Google has published a YouTube video that answers some long-overdue questions about Google Places for businesses, a tool to help manage local listings on Google. The video answers some tough questions about how businesses can best use the tool, describes how to add business information and how users can help keep information up to date, and answers questions from viewers, which start at 22:50 in the hour-long video.
1. When will Google Places listings connect with Google+ pages? The team is still working to determine how the two can work together.
2. Can a business owner influence place labels on Google Places? No. More prominent locations will appear. Google considers them similar to search results. It combines singles from across the Web, similar to a Web site.
3. How to create a new listing for a business after the old has been closed. Close the old listing and open a new listing. Once Google determines the location to be closed, the ending will display a label next to the business's name. The label will appear everywhere across the engine when people search specifically for that listing. The company name should not appear in categorical search results.
4. How should marketers optimize Google Places descriptions? Think of it as an elevator pitch. What is the one thing you might want to tell a perspective customer? Don't stuff a bunch of keywords or locations into the description.
5. Can marketers use call-tracking numbers? Stay away from call-tracking numbers that link to call centers or non-local businesses. The 800-numbers might be the most accessible, but Google Places wants local numbers that get the calling directly to a nearby location.
6. How can service-area businesses, such as plumbers or maintenance workers, without a store front also take advantage of Google Places? These types of businesses should check the box to hide the address on Google Maps. It tells Google the owner verified the location, but it's not open for customers to visit.
Other topics in the video discuss what happens when the review button disappears, what to use other than a P.O. Box to indicate a local address, and how many different Places listings can be submitted for one account.