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Google Places Explained

For a business that focuses on a local area, your Google Places Page can be one of your most important SEO assets. In this video, Ross Jones of 2 the Top Design explains what a Google Place Page is, its component parts and how to claim and verify your information with Google.

One of the big things that could make an immediate impact . . . you notice over here, if I kind of hover over here where it says ’42 Google reviews’, it will take me to what they call your ‘Place Page’.

And a Place Page on Google is Google’s attempt to grab everything they know about an organization.  And so, Google has a Place Page for your business, Google has a Place Page for my business: 2 the Top Web Design. Google has a Place Page for Jacob’s business: Eye Scream Design. Google has a Place Page for pretty much every business that’s got a business license or isn’t brand new, any business that people know about.

On the Google Place Page for you, they’ve got your contact information or what they believe to be your contact information. They’ve got the business categories that they believe you to be in, they have transit information, how to get to your place. They have been going out on the internet and they’ve tried to find reviews about your business that Google believes to be valid reviews. They don’t count every review on every website.  But they’ve found 42 reviews – pretty cool, pretty good – that’s quite a few reviews . . .

A lot of the people focused on them.

Right, and one of those reviews has tagged you guys as the ‘best ever’, that one is here.  And then Google has found some photos that are related, some images that are related to McKay Used Books on the internet.  They found this review at Yahoo and they found this one at Citysearch.

If we scroll down the page, you’ll get to see the rest of what Google has on their Place Page about you.  Here are some of the reviews.  You’ve got a four-star review from Brown Suga, you’ve got a five-star review from eva graalman, you’ve got a five-star review from George, some good-looking reviews.

And keep in mind, any business that has reviews, you’re going to have some good, you’re going to have some bad.  You guys have a ton of good reviews and you’ve probably got 1 or 2 crazy people that think you’re horrible.

And then Google also on your Place Page has related places.  These are what Google believes to be competitors or similar type organizations or businesses down here at the bottom.  And sometimes Google does a great job with automatically coming up with stuff like this, but sometimes you say how did they figure . . . how did they come up with that, that doesn’t match.  But this is your Google Place Page.

Now, here’s what I wanted to show you, you guys can do for free and it could make a noticeable impact on how well you rank on Google.  You see up here in the corner?  There’s an option to ‘Edit this place’ where I can go in and make changes.  I could say “no, that’s not their right phone number” or “that’s not their right address” or something like that.

But then there is also a clickable link here that says ‘Business owner?’  What Google wants you, as the owner of the business, to do is they want you to claim, and verify, and expand upon this information.  Google will give you some brownie points in how they rank you if you do that.

And it doesn’t cost you anything, but you need to have a Google account.  And you may already have a gmail account, or a Google account, or an Adsense or an Adwords account, or any of their other services.

How do you prove that that’s you?

They give you 2 different ways to verify that you’re authorized.  Usually the easiest and the quickest way is that hopefully the phone number that they have is correct.  Is it correct?  That rings to your front desk, the 353-2595?

That goes to an answering machine.

But that’s a phone number you control.  Okay.  The quickest way to do it is when you claim it, as part of the process, Google will make an automated phone call to this phone number.  You pick up the phone and say, “McKay Used Books.”  Google say, “Your Google pin number is 37918.”  And you hang up the phone.

On the screen that you’re looking at, as part of the verification process, will be a place to type in that code.  That’s the way Google can verify if you really do control this phone number, you get that pin number, you will be able to put it in, Google says you must be the right person.

If for some reason you can’t make that happen . . . I’ve got a client and they’ve got a bunch of different phone numbers coming to a major call center, they don’t want their phones ringing at their different individual locations, everything goes through a call centre and so there’s another way to validate it.

The other main way to validate is Google can send out a postcard to your address with your pin number on it.  That works as long as you’re more patient because it takes long to get there; and number two, you make sure that the postcard with that pin number on it actually gets to the right person.  Those are the two ways to validate.  Does that make sense?

Once you have validated that . . . let’s see if any of the other websites that showed up have validated. They have not because it still says, “Business owner?”

Here’s the Place Page for my business and you can see it says, “Owner-verified listing.”  When you verify, you can also go in and give them info. I uploaded some additional photos, I’ve uploaded my logo, some of my customer work. I’ve uploaded a video of one of these sessions so people can know that I really know a little bit about what I’m talking about.

You can also go in there and put in an expanded description about who you are and what you do.  You can list your payment methods; your hours of operation; any specialties or anything like that.  It really lets you expand upon this and in this one category of what Google is looking for, Google will give you some extra brownie points.

And so that you have the potential of showing up better a lot of times on Google.  Does that make sense?  And this one thing that you’re doing, free, shouldn’t take you more than 5-10-15 minutes.  And if you could do the telephone verification, you’ll make an immediate impact, and you don’t even have to involve a web designer or web programmer.

Do they leave messages on answering machines?

No, they do not leave messages on answering machines.  You need to kind of prepare that you know what phone number they’re going to be calling.

It looks pretty simple to me.

Right.  It’s immediate.  You click ‘Call me now’ and you click . . . ring, ring.  It’s generally instant.



  1. Great video and examples here! Nice basic walk-through for Google Places. Thanks!