitdesignstudio.com for creating these two helpful videos.)
And our final set of videos comes from Google themselves. These are very well done and worth taking the time to watch.
GOOGLE PLACES HOW-TO WEBINAR
COMPLETE CATALOG OF GOOGLE PLACES HOW TO VIDEOS
GOOGLE PLACES RESOURCES – WEBSITES
If you prefer reading to watching and listening, you might find these resources more helpful. My first suggestion is go to the official playbook for Google Places. Their help section is loaded with articles, videos and links to live forums where you can read, chat, watch and learn just about anything related to Google Places.
GOOGLE PLACES HELP CENTER
Now let’s look at some blog posts on this topic.
The first group is a set of three well written blog posts that show you exactly how to claim your Google Places page. I like them because they are accurate, up to date, quick reading and they have visuals. These will get you setup with Google Places in no time.
CLAIM YOUR LISTING ON GOOGLE MAPS & PLACES: PARTS 1-3
(Kudos and thanks to the team at wisnet.com for these.)
These next two blog posts are also very well done. They each give you 10 quick yet highly useful best practices to tweak and tune your Places page into a superstar performer.
10 EASY LOCAL SEO & ONLINE MARKETING TIPS
WEB MARKETING: 10 TIPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR GOOGLE PLACES PAGE
(Thanks to Thomas McMahon of TopRank Online Marketingand James A. Martin for these well written posts.)
There are literally thousands of free resources available to help you make the most of Google Places. The few I have listed here cut through the hype and offer solid, practical help.
If you have others, please let me know. You can email me or leave a comment on this post.