Listing and claiming your business properly with Google Places is the most important step to improving your local search rankings. Google is 1 of the 3 major local search engines where you will need to list/claim your business and usually drives 70% of your search traffic with Yahoo & Bing combining for the other 30%.
In this tutorial you will learn how to:
- See if your business is listed in Google Places.
- Add and/or claim your listing.
- Update your NAP (name, address, phone).
- Choose proper categories.
- Add other business attributes.
- Verify your listing.
- Claim, verify, & remove duplicate listings.
Step 1: Go to Google Places
Step 2: Sign up for a new Google Account
Select “Sign up for a new Google Account”
Step 3: Create an Account
Step 4: Account Creation Confirmation Page
You will receive an account creation confirmation.
Step 5: Go to email and verify new Google Account
Google will send a confirmation of the new account to the email used to set up the account.
Open the email from Google and select the confirmation link.
Step 6: Directed to Email Address Verified page
After selecting the confirmation link you will be directed to the Email Address Verified page.
Select “Sign in”.
Step 7: Sign into your new Google Account
Sign into your new Google Account
Step 8: Go to Google Places
Select “Google Places” from your account page
Step 9: Find your Google Places listing
Enter the Business Phone
Step 10: Claim your business listing(s)
Here we see that Google has 2 listings for Sachs Family Dental. One of the listings is for the business and the other is a listing for Dr. Sachs. This is very common for dentists, doctors, and lawyers. Duplicate listings of your business can cause a trust issue with Google if they are both using the same phone number or name. Trust issues can decrease your ranking in the search engine results.
I suggest claiming both listings and deleting the duplicate.
Many doctors, dentists and legal professionals will have a business listing with the state and will also have a trade name or DBA listed for their personal name with the State. In this example Dr Sachs is listed with the State as Sachs Family Dental and he has a Trade Name (DBA) as Steven Sachs DDS. If you are going to keep Google Places listings for both entities you will have to make sure that both entities have a separate phone number and different names we will cover this information in further detail below.
Select “Edit” for the first listing.
Complete the business profile information properly and avoid common listing mistakes. I have included links to other references or considerations.
Follow Google’s Places Guidelines for the company title, company description, and for choosing categories. Spamming your title, description, or categories with keywords can cause penalties and negatively effect your rankings.
Mike Blumenthal created a Google Places Category Tool that provides assistance in searching and picking the correct categories for your Google Places Business Listing. Choosing the correct category is an important step and merits thought and consideration. It is possible that you will not rank for your keywords if you categorize your business improperly.
Step 11: Phone Verification
Then enter the 5 digit pin number under the Status section.
Select “Go” to complete the process.
Step 12: Listing is Verified
Now that the listing is verified you will be directed to the Places Dashboard that will display the current months impressions and actions for the profile.
Step 13: Claim duplicate listings for the business with Trade Name or DBA.
You are finished if there are no additional listings and do not need to worry about these steps. Go grab a Coke and a Doughnut and be happy that you are lucky to not have to clean up additional data issues. Luck You!
If you saw that you had duplicate listings in Step 10 you will need to claim them now so that you have control of those listings to correct or delete/suspend them.
It is important to claim all duplicates for your business and delete/suspend those listings. Doing so will avoid confusion for your customers. Doing so will assure that your reviews are all on one listing. Removing duplicates should also improve your rankings in the search engine results for queries that are local in nature.
Before I show you how to delete/suspend duplicate listings I am going to show you how to list properly an additional page place for a Trade Name or DBA. This is an advanced strategy that can provide additional exposure for dentists, doctors, or legal professionals that have 2 names/entities listed with their respective States (Sachs Family Dental & Steven Sachs DDS for example). I recommend that you proceed with caution because it can harm your rankings if it is done incorrectly. I am sharing this information because many of my clients are dentists & doctors.
From the dashboard, select “Add another business”
Step 14: Complete profile information for 2nd listing where DBA present
In this example we will complete a 2nd Places listing for Dr Sachs’ DBA (Steven Sachs DDS) as it is listed with the State of Utah. To avoid duplicate issues we will be changing changing the phone number for this Places listing. The address will remain the same. Leaving the address will not cause issues with Google as long as the name and number are different than the first listing.
***I will describe how to delete/suspend duplicate listings below in this article for those that do not have additional DBA’s or Trade Names.
Complete the business profile information properly avoiding common listing mistakes by following recommendations, references, and links shared above in Step 10.
Follow Google’s guidelines for the company title. Here you will see that have changed this company info to Steven Sachs DDS which is the DBA. You will notice that I also change the phone number to avoid confusing this listing with the previous listing.
The company description will remain the same as the previous listing.
The companies categories will remain the same.
Enter Service Areas and hours of operation. Here they will remain the same as the previous listing.
Enter payment options and photos as in the previous listing.
Step 15: Receive post card in the mail
The Thank you page will be displayed showing an example of the post card that will be sent in the mail.
I will be adding a section here next week on how to delete/suspend a duplicate listing.