Beyond Claiming Your Place Page

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | 11:13 AM


Last week, we invited a group of public relations and social media professionals to Google Austin to introduce them to the range of features offered as part of Google Places. Most of the attendees were experts on the basics (for instance, claiming a Place page), but many were surprised to learn about the other ways Google Places can help them connect with their customers.

The Dashboard

Once you’ve claimed your Place page, you can see detailed analytics on a handy dashboard, including information on the number of time your Place page was viewed (impressions) and the search terms your customers use to find you:

Ratings and Reviews

Customers can rate and review the places they go through Google, offering valuable feedback about what they liked and didn’t like about their experience. This information appears on the Place page for a business. Business owners also have the ability to respond to those reviews publicly — a great way to engage with customers and show you’re listening to their feedback. Once you claim your Place page and you’re logged in, you’ll see the option to respond to individual reviews.

Sharing Your Expertise

Beyond encouraging customers to rate and review their businesses via Google Places, attendees at our Austin Tech Talk also discussed how they could set up their own Google Places profile for their business to rate and review, as a way to show their community involvement and local support. Here’s what came out of a brainstorming session:

  • Restaurants could rate and review local farms, farmers markets, and artisans to show that they are using local ingredients.
  • Hotels could rate and review local attractions that may be of interest to their guests, or use their profile to provide their concierge with a “cheat sheet” of useful info.
  • Gyms could rate and review local restaurants to point out the healthiest menu items for their members so that they can reach their fitness goals.

These were just some of the many ideas that were shared!

Google Places Business Kit

The most talked-about topic of the night was the Google Places Business Kit, a box of info and schwag that business owners can request, detailing how they can better interact with their customers on Google. Some of the items a business owner can request include after-dinner mints and Place pin–shaped coffee stirrers, to remind and encourage customers to rate and review that business on Google.

What are some of the ways you’re using Google Places to connect with your customers? Share with us in the comments below! Or learn more by visiting our Google Places Help Center.

Posted by Whitney Francis, Austin community manager


Nyagoslav Zhekov said...

I'm very interested to know about all the thoughts that came out during the brainstorming session and who the participants were. Is that information available?

Vanessa Schneider said...

Hey Nyagoslav --

Just the information you see in the post above is available. But if you're in Austin, stay tuned to @GoogleATX on Twitter and for upcoming events and more brainstorming sessions!

Or feel free to share your own ideas with fellow users here in the comments.

- Vanessa, Places community manager

ChrisShip said...

Google Places has been very tough for law offices because it's less obvious for a client to review a professional office than say a coffee bar. Furthermore, many clients are stumped when it comes to leaving reviews because they either A) don't have a Google account, or B) have no interest in setting one up. If I could wish anything, it would be for Google to provide professional offices like law firms with a simpler method for clients to leave reviews while they're in office. The ability to import testimonials would be a huge improvement.

Vanessa Schneider said...

Thank you for this feedback, ChrisShip! Great stuff, I've passed along to the Places team.

- Vanessa, Places community manager

Nyagoslav Zhekov said...

Hello Vanessa,

Thanks for the answer. Unfortunately, I do not reside near Austin, so I would not be able to attend these sessions, but I would be happy to learn more about all of them and the things discussed there.

Regarding reviews, I think the way users could post reviews has to be simplified, because as you know even if one does have Google Account, if they do not have Google Places (ex-Hotpot) account they still canot leave a review. Yes, it's a few steps to create it, but it's still hassle and many people get confused/give up in the process. If when you create your Google Account, you automatically get access to the Google Places reviewing process, that would be awesome.


Vanessa Schneider said...

We definitely hear you, Nyagoslav, and are looking at ways to make the sign up process simpler and easier. Thanks for sending your thoughts our way, and stay tuned!

- Vanessa, Places community manager

ChrisShip said...

Nyagoslav makes a great point. An issue is users have to create a Google Account in order to leave a review. Unfortunately, the majority of people I talk with don't understand a Google Account does not mean a Gmail account. I'd be rich if I had a nickel every time I asked a client if they have a Google Account and they responded "No, I use Hotmail."

ChrisShip said...

I just realized you can leave a comment on this blog using an OpenID! Please tell me that's the future for leaving reviews on GP!?!

Allyson said...

It's all sounds really cool. I'm sure I'll use all these new tools. My only problem is that for some reason when accessing my place page account, I can't see the Dashboard activity. Meaning no Analytics for my place page.
Any idea why?