First, you'll need to go to Google Places and click the “Get Started” button to claim your business listing. If you don't have a Google account, you will have to create one in order to claim your listing. No matter what type of business you have, whether you have a home office or not, you need to claim your listing. Not only will it help you rank in the search engines, the analytics your listing will provide is valuable information for your business.
Google provides easy step by step instructions, so most users shouldn't have a problem handling the setup themselves. If you have claimed your listing, Great! Check these tips and see if you've done them all. If you're ranking well, don't worry about it. If you think you could rank better, check out the tips.
Tip #1: Company/Organization: This should be your actual company title, the way it's listed in the local phone directory. Don't try to input keywords here unless it's part of your company name.
Tip #2: Phone Number: Use the local phone number that's listed in the phone directory.
Tip #3: Email: The best email you can use here is an @thedomainname email address. That's the most official email address you can have. Don't use your personal email address for this. If you don't have one, set one up specifically for business email.
Tip #4: Website: Hopefully when you chose a domain name, it had a key phrase in it. Use the most direct domain name you have, preferably the one the email address uses.
Tip #5: Description: Describe what you do, not who you are.
Tip #6: Category: Choose the closest category from the list for your business. Then you can choose up to four customized categories. Don't include any geographic modifiers here, such as “plumber in Washington dc”.
Tip #7: Service Area: Take the time to choose by “city name, state” instead of by radius.
Tip #8: Photos: Take advantage of the photos you can use. Make them mini-ads with calls to action.
Tip #9: Videos: In order to include a video, it has to be uploaded to YouTube. It doesn't have to be your own videos. You can use a generic videos that talk about a product or service you offer.
Tip #10: Additional Details: This is a KEY TIP that you may or may not be aware of. Use this area to include additional live links for your business. For example if you advertise on Craigslist or have other pages on your website you may want to allow customers to go to directly. In my other business people can visit our site and get an auto glass quote. You would put:
“Auto glass quote” in the first box, then the link in the box across from it
Hope you learned something new!