Help Desk Hangouts: Get found on Google with Places for business

Friday, April 6, 2012 | 9:00 AM

Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we introduced you to Google Places for business, a tool to help you manage your local business information on Google. Joel Headley, one of our in-house Places gurus, showed us how to get started, shared some best practices and answered your questions. If you missed it, you’re in luck: You can watch the full hour-long Hangout on the Google Business YouTube channel:



Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:

When a business simply relocates, what is the best way to set up the new address in Places?

You should report the listing with the old address as closed via the Report a problem link on the listing itself (under the “more” dropdown). Our team receives that report and puts a “This place is permanently closed” label on the listing, so that customers who know your business to be located at that old address will know not to go there. And then, create and verify a brand new listing for the business’s new location.

What are the gray labels on the map itself, and how do I get one for my business?

The little icons (fork and knife, etc.) on the map are called Place labels, and because those are generated algorithmically, there’s no way for you to manually add one for your business.

How do I get my Places listing to appear for certain keyword searches?

We don’t offer advice on how to do this, but here’s a great video about how we approach local search ranking.

What should I put in the description field of my page?

Think of the description as your elevator pitch. Keep it short and sweet, and valuable to customers looking to learn more about your business. Don’t stuff it with a bunch of keywords — it won’t help you and it definitely won’t help potential customers.

When are Google Places accounts going to be connected to Google+ pages?

A popular question! We’ve heard your feedback, and we’re continuing to evaluate how these tools might work together in the future.

I went through the owner verification process, but for some reason user-generated content still appears on my page. Why?

Think of a business listing as a search result, featuring information pulled together from sources around the web (third party data providers, end-users, and, of course, business owners). When you owner verify your listing, this just means you now have access to other features complementary to the listing — like analytics or offers — and editing abilities via the Places dashboard. We allow the most recently verified edit to display on a listing — whether it’s from a user via the “Report a problem” feature or a third-party provider — in an effort to maintain an accurate and up to date map.

What are “at a glance” terms, and why are they appearing on my owner-verified page?
These descriptive terms are meant to give users a quick snapshot of what a particular business is known for. We generate these terms algorithmically, from various sources around the Web. There’s no way to add or edit these terms in your Places dashboard. See our article on reporting inappropriate terms.

I don’t have a storefront and serve customers at their location. Can I list my business on Google Maps?

Absolutely. These types of businesses are what we call service area businesses, and we have a whole Help guide on how to create a service area listing. Note that if you don't conduct face-to-face business at your location, you must hide your address per the Google Places quality guidelines. In your Places dashboard, while editing a listing, look for the “Do not show my business address” checkbox under the section “Service Areas and Location Settings.”

I’m having an issue with my listing, how do I contact support?

We have a support team that works with users to correct bad listing data and verification issues. Visit the “Contact Us” section on the Help Center homepage and you’ll see two options: Listing issues and Verification issues. Click the link that applies, answer the questions, fill out the short form, and hit Submit. Give a member of the support team a few days to investigate your issue and get back to you via e-mail.

To learn more about how to get started with Google Places for business, visit our Help Center or check out the Google and Your Business forum. And join us for next week’s Hangout at 11 a.m. PDT Wednesday April 11, when we discuss how to get started blogging using on Blogger. We’ll be collecting your Blogger questions early next week on the Google+ Your Business page.

Posted by Vanessa Schneider, Google Places community manager