Common Mistakes that Businesses Make with Google Places Listings

Sun, 28/04/2013 - 20:18

Having spent a fair amount of time listing clients in Google Places myself, I can tell you first hand that getting listings to work properly can be more challenging than initially appears.

My experience has taught me a thing or two, so I’ve decided to share it with all of you here, today.

Common Google My Business optimisation errors

Problem #1: Incorrect information.

Double check the information you’re submitting and watch your spelling. Spelling mistakes just look unprofessional, plain and simple. So check properly before your listing is verified, because if you’ve made a mistake you’ll have to re-verify- and this is a pain in the Ass.

Problem #2: Duplicate listings.

I remember setting up a places listing for one client in particular. Things were going well until I discovered that someone at the company had already created a listing. Unfortunately this didn’t mean less work for me because all the information was incorrect. No biggie, I thought, I’ll just get hold of the password and delete the old listing. If only that was the case.

The client had misplaced the login details and was unable to track them down. While the information in the listing I had created was correct, there was (and in fact is still) a duplicate listing floating around with incorrect information. The only way to solve this issue is to delete one of the listings and without login details the chances of this happening are slim to none. Hope and pray that this doesn’t happen to you. There is NO way to delete a listing without the login details.

Problem #3: Unspecified categories.

There are a ton of active Places listings out there that are either completely invisible or aren’t working to their full potential, because the owners failed to specify categories. This is where optimization comes into play for Places listings. When you create your listing, you’re given the option to specify categories that best describe your business. (Last part of the basic information section)

When you do this, you have to choose one pre-defined category. Choose one that directly matches your business or as close to it as possible. Now listen up, because this is the important part. You get to define 3 more custom categories. This is your chance to add keywords to the listing so make it count. The category doesn’t have to match like the first one, so include three custom keywords that you’re targeting.

Problem #4: The verification PIN.

If you’ve never been tempted to throw your computer out the window, trying to get a places listing verified could very well be enough to provoke you, especially if you’re doing so on behalf of a client.

Let us begin. In order to activate your listing you need to request a PIN number from Google. When it comes to how you want the PIN delivered, you can choose from one of three options.

  • Validation via SMS.
  • Validation via automated phone call
  • Validation via postcard.

*SMS verification is the fastest option. However, if you opt to get the PIN sent via SMS the number that you enter will need to remain on the listing for it to stay active. Back in the day, people would enter a cell phone number, have the PIN sent to them and once the listing was activated they would go back and edit the listing. Those days are gone. Google got wise to this, so now the number that you use to activate the listing needs to stay there. If you’re happy having your cell phone number listed permanently then SMS verification is your best bet.

*Verification via automated phone call works but only if the call goes through to a direct line. If your business uses a switchboard or extension system, things can become tricky. If there’s a direct line to reception, then you can let the receptionist know ahead of time to expect a call and he/she can write down the PIN for you. However, if the call goes straight through to an automated extension system, which requires the caller to press a certain number before being patched through, this option won’t work.

*Verification via postcard does work. It normally doesn’t take too long to reach you either. If you choose this option, remember to make sure that the address you entered is correct.

On a closing note, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you enter as much information as possible when creating the listing. Add photos, operating hours and a logo, specify payment options if you can and most importantly encourage customers to write reviews, because they show up with your listing and improve its ranking.

If you need help getting your business listed on Google, contact Rogerwilco, we'd be happy to help.

Image by JasperMorse

Need Assistance with Digital Strategy?

Rogerwilco’s team of strategists, business analysts and data scientists is here to help.