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11 October, 2011

Google Places – Exist before you List!

More and more Australian businesses are discovering “free real-estate” on the first page of search results  given by Google. It’s in what used to be called the Local Business Results, now called Google Places. It gets your business listed towards the top of the page when people are looking for a business in a particular area.

This is especially precious to small business owners who usually do not have the advertising budget to invest heavily in getting their own website listed on the first page of Google. Very nice indeed!

Mike Blumenthal, one of the legends in this space, recently posted sound advice to business owners considering listing their businesses in Google Places.An eager business owner wanted to list his business in Places before it opened, so that he could benefit from extra foot traffic and online buzz when he did open. Unfortunately, it’s a big no-no. Google Places Quality Guidelines clearly state:

“Businesses that are under construction or that have not yet opened to the public are not eligible for a listing on Google Places.”

Attempting to bend this rule so will likely result your business listing being put into the never-never. As in never-never to be listed in Google Places. Quite the opposite of what you’re attempting to do!

In his article, Michael adds a very useful timeline and sequence of events for small and local business owners planning to use the Internet as a marketing avenue. He also adds a timeline for planning your website, your business listings, and finally your Places page.

If you’re new to listing your business on the Internet, it is valuable advice. Even if your business already exists, there are good takeaways to ensure your Places listing has the best chance to be where you want it – on the first page.

How (and when) to list in Google Places

note: this list is tailored for the Australian market

  1. Establish your business legally (ie ASIC)
  2. Register your domain name
  3. List your business in places such as yellowpages.com.au and truelocal.com.au
  4. Get your website live and online
  5. Get the information ready for your places listing
  6. Day after opening, list your business in Google Places
    If your business is already open, still follow the same sequence of events

Source: Mike Blumenthal