In the latest round of Help Desk Hangout On Air on the Google+ Your Business page series, Google introduced Google Places for business, a tool to help you manage your local business information on Google.
Joel Headley, one of Google's in-house Places gurus, showed how to get started, shared some best practices and answered questions.
If you missed it, you can watch the full hour-long Hangout embedded under this post.
Also, notes that next week (April 9-13), Google Offers subscribers in Boston will receive one-of-a-kind deals that will have them singing "Sweet Caroline."
To subscribe to Google Offers in Boston and other locations across the U.S., visit: www.google.com/offers.
Some of the questions 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.
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."